1. One day, when work/life balance is out of whack, when all your free time is spent shopping and doing things to the house, and after too many days stuck indoors feeling guilty at not having enough adventures, you float the possibility of a Family Day Out to your spouse to get agreement. After running through the options (Massive Theme Park, Zoo, Huge and Ornate Mansion House, Day Trip to London, etc), opt for Family Thunderworld Theme Park. Fail to set a date.
2. Wait eight months for winter to clear. Finally set date three days before actually going.
3. The night before, announce to the family your intention to get up at 7am, and leave the house by 9am.
4. The Big Day Out Arrives! Alarm goes off at 7am. You sleepily decide that getting up at 7am on a weekend was a stupid idea. Wake at 8:30am instead.
5. Eat breakfast slowly. Wife reminds you that “well, you wanted to leave by 9am”.
6. Gather stuff together to go out. Wife attempts to save money and encourage healthy eating by making nutritious, tasty, and cheap pasta salad, and bring bottles of diluted squash to drink. Protest at this delay and hassle by saying “there’ll be food there!”.
“Yes,” she argues, “There will be food to purchase once we get there. It’ll be greasy and disgusting, and probably cost a bajillion pounds.”
7. Has everyone got coats? Have we got music for the journey? Has everyone been to the toilet? Yes? MISSION ON!
8. Leave house, lock door. Get in car. Put on sunglasses. Realise that only 30 years ago, you were in the back of the car, watching your father put his sunglasses on before driving off on a Family Day Out. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realise you are now a fatter version of your father. Momentary plunge into deep depression.
9. Wife: “Why haven’t you switched on the engine? Why are you staring at yourself in the mirror like that?”
10. Travel 0.3 miles. Think: “Did I close the bathroom window?”. 5 miles later, loudly announce you’re going back to check.
11. Get home, rush in, run upstairs, bathroom window has been closed for months. Fucksticks. Back to car.
12. Two miles down the road: “Did you lock the back door?”
13. Get home, rush in etc. Back door not locked! Shitbread. Back to car. “Third time lucky!” said in enforced cheery tone.
14. “Daddy I need the loo!”
What? You’ve just been!
“That was a wee. I need a poo now.”
But we’re three miles down the road!
15. “OK. Are we all done? Are we ready to go? Is there anything else we need? Is there anything stopping us from going now? Last chance!… Righto! Onwards!”
16. “WHERE’S FLUFFY UNICORN?? I NEED FLUFFY UNICORN!”
For fffffff-…udge’s sake, child!
17. “You’re getting irritable. Would you like me to drive?” “NO. I’M FINE.”
18. Finally hit motorway more than an hour late. Motorway jammed with caravans and families on Big Days Out.
19. “Are we nearly there yet?”
20. “Actually darling, I could do with a wee now”
But we’ve only done 30 miles!!
“Yes, but we’ve been travelling for an hour and a half, and I rushed that coffee…”
“I heard that.”
21. Are we all done? Do we need anything else from the services? RIGHT. ONWARDS.
22. How about some music?
23. “OK, Alice wants Frozen. I’d quite like the Miriam Makeba best-of. Daddy, what do you want?” Hawkwind.
“I’m not in the mood for one-chord trippy space-prog played by stoned idiots right now.”
I’m not in the mood for worthy, coffee-table, WOMAD African jazz-funk…
24. “BUT I WANTED FROZEN, DADDY!!!!!”
25. Hmmm, Hawkwind really do go on a bit. This is turgid.
26. Nope. This is a load of twiddly cosmic bobbins made by untalented stoned hippies in order to fill up the set for their Glastonbury Festival slot in 1974.
27. Actually, fuck this, I’m completely not in the mood for Hawkwind right now.
28. All: “IT GETS A LITTLE LONELY / ALL THESE EMPTY ROOMS / JUST WATCHING THE HOURS TICK BYYYYYYYYYYY…. clikclokclikclok…”
29. “AGAIN! AGAIN!”
OK, you can have three songs again, but that’s it.
30: All: “…OR RIDE YOUR BIKE AROUND THE HAAAAALLS / I GUESS SOME COMPANY IS OVERDUE / I’VE STARTED TALKING TO THE PICTURES ON THE WAAAAAALLS – Hang in there, Joan!”
31. “Are we nearly there yet?”
