Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Holiday By Mistake


At the weekend just gone we were ‘on holiday by mistake.’

Various friends with young children were going to experience the ‘Winter Wonderland’ at Centerparcs in Cumbria. The children involved were all Aurora’s playmates, so we thought we would join in, primarily for her sake. The Centerparcs formula is impressively simple:

  • Charge a king’s ransom for tired and basic self-catering accommodation in a picturesque woodland setting.

  • Make setting remote from any ordinary shops and entertainment.

  • Provide shops and ‘entertainment’ with eye-wateringly high prices and hope that holiday spending money delusion works against the generation of too many complaints from customers.

The experience was a bit like joining a cult exclusively for vulnerable and tired people with small children: people stripped of the energy and/or the imagination to organise anything more original for themselves.

The swimming pool was enjoyable – especially for the children. Aurora played with her playmates and Jocasta squeeled with joy as Maude carried her and strode into the artificially generated eddies and ripples. Jungle drums signalled the onset of waves on the hour. A digital display flashed WAVE ON to increase the anticipation and Aurora clung to Daddy and yelped as each wave hit.

For me, the best part of the Centerparcs swimming pool experience was the opportunity to survey the woeful physical condition of the other dads. They were, in the main, podgy. It has to be said that their podginess helped them stay steadfast against the waves, but it also created unfortunate ripples and wobbles of flesh as they moved around the space age dome which covered the pool. The dome gave the whole scene a look of ‘Logan’s Run’ in reverse. Only the over 30 and out of shape were allowed to stay. The attractive and under 30 were terminated - unless they managed to crack the formidable boundary defences and reached the bright lights of Keswick.

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