Sunday, 25 September 2011


“I feel as though I’ve been in a car crash”, I said to Hubby the following morning, proffering him my bottom to rub.
“More fool you”, he replied.
“Do my shoulders next”, I instructed before he got too carried away with my bottom. I winced under his strong hands.
“Ouch. Don’t worry about the massage; I’ll take some ibuprofen instead”. My back hurt, my shoulder blades felt as though they had bruises on then, my neck felt as though it could do with a brace and my brain still felt as though it had been shaken thoroughly within its cranium, which of course it had.
The nine year old walked downstairs and into the kitchen, “Mummy my head still feels wobbly”, she said, but with that extraordinary capacity that children have for an unending gusto for thrills and spills, added, “Can we go again?”
“Again? Are you crazy? You’ve only just stopped being sick”
“I still loved it though. What did you like best about Speed mum? My favourite bit was when we tipped over the edge”.
“Your day out almost tipped your mother over the edge”, quipped Hubby. What did he know? He didn’t even come with us.
The day out in question was a visit to Oakwood theme park in Pembrokeshire. We were once again in Wales as part of our annual pilgrimage to visit our friends. The annual pilgrimage that involves, without fail, getting to know your fellow M5 motorists so well, that after 5 hours on the same patch of asphalt you are sharing personal information with them and inviting them to be your Facebook friends. This year was by no means an exception, but due to engine failure which meant we only took one very packed car and not the usual convoy it was an even more keenly charged atmosphere, especially as it took over 8 hours to get to our friends’ house.
Oakwood theme park is just over a five minute drive from our friends’ house and for years, every time we’ve driven past its flags and precipitous roller coasters, the youngest girls have begged to go. Now, as I have always known that I would have to go alone – Hubby just doesn’t ‘do’ coasters, it just hasn’t been practical in the past to go. Height restrictions an all that. I think it might have been frowned upon if I’d tied the Red-Head up at the foot of the rides as her sister and I stood in queues for hours and then looped the loop above her head. This year though, after quite a growth spurt, I felt the Red-Head might just be tall enough and so, I did my research, visited the website, got out the measuring tape and was pleased to tell the youngest that she now qualified for Megaphobia and all the other ‘thrill’ rides. There was no longer an excuse.
I’m not sure that ‘thrill’ is quite the word I would use. I am thrilled when the car passes its M.O.T; I am thrilled when my children get good school reports and I am thrilled when there is a BOGOF on loo roll in Morrison’s – being catapulted into the ether in a wooden carriage, with only a lap bar to restrain me from certain death, is not thrilling. It is in fact petrifying. Made much worse by the fact that weren’t any queues ergo no respite, we didn’t even have to get off; we just went around and around and around. And up and down of course, oh and upside down. Now, having lived near Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, USA, I got used to a few scary rollercoasters and rather blasé, but years have past since and I am decidedly more creaky than I was and it is not without reason that they write at the entrance to the ride a litany of cautionary advice just in case one should suffer from heart complaints, be pregnant, have high blood pressure or back and neck problems. By the end of the day, apart from being pregnant, I am sure that I suffered from all of the above. The ride Speed was quite honestly, speedy. Thank God. At least it was over with quickly. That’s why my shoulders hurt from where my harness had held me in as I was hurled hither and yon and upside down and in screwdriver fashion for all of 10 seconds. My face at the end of the day had settled into a rictus of fear, like some bodged botox job.
By the time we walked back to the car, feeling decidedly worse for wear, the 9 year old was pea-green but managed to make the journey back to our friends’ garden before vomiting. To hear her asking to go again then made me shudder.
“I can’t take her back for years”, I whispered to Hubby, “A paediatrician would think she was suffering from shaken-baby syndrome”.
The rest of our break was far less adrenaline based; none of the children or Hubby for that matter wanted to move away from our friends’ garden. I on the other hand had to pop to Tesco’s from time to time in Pembroke. From Pembroke one can catch a ferry to Ireland. There are ‘embarkation’ directions in the town. I love the word embarkation. I find it far more exciting than any roller-coaster. Wherever I am I almost feel compelled to follow its instructions. Embark. It’s the start to an adventure. Be it a train, or plane or a ferry. Who knows what might happen on the other side of the journey?
“I can give you a clue” said Hubby as I explained this romantic streak to him on the drive home, “Just had a text from our son who wants to know what time we’ll be home and where we keep the bin liners. Shall I tell him we’ll be ‘dis-embarking’ the Torpoint Ferry soon?”

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