32. “Why are we all slowing down? Oh, this looks like a long one…”
33. Don’t look. It’s a crash. Gosh, it’s a nasty one. Don’tlookdon’tlookdon’tlook.
“OOOH! Are there any dead bodies?”
Dammit child, what television programmes have you been watching recently?
34. Oh thank God, traffic’s clearing up.
“Daddy, I need another wee”.
35. Right, let’s look at the map. We could either go north another 40 miles then get the dual carriageway west, or we come off at the next junction and… look, zzzzzzzip! Diagonal shortcut! Cross country!
[sceptically]: “A shortcut?”
“Is this one of your shortcuts?”
Alice, motorway or shortcut?
36. Mmm, this is pretty…
37. “That’s the third tractor we’ve been stuck behind.”
Look, I’m sorry I didn’t factor agricultural machinery into the journey!
“You’re sounding irritable again…”
“ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET…?”
38. “Why are we stopping?”
I need a wee.
“We’re running late…”
Oh, so it’s fine for you to go, and for Alice to go multiple times, but I’ve got to hold it in until my bladder ruptures, is it?”
“You’re sounding irritable again…”
MY COCK’S ABOUT TO BURST!
“Everyone will see you.”
39. Yes, I’m sorry, constable. I realise it’s a Public Order Offence, but I was caught short… no, that gate is locked, I can’t go into that fiel… oh, it’s open. Sorry. Sorry. Yes. Sorry.
40. “What did you get?”
He let me off with a warning.
41. “ARE WE NEARL…”
“ALICE! PIPE DOWN!”
You’re sounding irritable now…
[rising air-raid siren of upset, crying child from back seat]
“Oh I’m sorry, Alice. Look, sweetie, it would be nice if you didn’t ask that question over and over again, OK?”
We’re nearly there. We’ll get there when we get there.
42. [timidly, but using cunning variation] “How many more miles to go?”
Be quiet, child.
43. “It’s nearly lunchtime…”
“You said it would only take an hour and a half or so…”
That’s what Google maps said!
“We’ve been driving more than two hours…”
I can’t build the park any closer, can I?
“You really are sounding irritable now…”
44. There’s a roadsign for the Thunderworld! Not long now!
46. “Why are we queueing, Daddy?”
Because every other cu-… person in the country decided to come here the same day as us.
“That’s a bit selfish of them…”
Yes. It is, isn’t it?
47. “How about some music to pass the…?”
48. WE’RE HERE! OH GOD, WE’RE HERE!
49. “The road into the park is almost as long as the journey to… what’s that grinding noise? Is that your teeth?”
50. “There’s a space!”
It’s too small
“There’s a space!”
It’s a disabled space
“There’s a space!”
It’s miles from the gate
“We’ve already travelled plenty of miles as it is. Park there.”
50. Right, remember where we’ve parked. We’re in Zone Q9. Can you all remem… hello? Alice? Sarah?? Where have you all gone?
51. “DADDY THERE’S A MONORAIL! ARE WE GOING ON THE MONORAIL??!”
52. “Why are we queueing again, Daddy? We queue to drive to the park, we queue to get into the park…”
I think you should get used to queueing here, Alice.
53. “WE’RE ON A MONORAIL! I LOVE MONORAILS! CAN WE HAVE A MONORAIL IN OUR GARDEN??!”
54. “It’s raining again. Why did we come on such a rainy day?”
Because I thought there would be no queues.
“You thought wrong”
55. HI AND WELCOME TO THUNDERWORLD MASSIVE THEME PARK OF JOY!! PLEASE ENJOY YOUR STAY!
“Well, thanks for that.”
56. Oh, thank Christ, the ticket queue is moving.
57. “Two adults and one child? OK sir, that’ll be £125 please”
HOW FFF-… MUCH??
“Darling, did you remember to bring the special Theme Park tokens off the muesli box?”
“Good job I did, then”
[removes entire cereal box from handbag and hands it to ticket clerk]
“That’ll be just £95 then”
58. Right, do we want lunch? Or do we want to go to Teeny-Tiny TV Tie-in Land?
“TEENY-TINY TV TIE-IN LAND!!!”
OK, Alice. But remember that Daddy and Mummy want to go on rides as well.
59. Two hours later…
Alice, can we PLEASE go and get some LUNCH? PLEEEEASE?
