One of the things we did on our holiday was to go to a theme park. We have been to Welsh theme parks before. I love them.
Take everything you know a theme park to be…and then bin it, and imagine your local park park, but cooler, with piped music, hot dogs, and a scattering of sheep.
That was Oakwood theme park, which we visited several years ago with the children.
This time we went to Greenwood Forest Park, which makes Oakwood look high tech. There were no sheep, but the budgies had just had babies, so that was alright.
And there were peacocks, which Tilly spent happy hours stalking through the long grass while they sneered at her.
Truly, we had a fabulous time.
It is a kind of ecologically friendly theme park. Every year they plant hundreds of trees on their land, and they plant native species, and they do the coppicing thing, which is cool.
We built dens in the woods. The children were vastly impressed by our den skilz. I say mine are so stellar because my dear mama was a great endorser of fresh air, particularly when the Archers omnibus came on the radio. We would be unceremoniously turfed out of the house to make our own entertainment while she worried about what happened to Nelson at The Bull.
Sometimes we had to build dens just to have somewhere to huddle together for warmth.
My tiny hand is frozen, etc…
Greenwood have the only people powered roller coaster in the world as well as dens and budgies and the like. It works sort of like a funicular railway. You clamber up the hill and climb into a holding pen, which then slides down the hill you have just climbed. As this happens it propels the seats for the roller coaster up the hill.
You then walk back up to the roller coaster, having created enough energy to propel the roller coaster by your little ride up and down.
On busy days, so I read, it actually makes money for the park by creating more electricity than it needs.
Which is pretty awesome.
As well as roller coastering and bird scaring, we did stilt walking with varying degrees of ability. Jason and I refused to have a go, mainly because it involved wading through a foot of mud, and I for one knew that should I have shinned up a couple of sticks I would have undoubtedly have face planted in the mud in a matter of seconds.
We did archery, which was lots and lots of fun. I’ve only ever done it with home made bows and arrows that my mum made us, probably one time when she needed us out of the house for a very long time, maybe The Archers omnibus and a repeat of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’. I wasn’t very good at archery then.
I recall spending inordinate amounts of time bottom up in bushes searching for arrows, or shooting myself in the foot with a increasingly weary sense of inevitability.
I did a lot better this time, and although I did not actually hit any of the targets I was aiming for, I did get all arrows airborne and in the right direction. i.e. away from my foot.
For sheer enjoyment I have to say that the giant slide made out of what looked like reconstituted toothbrushes was second to none.
But the funniest thing we did was go on a boat ride.
It really should have been an easy thing to do. We couldn’t go anywhere except on the boat ‘path’, as it was just a channel cut through the woodland in a loop. We should have been able to steer with ease, as not only did we have a paddle, but there were also handy pull cords all the way along the loop which we could use to propel ourselves forward.
It was disastrous.
I laughed until I hurt it was so funny.
The main reason our boating was so terrible was because none of the children would sit still.
We did try to explain to them about weight distribution in boats, but it did not really register at all. Every time they saw a handle or a rope to pull they all got up and shot over to it, with immediate and obvious consequences to everyone and the boat.
We lurched and bumped, and tipped and tilted and squealed our way round. Jason tried to retain order, and I just mostly lay in the bottom of the boat laughing until wee came out of my eyes.
It was an excellent day.
You should go.