Wednesday, 21 December 2016

A Spectrum of Possibilities

Today I had just settled down into my usual sofa-bound position when Grandad phoned and the phone wouldn't let me pick up and answer, so I told Bud off a lot for not putting it back on its charging cradle properly.
That was when I was sent to get dressed. The phone is old and unreliable, like anyone over 11 years of age. Then, in a surprise move, we drove 40 miles north-east to GUILDFORD. We have been to Guildford only once before, although we've been through it or past it a grillion times on the way to Old London Town.
guildford spectrum main entranceOn our first visit, we did the castle (small) and the museum (v small) and Ye House of Fraser Roof Terrace Tea Shoppe (v pricey). Guildford owes its entire existence to Portsmouth because it only grew up as a service station on the old horse track to Pompey from London, and we know this because we've been to the museum and everything.
That time, we missed the junction off the A3 and had to go the long way round and Jof laughed for usually it's her that goes wrong. So this time we exited the fast road where the sign said Ye Olde Guilde-Fforde and drove round the roundabout twice because it was inexplicably missing an exit onto the A25 and got stuck in the University which is a very long dead end full of pleasant trees and monuments and lakes and students.
We had booked tickets at the Spectrum Leisure Centre for 11am and were wasting time going round in circles. Circumnavigating the first roundabout once more for luck, (and trying out both the Tesco and the Cathedral driveway) we headed into town which was experiencing Xmas traffic, just as the equinox struck. I used googlemaps on the phone and magically we trundled into the right place, which was one junction further up the A3.
We collected our tickets only 5 minutes late. The Spectrum has it all. With giant rooms under huge girders, it has tennis courts, an ice rink, gym, crèche, a 4-level soft play like a Borg Cube, a swimming pool, a dedicated diving pool with 1, 3, and 5-metre boards and a huge waterpark with 3 flumes, wave pool, numerous squirters, slides and pools for smaller people: all for £12 for both of us, for an hour and a half, minus the 5 minutes we lost earlier.
I led the way because I don't need glasses and we did the waterslide with the rubber rings (he lost his ring once) and the 2 without, avoided the lengths-only pool because it was boring and got to the diving pool. You don't often get proper diving boards where you're actually allowed in so this was special.
ice rink guildford spectrumWe did a couple of warm-up normals off the surprisingly bouncy 1M board. Then he dived off the equally bouncy 3M and I did it feet first. Then he did feet first off the 5M which is concrete and I didn't. So mostly we did the tandem dives off the 5+3 where we tried to hit the water together and stop our gonads being forced up and out of our throats. Photos of the pool area are unavailable due to rules about zoom-lenses and kids in swimsuits.
Sometimes I hit the water with my arms out which I called a ban-arma dive and it hurt but we were much braver than the other kids who either belly-flopped embarrassingly or got to the edge and ran away. After more speed trials on the fast red tube and some more rubber ringing and a wave alert, our time was up although because it's really echo-ey the tannoy man says "This is a hoobooeoo announcement, woo the humbaloo himbly hombly boobaloo, thank you" and you have to ask the lifeguard if they're calling for the people with the red wristbands to get out and go home.
So because we are allergic to the local road system which is in constant inter-phasic temporal flux, we didn't fancy the risk of going into town for a pub lunch and just had the Wimpy in the complex, right next to the extreme kiddie area with the vomiting starfish and the micturating pelican, just under the fast red tube slide.
A portly server brought our food and we destroyed about 8 ketchup sachets. I can also tell you that 'Ketchup' is the same in the first 9 languages listed on the sachet. The road out took us straight to a motorway junction that wasn't there the first time and we sped home to guitar-laden accompaniment from Moore, Hendrix, Guns-and-Roses et al. I liked the manic laughter in Ebeneezer Goode and we stopped off to buy a new phone.
The Guildford Spectrum Leisure Centre is absolutely epic in many ways. Its only downsides are that it is 40 miles away, and you run the risk of there only being road junctions on the other side, which will all magically re-appear on your side once you've been diverted through Cambridge or Bognor Regis.
Film choice night was "Demolition Man" with lots of cross-reality amusement and Rambo looking old and Sandra Bullock looking hot.

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