“Teacup ride! TEACUP RIDE!”
“…oh let her have the teacup ride, the queue’s only 20 minutes long”
60. “That’s three baguettes, three muffins, two Diet Cokes, one coffee, and a packet of salt n’ vinegar crisps”
What the actual fffffu-hell?
61. “You said there would be reasonably-priced food”
I said there’d be food, I had no idea it would be unreasonably-priced.
“Pasta salad next time?”
“You’re making it, then.”
62. “This lunchtime show about pirates…”
“The one our daughter is really loving?”
“The one where the lone female character, screams a lot, needs a man to rescue her, and isn’t bothered who she marries, as long as she marries the first person who comes to her aid waving a sword…?”
“There’s not much feminism in this, is there?”
63. Where’s Alice?
“She’s down the front and dancing to the rubbish version of ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears with lyrics that reference pirates”
I see her. She’s enjoying herself.
“She’s… hang on… is she twerking??”
Oh God, I think she is…
64. “THAT ONE! THAT ONE! THAT ONE!”
“It’s 3pm. Can Mummy and Daddy do one of their rides now?”
“OK, Squiggle-Cat Jungle Rollercoaster?”
I’ll sit this one out.
“It’ll be fun!”
“Yeah, Daddy! It’ll be fun!!”
No, I’m fine thanks.
“Look, it’s only going about 4 mph”
That’s the uphill bit
“OK, so it’s going about 8mph…”
“Come on…!” [both wife and child grab Daddy’s arms and drag him towards the rollercoaster]
LOOK, I HAVE A CHILDHOOD FEAR OF ROLLERCOASTERS, OK???!!
[–entire theme park, including all the animals in the petting zoo, goes silent and turn their heads to look at me–]
FINE! I’ll go and get a coffee. [stomps off]
65. “DADDY! DADDY! WE’RE UP HEEEEEERE!!”
Yes I can see you!
“WATCH US DADDY! WHEEEEEEE!!”
Shit, that goes fast. I’m glad I didn’t…
“AAAAAARGH MUMMMMEEEEEEE I WANT TO GET OFFFFFFFF!!!”
66. Can Mummy and Daddy have a ride now?
“TREETOP JUNGLE RIDE!!! TREEETOPPPPPP!!!”
“Your turn. I did the roller-coaster”.
15 minutes of queueing and 3 minutes of “Mummy! We’re up here!!!” later
“How was that?”
Far too high off the ground.
“You really don’t like theme parks, do you?”
I like the idea of them…
67. “How about that one?”
“How about that one?”
It’s too fast and too high.
“Well, how about…”
“Oi mate, you wanna go on that one, that’ll help yer childhood trauma ahahahaha!”
Could you fuck off and mind your own business, please?
“Darling! NO! Don’t swear in front of all these children…!!”
Well, he’s an interfering oik…
“I know, but you should really learn to…”
“Oooh, ‘ee’s in trouble with the missus!”
“Yeah actually, you know what? Could you fuck off and leave us alone?”
“Mummy! That’s not very nice…”
“I’m sorry darling. Mummy shouldn’t swear, I know…”
It seems to have worked, he’s genuinely offended now.
“Look, can we have a ride?”
His wife is looking bloody daggers at you…
“I don’t care. What ride do you want to go on?”
They all look too horrible.
“Well, there’s not much else to ride on…”
Bloody hell, and it has cost us £MYBALLS to get in.
68. OH SHIT OH SHIT WHY DID I DO THIS?? CAN I GET OFF PLEASE? AAAAHHHHHH!!! NOOOOOO!! SHITSHITSHITSHITFUCKSHITFUCK HEEEELLLLPPPPPP! LETMEOFFLETMEOFFLETMEOFF PLEEEEEEASE! I’M GONNA DIEEEEE WE’RE GOING TOO FAST!!!! WATCH OUT FOR THE… SHIT THAT WAS CLOSE!!! EVERYONE’S SCREAMING FUCK FUCK WE’RE ABOUT TO CRASH AND DIE!!!! O GOD, I PRAY YOU SPARE MY WIFE, SPARE MY DAUGHTER…
ARGH CHRIST! IT’S STOPPED! WE’RE SWINGING! WHYHAVEWESTOPPED??! STOP SWINGING! OH GOD, I SWEAR I’LL LOSE WEIGHT AND BE A BETTER PERSON JUST LET ME OFF OH SHIT I’M GONNA DIE! FUCKING HELL WE’RE MOVING AGAIN AND IT’S LURCHING FASTER GET ME OFF THIS CUNTING THING NOW OR I’LL DIE FROM A HEART ATTACK! NOOOOO DON’T STOP AGAIN OVER THIS VAST CHASM!!! I WANNA GET OFF I WANNA GET OFF! NOW IT’S BOUNCING UP AND DOWN AND FFFFUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK WE’RE OFF AGAIN I WANT OFF THIS BASTARD NOW AAAAAARRRGHHHH SHITTTTT I’M GONNA DIE!
