The Beddoe four and G&G have come to Center Parcs for the weekend. We’ve been to the one in Elveden several times together over the years while the children were younger but as they’ve got older it’s become increasingly difficult to take them out of school so had resigned ourselves to not going again. But with the new one on our doorstep we were able to collect the kids from school and be here by 4.30pm on Friday. I have told A’s teacher that she will be absent on Monday and I am going to ring T in sick (since I’ve had no response to my email – see previous post – my guilt levels are minimal).
The excitement at just being here on Friday was at fever pitch. We’ve always had such a brilliant time before, we really love the “no cars” environment – the kids are so safe cycling here – and the woodland setting is so peaceful. G&G were already settled into the lodge when we arrived and we quickly unpacked so we could go off and explore our surroundings. Grandma and A found a little pond just along from our lodge and T went off scouting round on his bike. The centre is a ten minute walk 3 minute cycle from our lodge and all of us but grandma have got bikes, but she’s a super speedy walker so she’s almost always only 3 or 4 minutes behind us!
The new setting is just as good, if not better, than Elveden and we’ve really enjoyed finding our way around and investigating all the new areas. We were so familiar with Elveden that this is a real new adventure for us.
Yesterday we were booked in for the family treasure trail on bikes. Grandad decided that he would be fine on his bike despite his leg still not being quite right so he came along as planned while grandma had a look at the shops and sat with a coffee and her kindle. It amazes me how competitive some people are. It was a family thing with clues around the whole village that you had to answer to get a series of letters to then have the chance at winning a prize. Just a bit of fun? Oh no! One group of youngish people (with no kids) were behaving as if they were in a battle of the fittest and determined to win. Which of course they did, but we just enjoyed cycling around in the sunshine, having a bit of a laugh and the kids were both pleased with their keyring compasses that they received for taking part (we came 4th).
Then after a refreshment stop the Beddoe four headed for the pool while G&G headed back to the lodge. The pool is not just a pool. There are slides, Rapids, a lazy river, raft slides and a wave pool to name but a few things. We headed for the lazy river where you sit yourself in an inflatable ring and drift along a stream bumping into people and having a bit of s chuckle as you go. Good fun. (Slight incident with K having to semi-rescue a small child who had been left to her own devices and had fallen down inside her ring while clinging on for dear life with her head just above the water, floating along unsupervised – luckily there are lifeguards at regular spots and one dragged her out with K’s assistance and the parent was located).
Next stop: the Rapids. A slightly more exhilarating experience involving “white water” streams and twists and turns and drops into deeper pools before being swept away again. This one takes you outside and you are unaided – just you and your uncontrollable body. This was great fun and slightly scary in places until you’d been round s couple of times. You can’t help getting slightly closer to complete strangers than you’d perhaps prefer but I suppose that all adds to the fun?!
Having thought I’d conquered one fear (I hate getting thrown around in water) I decided that yes I could be brave and would accompany my family on a four man raft slide. T and K had given the 2 man one a go and said it was very mild and I would be fine. Oh dear. It would seem that the 4 man version was far more terrifying and involved being launched into a tunnel (we started high up on a platform so should have realised there would be an element of height involved) and going hell for leather down and round towards a vertical drop and then propelled almost upside down before finally shooting out into shallow water where we were greeted cheerfully by the attendant/lifeguard – by which point A and I were practically sobbing in fear for our lives.
Needless to say I wasn’t keen on taking any more risks after that and A and I headed back to the lazy river to calm down. I give kudos to A though for giving the 2 man version a go with K later on. I still refuse to consider it.
A much more sedate afternoon with a pottery painting session for A (with me and grandma along for advice) and a Segway experience for K and T. Good times had all round. Then off for dinner.
Lovely first day and we feel like we’ve been here for days. Bring on today’s challenge! Will I face more fears?! Watch this space…