Holiday Mark V – The Parent Tax

Six thirty am, yes people, that did start with a six! I was awoken to the sound of furniture being moved around a room by excited chimps high on the effect of sugar. My wife did go in and ask them to pack it in, which resulted in me giving up on life and going downstairs at seven am for quiet breakfast. Yes, in my mind I was having a quiet and serene breakfast just like last week when everyone slept in while I went to work. I switched on the television to listen to the news, grabbed a bowl of some yummy cereal, only for my wife to come downstairs and stand between me and the television. My wife seemed engrossed whilst I munched my cereal wondering how long it would take her to realise, but when the important bit finished she moved.

Undeterred I listened to the next segment of news as my kids shot up and down the stairs like fireworks waffling about rubbish. I gave up on my relaxing bowl of cereals and news and switched the television off. I went back upstairs for a shower and change, to be told by one of our kids they were using the loo, and we may want to give it a few days of fumigation before going back in. Charming! Now even a shower and shave was going to be painful.

Shower and shave dealt with, and after a short period of children pretending to wash and brush their teeth, we headed off to a theme park for a day of fun and laughter. As we got to the end of the very short drive, I indicated left and the first “Are we nearly there yet?” came from the rear of the car. This was repeated at frequent intervals until, I am ashamed to say, I started stretching the truth. My sat-nav said miles away, which I translated to just around the corner. This bought me ten minutes of punch ups in the rear of the car over whose toy was whose, and which gift shop tat belonged to who. We pulled into the car park and paid a small fortune to enter the theme park that (maybe I am showing my age) would have been equal to a ransom fee back in the day. After a million “Are we nearly there yet?” I needed caffeine and announced that we were visiting the cafe first. The kids all came up and chose some chocolate cookies, and my wife questioned them as to whether they were sure, to which they repeated they were perfect.

I sat down, and I am not kidding, pursed my lips for my first taste of coffee, when Captain Chaos announced he needed a wee. By the time I got back I pursed my lips for both kids to drop their half chewed cookies and inform me that they did not want them and could we go. I stripped the lining of my throat knocking back the longed for coffee as we headed on for the adventure of a lifetime, well the roller coaster at least. I sat with Captain Chaos, and my wife was in front. As we went sideways my son said it was okay, but he was ready to get off. Sorry son could we wait until we get to the station before we disembark the roller coaster? When we got off we saw the photos where my son was calm, I was gripping the cars like my life depended on it, and my wife was doing an impression of a frog with severe diarrhoea for a few days, which was about to explode any moment. We decided not to purchase the photos funnily enough. Captain Chaos decided that he wanted to go for the ride on mini tractors. We gave him a shiny coin, and he headed off as every parent queued to watch. Now picture the scene, a narrow track, with no staff and you go round, and get to the end where other children, many, many children, were waiting. Captain Chaos made a stunning start when he used the right hand guard rail as the steering wheel, and sparks flew as he mount the guard rail all the way round. This worked until he got to the other side and hit a massive support bolt and could not move.

Every parents eyes turned to me, and I did the walk of shame across the site with big signs saying under no circumstances should anyone enter. I’m so sorry but with that many parents watching and expectant children ready to beat me, I went over. There was Captain Chaos announcing “There was a little problem.” Yes son, there was a problem, you seem to be under the impression you are stock car racing, but we have to deliver this tractor back without the side of it missing. I pushed with all my might on the tractor at the front to release him, grunting like a seasoned pro tennis player, until I realised I was pushing forward, and my son hand his right foot planted hard on the accelerator. I freed him and he smacked the guard rail and again managed sparks as he went round. In case anyone sees a tractor in a theme park that looks like it had been banger racing, or involved in a serious accident, then I know nothing.

After walking quickly we headed for some swans you could ride, which were little boats. My confidence was dealt a severe blow when Captain Chaos announced “Mummy’s riding with me.” Well that cleared that up then, son. My little girl was lovely and announced “Its okay, you can ride with me.” My little girl and I flew round the pond, overtaking other, darting in and out, to see a crowd gathering at the bank looking at the middle. Yes, there was my wife trying to mount the island in the middle, going in circles and screaming “How do you steer this thing?” I tried shouting instructions but was not brave enough to finish them, as I feared a kick that would see me singing a whole new octave higher, so I headed for the finish.

My wife did eventually come back, crashed into the dock and announced the steering was iffy. Really my speedboat queen? I shall of course immediately report the iffy boat with left and right controls only, to the authorities. We announced we were done for the day, and my little girl announced “I think we will set a budget for the gift shop, I think six pounds is fair.” Six pounds, are you kidding me?! I could feed an entire family for two days on six pounds, could we negotiate a little lower, say a few pounds as we both know, it will be on the floor in twenty four hours, and in the bin by the end of the week.

Having finished the parent tax, sorry gift shop, we headed home with two children sleeping. Now that’s what I call success. Night, night people, see you next week for what happened tomorrow, and you will not believe it even if I told you!!