THE END! Oh, thank God. LET ME OFF FIRST LET ME OFF THIS FUCKING CUNT OF A RIDE RIGHT NOW OR I’LL KILL YOU. OUT OF THE WAY EVERYONE! JESUS CHRIST Jesus Christ! Oh Christ, thank Fuck that’s over. Never again. Never. Again. And breathe. Aaaaand breeeeathe.
“Daddy! That was great!! Can we go on the cable car again?!”
69. OK, we’re in the Castle Zone now. What do you want to ride on?
“Ghost Mansion. We did the cable car…”
And it was terrifying…
“…but it was your choice. Why did you choose it? You’re scared of cable cars too?”
Yeah but… I like the idea of them…
“Why do you always like the idea of the things, but not the actual things themselves?”
[ignoring this] Do you want to ride on the Ghost Mansion, poppet?
Are you sure?
“Yes, come on Alice, this is what I want to do!”
OK, this is what Mummy wants to do…
[unsure] “Yes. I want to ride on it”
Sarah, I’m not sure if she…
“Well, it’s a majority vote, and we’ve only got an hour and a half left.”
“Are there real ghosts in this mansion?”
No darling, they’re just fake ghosts. It’s all very silly.
70. “MUUUMMMMYYY!!!! DADDDDDDDYYYYYYY!!! I’M TOO SCAAAAARED!!!! I WANT TO GET OFFFFFF!!”
Darling, this is the queue. It’s not scary
[recorded voice: “MWOOHAHAHAHAHA!!!”]
It’ll be fine once you get into it…
71. Sweetie, Mummy’s very sorry and we won’t go on ghost rides again. Aren’t you, Mummy?
“Yes, I’m sorry darling. I didn’t realise the plastic skelington would scare you so much”
Was it the fake skelington that scared you?
“No, it was the bubbling bottles in the mad scientists’ lab!! WAAAAAAH!”
“The bubbly bottles with the blue water?”
72. “We have 45 minutes left. It’s your choice. What shall we do now?”
The Jungle Rapids Ride.
“We’ll get soaked! No, choose something less wet.”
Well I, for one, want to kill things now. Pirate Galleons!
“YES! PIRATE GALLEONS MUMMY!”
“I saw that ride, it’s got water cannons.”
“Well, I’ll sit this one out…”
Your loss. C’mon kid, let’s be pirates!
73. OK, sweetie, you just put your raincoat on. If anyone squirts you, just turn your back and I’ll lay down covering fire.
74. Did that teen shout “Brap-Brap motherfucker!” at me and my daughter whilst brandishing one of the water guns? RIGHT.
75. AAARGH, YOU LITTLE TWAT! I’LL GET YOU FOR THAT!!
76. “OI! MATE! YOU JUST SHOT ME IN THE FACE!”
Oh boo-hoo. It’s water, not hydrochloric acid. AVAST YE DOGS!
77. “Avenge me, Daddy! YARRRR!”
That’s the spirit, my lovely little bosun!
78. SAY HELLO TO MY LEETEL FREN’!!
“AARGH MATE! I’M ABSOLUTELY SOAKED!!”
79. “You are absolutely soaked to the skin.”
I know, but it was AWESOME!
“You just shot up an entire boatload of Brummie teenagers whilst shouting curses and film quotes.”
“You take these things too seriously.”
No, it was fun! Wasn’t it, poppet?
“And she’s going to be sitting in freezing, sodden clothes for the journey home…”
No, look at those huge massive drying machines there!
“Sod is a rude word, mummy!”
80. “OI! MATE! My iPhone’s completely ruined!”
You mean you took it on with you? Rookie mistake, my friend…
“I’ll sue you for that!”
