Weeknotes 076: That elf’s name is rhinovirus

Last week’s packing paid off and we departed on time. Nearly. Constant rain on the drive was worrisome, but we got lucky with Wetherby chargers and arrived in sunshine with time to collect bikes and make our pool slot. A combination of floating outside in peace and unexpectedly dunking Piglet in the water at the bottom of the flume. It’ll be a while before we go on a pool slide again.

Center Parcs is like a mid-sized Dutch hamlet: slightly disorientating, abundant cyclists and surface water, funny-almost-English-accents1 and a pound doesn’t go as far as back home.

As sensible nearly-middle-aged parents, we had activities booked the whole trip. The weather gods disagreed with our plans. After a sunny evening barbecue with our new squirrel and geese brothers, we set about rearranging activities.

While it drizzled, we were inside learning how to be a giraffe or a frog on a balance bike. After the rain Piglet had a beatific pony ride, sat in hushed awe. Well, it might have been tiredness rather than awe, as she fell asleep in the bike seat immediately afterwards. An afternoon mini-trek, soft play and too warm restaurant2 led to the inevitable dip. Scootering to the park to find the tractor unmanned restored us.

Wednesday brought Piglet’s trio of highlights of the trip:

  • Watching people on the zipwire.
  • Doing me shopping” with a toddler sized trolley.
  • Heckling the three bears for fishing in the wrong lake.

We’ll remember this as they’re all free. The scheduled dancing activity was a bit naff. As was the restaurant. Wine in front of the log fire, after escaping from a still awake Piglet, less so.

Flurries is the second best weather word and we scootered through them for pancakes while the zipwires tew-tewed overhead. Sick of the sub-par meal options, The Chef cooked wild garlic omelette back at the lodge while the snow flurried and the fire burned. I’m going to miss patting and singing to Piglet when she’s too old for such nonsense. I mean, she’s already on the unattended wine.

This link has nothing to do with our holiday, but it was a good story I read in the evening.

We headed south to the South to meet up with friends, hopeful that the toddlers would get on better than last time. They’re still contrasting personalities, but age has worn down some of the rougher edges. Piglet showed her buddy how to be a frog on a balance bike and they both kicked at the ball.

Piglet got to try her first carousel with predictable heartbreak when she had to come off. The only saving grace was a pair of teenagers raising money for Ukraine by running round the park dressed in inflatable dinosaur costumes.

In a pique of stereotypical goings on, The Men headed off to the match while The Women returned home to make birdhouses with the kids. After one semi-rousing chorus of Wycombe till I die,” an elderly lady sniffed to her partner, Wycombe till he dies? I’ve never seen him at the match before.” In recompense for abandoning them, we set up a daddy-daycare and left the girls to the vicissitudes of the wine bar before some superb home-made Sri Lankan curry.

Instead of joining everyone the next day, I opted to shout at the toilet in technicolour. It feels like a Norovirus-y thing and I’ve been abandoned to isolate in bed. I had the run down of the park trip. One toddler flailing ineffectually between kit. Another carefully considering her every step. When they got back, a bout of bickering broke out and Piglet turned to tell me, Daddy, we’re having an argument” before resuming.

Their playroom has a lot of toys and Piglet has taken a fresh one to bed each night. Tonight it’s a cuddly shark. It’s a good job it’s a short stay or she’d not fit in there soon.

Courtesy of my illness I had to break our host’s heart and tell him we’re not country pub crawling. Upshot is that the girls get a second night out and I get a mid-holiday day off the booze.

Off midlanding up to the Midlands next.

  1. The irony of a Geordie mocking other English accents is not lost on me.↩︎

  2. £16 for a below average burger.↩︎

3 April 2022


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Weeknotes 077: Yer I am. We started the week looking after both toddlers while our hosts worked from home. A minor repayment for the weekend. Dividing to conquer we let them