Friday, 18 April 2014

Rocking. Rolling. Coasting?

amusement funland hayling islandHad a bad dream at about 0500 about aliens taking over the world. Jof said well you shouldn't show him films categorized 18, then, but I said no, it was the FRIV kids game I played last night on the computer. But then I sneezed so much she sent me back to my own bed and I didn't get up till 10ish.
By midday Bud demanded I come out for a bike ride. I was unsupportive but Jof insisted (even though she had to stay behind and do the hoovering) so we cycled to the Hayling Ferry with a short stopoff at Melville Road swingpark, a poor affair of limited facilities.
The ferry was there to greet us and having made the approx. 200 yard crossing, we cycled to "FUNLAND", the funfair on Hayling Island. It's always difficult to know how many tokens to buy but there was a special offer for latecomers, unlimited rides 2-5pm for £8 each. We said, we'll have some of that ticket action, my son, and proceeded to the beach to waste the 28 minutes before the offer kicked in.
funland kids ride hayling seafront
I slyly inveigled myself into a littoral castle-building session by introducing myself and asking to help unknown kids 'Finlay' and 'Max'. We defended their Norman-style motte and bailey castle against the waves for a bit until it was qualifying time for the special ticket offer.
The thing is, I don't like rollercoasters. At Funland, there are either kiddie rides, or rollercoasters. So having spent £16 on the all-you-can-ride bracelets, he was getting a bit twitchy when I said all I wanted to do was the helter-skelter, a manual curly slide of about 15 metres in height.
So I agreed to do the junior drop. It was quite funny. So were the spinning cup things.
Then we did the glacier mini-coaster. It was ok, it only went up once so I could cope. Nearby was some kind of circular caterpillar device which we had to ourselves. It twisted and raised up on one side so you got squashed in a corner. Not bad, if you're a 5 year-old that still wets itself.
From there we could not avoid the Junior Chinese lantern rollercoaster. I'd been eyeing it suspiciously and felt a little railroaded into doing it but then all of a sudden it was brill! It doesn't speed up on the downturn as expected, but there are 2 unexpected whizzy bits and you get to go round 3 times.
amusement funfair ride hayling seafontHaving survived the experience (that's £300 wasted on writing my will, then) I was ... more open to possibilities. We did the kiddie train ride and fought each other with nipple-tweaks and complicated hand movements and advanced war cries the whole way round, to the amusement of the onlookers. Well, it is an amusement park.
Then I rode a red plane but it's just not the same without a stiffened pilot's scarf.
Did I mention gross obesity? Well, it's really not a problem in my school, although they do go on about it plentifully. But here, we were surrounded by nebulous nitwits eating donuts and candyfloss and hot dogs and popcorn and chips from the many oleaginous and sugary outlets. I'm maybe less svelte than once I was, but seriously, it was pork bucket city over there. Even His Royal Ugliness and I looked good in comparison.
Then we tried the Cyclone. You get quite strapped in, and with a cunning combination of wheels and engineering, you go around and about, circles within circles, faster and faster, looking like you're going to crash into the wall or other cringing combatants. A steady stream of invective issued from his mouth, lucky I've watched all those advanced-level films or it'd have been meaningless.
hayling island funland funfairStaggering sideways, we queued for "Beaver Falls" which is a mini-coaster where you get wet. We got wet indeed, and I stood up just where the sign says don't stand up. We got ice creams to compensate (a couple of helter-skelters while he was in the queue) and I was too small to go on the big music-rotator. They have 'You must be this tall' signs everywhere and I only failed that one. I expect I would have failed the big drop but we never made it.
But then came my big test. The Klondike Goldmine is a much bigger rollercoaster, we'd seen it from the beach and it does a loop-the-loop and there are many sharp turns and big drops and screaming passengers.
During the queue, I kept contradicting myself as I sought to equalize my burning nearly-man ambition with my abject horror of dying, and the unknown. I'm looking forward to it ... I'm not going on it, that kind of stuff. He distracted me all the way to the front of the queue and all of a sudden I was strapped in and we were off!
boy on hayling ferry with cycle helmetI was right, and so was he. It was absolutely terrifying, and I didn't die. Not even a little bit. I came out energized and ready to do battle with the next big thing but in the end I only had time to do the helter-skelter a further 6 times before the ticket ran out and I paid £1 to ride the motorbikes and we cycled back to the ferry.
It was the smaller version and it came across for us specially (empty) and the tidal currents were so strong we had to go sideways. I was leggily benumbed and we cycled home very slowly indeed, energy levels low and battery reserves depleted. But while I told Jof how happy I was to have conquered my fears, he bought beer and found a £20 note outside the Co-op.
So a reasonably average day. Mildly acceptable, that's the way we do it, shyly retiring as ever.

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