Sure. A good solicitor will set you back £150 per hour. Off you trot.
“If I see you again… Brap-Brap, mate!”
Wife: “Next time, please can we go somewhere where, for once, you don’t enrage a teenage gang to the point where they shout out death threats and promises of legal action?”
81. “Well, I feel we haven’t done most of the park”
“Look it’s only another £45 to come back within six months…
Fuck yeah! Let’s do it!
82. Blimey the queue to get out is bigger than the queue to get in!
83. Is there someone smoking in the queue?
“Yeah, that guy over there”
Really? In this day and age??
“You don’t see it often anymore, do you?”
Christ, it stinks…
“You used to smell like that. All the time.”
Alice: [in a really loud voice that makes the entire queue tut] “Daddy, smoking is for stupid poor people.”
Alice… really… not here… not now
“That’s what Georgia’s mummy says anyway”
Georgia’s mummy is a horrible snob. And so’s Georgia.
84. “DADDY! PLEASE CAN WE HAVE A MONORAIL IN OUR BACK GARDEN??!”
85. Come on everyone, the car’s over here!
“That’s not our car”
Yes it is, look… it’s just… it’s not… the doors…
“That’s because it’s not our car”
It is… the battery in the fob is probably…
“THERE’S OUR CAR OVER THERE, DADDY!”
So it is…
“Can you really not spot our car? You’ve had it, what? Eight years?”
It’s dark, I’m tired, and every car here is a silver estate thing. Give me a break.
86. OK, let’s have some music…
“FROZEN! FROZEN! FROZEN!!”
87. SAD BIT EVERYONE! “Please, I know you’re in there / People are asking where you’ve been…”
88. “We need to stop for supper. It’s getting late.”
Pub or chain restaurant?
89. Frankie and Benny’s?
90. “God that was disgusting”.
I can feel the fat globules in my bloodstream.
“Can we go there again, Mummy? THAT WAS THE BEST RESTAURANT EVER! SOOOO POSH!!”
91. OK, we’re on the motorway. Try and get some sleep, little one.
92. “I CAN’T SLEEP! I’M HAVING NIGHTMARES! THAT GHOST RIDE WAS TOO SCARY!!”
93. “I’m really sorry you found that scary, lovely…”
“I DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO GO ON IT!!”
Well, to be fair, you did say yes to it…
“NO I DIDN’T! I’M HAVING NIGHTMARES ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW AND I’M NOT EVEN ASLEEP!!!”
94. We’ve only 52 miles to go until we get home. Can you please stop going on about the ghost ride and try and sleep a little?
“I CAN’T! I’LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN I’M SO SCARED!!”
Mummy did say sorry, and remember, in this family, when we say sorry, the argument stops…
“YES, BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO GO ON IT AND IT WAS REALLY SCARY…”
95. “Are we nearly there yet?”
Nope. Not nearly there at all.
“Dan! For heaven’s sake, you’re not making this any easier. [to child] Yes, darling. We’re only 24 miles away…”
“DON’T MAKE FUN OF ME DADDY, I’M REALLY SCARED!!!”
“Oh well done, you’ve set her off again…”
96. “Are we nearl-”
Are we nearl-
“That ghost ride wa-”
That ghost ride wa-
“I’M REALLY SCARE-!”
I’m really scare-
“STOP COPYING ME!!!!”
Stop copying me.
“DAN! Give it a bloody rest, will you?”
97. Arriving back in town at >9pm.
“Yup, fast asleep.”
98. Come on, out the car. We’re home!
“No, I’m too tired.”
I’m gonna take you upstairs and put you in your bed!
“No Daddy, I’m sleeping here.”
You can’t sleep in the car. Come on.
“I’ll have nightmares if I sleep in my bed”
99. So family, was that a good family day out?
“It was. Thanks, darling”
“No. the bubbling bottles in the ghost ride spoiled it.”
What about the Teeny-Tiny TV Tie-In Land part we spent 3 hours in?
“That was good, I suppose. Can we go again?”
100. She’s fine. She just went spark out as soon as I put her down on her bed.
“So, how did you get to be traumatised by roller-coasters?”
My Dad took me on one when I was six, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go on it or not. He told me I’d enjoy it once I got used to it. Scared the crap out of me.
Yup, the circle is now complete.