A friend (the same one who caught her finger in the car door) has ventured forth on a family break to Legoland Windsor.
‘Oooh, we love Legoland,’ the dance mums cooed.
‘I cried in Miniland,’ I warned.
It turns out my friend has more in common with me than the other dance mums. I texted her last night to find out how it was going.
A bit stressy, you know. Hotel 3 miles from Legoland….1hr!!! Another hour queue to get into park. The boy has been in & out of the buggy waiting for the girl. Every ride 60/90/120min queue, worse than Disney. But the girl is enjoying it. Back again tomorrow.
I felt her pain. I’ve only been to Legoland once. The twins were 12 at the time, Boo just a couple of months old, so it was a while ago. I know Boo would enjoy it now, yet I haven’t been in any mind to rush back, despite the gushing from everyone else.
I think our major problem was to do with my Husband’s tendency towards tight-fistedness. (A lot of our family issues stem from this, so it shouldn’t really have come as a surprise.)
We live a good couple of hours away from Windsor. Sensible people would have booked a hotel for the previous night, like my friend, especially as Premier Inn were doing family rooms for £29 a night. That was £29 Husband was keeping firmly in his pocket. It meant we had to be up at the crack of dawn to pile in the car.
Stopping to feed Boo en route we pulled into a Tesco’s car park.
‘I’ll nip in and get some sandwiches for lunch,’ Husband offered. ‘The food’s always over-priced in theme parks.’
This was to be a huge mistake.
We made our way to the M25 without too much trouble. Getting off the motorway was more of a problem though. We sat. We queued. We waited. Boo cried. We could do nothing. We sat, we queued, we waited, we listened to her yowls. I’d hoped that by going in the chilly October half-term others would be put off and we’d be swapping the cold for an absence of others. I was wrong. From the traffic it was clear that half the country were intent on spending the day surrounded by plastic bricks.
More queuing and we weren’t even through the gates yet.
Now, Tom Cruise has many flaws – Scientology and public displays of sofa-bouncing might be deal-breakers for some. But he hires out entire theme parks for his family to visit. I could pretend to have alien ancestry if it meant I didn’t have to deal with other people in theme park queues. The worst part was that with Boo being so tiny I couldn’t actually ride on anything. So I just waited, in the cold, for the others to have fun.
I did become very familiar with one part of the park: the baby feeding and changing rooms. Because there’s nothing better than repeatedly sitting in a room where stinking nappies are changed to feed your baby. That thing they claim that you stop noticing a smell after 15 minutes? