Hey there, Written Wheelies, I survived, I’m in one piece, and have such an epic tale to tell you. As some of you may be aware, last week was the annual occurrence of the family holiday. Generally, this consists of lavish pub crawls combined with really early mornings as we are awoken by the song of Kenneth, and at some point, handbags at dawn. This time though we had the added extra of Mum being in plaster and somewhat toothless due to a disastrous dog walk.
The idea of going to Center Parcs came into fruition a few months ago when Dad tried to bribe me with the prospect of seeing giraffes at Longleat Zoo. He knew that this was one of my new year's resolutions so decided that this would be a good ploy to get me to attend the cataclysmic excursion. I, of course, agreed on the grounds that giraffes are cute, and I knew there would be a decent blog in there somewhere. So, when all things were considered, I was merely on a research trip for the purposes of art.
We set off on Monday morning with both wheelchairs, a pair of crutches, and what felt like a thousand bags to ensure that Dad had enough outfits for an entire month. If anyone saw us drive by, we must have resembled a crippled tin of sardines. Upon arrival, Dad headed off to the pub with Mum hobbling behind him whilst she loudly, and very indiscreetly, muttered about wanting to go home. Kenneth on the other hand, couldn’t comprehend why he wasn’t allowed to jump straight into the swimming pool regardless of whether he was still clothed.
After we’d quenched out thirst, it was time to establish where the lodge was and, more to the point, how accessible it was. I know this sounds ridiculous, but Dad has a habit of being able to spot inaccessible holiday homes from a mile off and booking them anyway. As it turned out, the lodge was at the furthest point from the centre as it could possibly get, which essentially meant a very slow and precarious walk in very typical British weather. On a positive note though, once I’d stripped some of the wood and paintwork from the doors, our temporary abode was relatively accessible providing that I navigated my route at a pace slower than a snail's.
Tuesday comprised of many things that I daren’t mention, but it began with a shopping trip that illustrated Mum’s poor orienteering skills, saw Kenneth pull a little girl’s hair because he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t going for a second skinny dip of the day, and culminated with a high possibility of divorce papers.
Wednesday was far more interesting, and luckily for you, the day doesn’t have to be as censored. Willow weaving was on the cards for me and Mum while Dad and Kenneth went for their daily splash. It goes without saying that cerebral palsy and any form of craft that requires precision and dexterity don’t go together, so my wreath can only be likened to the nest of a bird who’s had a few too many. Never fear though, it was rescued by Jim, the ranger, who apparently is an expert in such things. Thus, through a short course of rehab, my wreath is now four days sober and is well on its way to getting its first coin.
In the knowledge that I had missed both training sessions for my eagerly awaited trek, I decided that I should brave the temperamental weather and drag Dad on a little stroll. From someone who’s usually on wheels, I came to the realisation whilst struggling to keep myself upright along the steady incline of the driveway that Center Parcs isn’t as flat as it first appears. All I can say is that as Dad crept along the pavement, once again at a speed that a snail could beat, I think he was kind of glad that he’s not attending the event due to prior work commitments.
You may have already gathered that I love curry almost as much as I love giraffes, and so the prospect of Indian food was going to be the highlight of my day. That said, all bright ideas seem to end up as an epic fail and the starting point for any good story. After we’d waited for approximately an hour for our food to arrive, Kenneth began to get understandably ratty and commenced his usual rigmarole of the screaming abdabs. Of course, this prompted the waitresses to run around faster than blue-arsed flies in an effort to quieten the racket. The meal was less than ideal but we ate it anyway and headed home on the road train, slightly disheartened.
After telling the doddery old driver at which stop we needed to depart, it was all aboard in the hopes of a quiet night in. What we hadn’t realised was that said doddery old driver was also a tad incompetent, and so as Dad hopped off the train to assist me down the ramp, the driver continued his journey. It was at this point that all carnage broke loose. Kenneth and Mum began screeching at a pitch that hyenas would be proud of, Dad ran up the hill at a pace Mo Farah would be proud of, and the driver moseyed along in blissful ignorance. What’s not to love?
As if there wasn’t enough excitement for the week, we still had two days to conquer. Thursday began relatively smoothly with a trip to the falconry where I discovered a new-found appreciation for owls, alongside a spot of retail therapy where I acquired a new set of training shoes. Just at the point where we thought we’d got off without a hitch, Kenneth began projectile vomiting thanks to a mixture of the less than impressive curry, an excess of swallowed chlorine, or a simple bug. It was due to this unfortunate development that we decided to cancel our trip to see the giraffes and head straight home.
Somewhere amidst the heavy traffic on the A46, as Dad was holding a crisp packet full of Mum’s vomit, courtesy of either Kenneth’s germs or the pain from her foot, I was attempting not to pass out due to period pain, Kenneth was repeatedly tapping me on the shoulder for updates on where we were going, and Mum was desperately searching for a new bag to throw up in. That moment perfectly encapsulated the mood for the entire holiday, and it was reaffirmed in my mind that this family is one of a kind.