Wednesday, 1 August 2012

National Lampoons Vacation

Well my Center Parcs woodland holiday village experience came and went quite quickly last week. I am officially all swimming, cycling, field archery, tree trekking and zip wired out. Back to work for a rest next week.

I actually enjoyed getting out in the fresh air and cycling around, up and down the hills – well the down was a hell of a lot easier than the up to be fair.

Our son coped relatively well with the experience, although was never going to be able to take part in any structured group tasks due to his frustration and outbursts. However we managed to do a “treasure trail” which involved cycling around looking for clues, only hampered by me telling him to go down hill and then up to the right – only for him to go up hill and down to the left. This is a good example of where even simple communication can be picked up incorrectly due to the way the autistic brain can process information or where they only hear parts of a sentence and end up with a completely different message received.

He, of course, threw his bike down and shouted at the top of his voice to me that I was a stupid idiot and it was all my fault, much to the amusement of about twenty or so people who must have thought this was the brat from hell. But we’re used to that. His only other misdemeanour was to shout at mum she was a “f**cking idiot” for doing something equally as misinterpreted by him later in full earshot of another disapproving audience as we left the village centre. C’est la vie.

My daughter insisted we took a kayak on the lake and we had a lot of fun paddling in different directions at the same time. Olympic teamwork was not high on the agenda unless there’s a medal category for worrying ducks and heading for other boats inadvertently. Which we were very, very good at.

When we hired the sit on vessel, the guy did say we would get a bit wet from the waist down, however I had jeans on and was completely soaked through by the time we finished and had to walk around like John Wayne before cycling up hill in wet denim – not a pleasant experience. I’m sure everyone thought I had wet myself.

I diced with death on the flumes and canyon rides, escaping the trains of kids who seemed to ignore the “one at a time” rule and somehow always caught up with me half way down – causing impending panic as I imagined six of the little blighters landing on top of me at the bottom. Fortunately, no lasting damage was done.

Apart from the organised mayhem, the woodland lodge settings were very relaxing and quiet – and I even managed to barbeque without setting fire to the surroundings, which is a plus for future visitors and the elusive red squirrels that I am yet to see. We had a little rabbit that kept visiting our lodge and there was a pheasant that came close a couple of times – had we been in the true wilderness this could have provided dinner, but I don’t think the park rangers would have approved.

So, apart from the five hour drive each way and the lack of any meaningful, warm sunshine it was a good experience. Would I go back, probably, but not before I’ve had some Mediterranean sand in my toes. Now where’s the holiday brochures……

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