Out And About

The grand outing to Alton Towers has had, if you’ll pardon the pun, its share of ups and down with amazing rides, humour, silliness, and some mealtime stresses

The weather has been kind, with only minor showers once or twice, and comfortable temperatures and breezes. The banter and cheer has been great for recharging batteries and passing time in queues.

My anxiety however has been through the roof on occasion, mostly around mealtimes and things connected to that not going to plan. We’re also crammed a little sardine-like into two hotel rooms: four adults and three children. With no aircon it’s all a bit close-quarters.

Still, I’m choosing to be positive and reminding myself of all the positives despite by brain doing its best to sabotage me.

Rushing Around

Sunday saw us leaving the house about six in the morning and heading north to start our holidays. Already fatigued a little by all the zipping down to the coast and back, I was a bit cranky as we started – a mood that wasn’t particularly helped by the torrents of rain that swept down on us as we hit the M1 motorway.

Fortunately, by the time we got to Alton Towers, the clouds had cleared, both in the sky and in my head, and we were able to use our Merlin Passes to get early access to the rides. This is yet another reason why we’re counting our passes as one of the best purchases we’ve made this year. An hour’s free access to most of the top rides at the UK’s biggest theme park before the general public whenever we want it? Hard to argue with. We did some rough calculations a month or two back, and we think that we’ve probably made a good couple of thousand pounds worth of visits to theme parks and sea life centres that we otherwise wouldn’t have made.

We may get teased by friends about being addicted to roller coasters, but I would argue that the confidence that all three of us have gained from facing fears, looking critically at the designs and appreciating the engineering of these rides is as big a gift as the silliness, adrenaline rush and cheap weekends that have ensued.

To give some indication of the extent to which we’ve been looking forward to returning here, my daughter is currently fighting off an unpleasant infection that has manifested in a sore infection of her mouth and gums. Even though she has been in great discomfort from it, she was resolutely determined to enjoy the day to the best of her ability – especially when we finally got onto the new ride at Alton Towers: The Smiler

We have another new favourite…

Having rushed around the park all day, we then carried on further north to stay with my parents at their place near Blackpool. Good cheer, good food and the promise of extended games of Mahjong now fill our days and evenings for the rest of the week, and I’m glad to at last be able to stop travelling for a bit. So yesterday we mostly… slept..

Celebratory Weekend

Knowing my daughter reads my blog occasionally, I’ve had to be quite muted the last couple of weeks while we planned her birthday weekend. It did make for an amusingly perplexed look on her face however when I picked her up from her mum on Friday evening and immediately started driving north.

Being generally aware and clued in, she’d worked out in advance that something was going on but not what. As a result, the grin on her face when it became obvious where we were heading was a huge pleasure.

The birthday surprise was a weekend at Alton Towers, staying at the resort and getting early access to the theme park in the morning.

I’ve mentioned before how we’re getting our money’s worth from the Merlin cards, but even if we hadn’t, they came into their own this weekend when it came to food, drink and souvenirs.

There was even a cake, balloon, card and teddy bear waiting for her in our room to add to the small haul of presents from us and close relatives.

We managed to get on most of the rides with minimal waiting by paying attention to the queue length notices, and we had great weather all weekend too.

We really couldn’t ask for a better stay. We’ll certainly be heading back there soon. I think we may be getting rather addicted to rollercoasters…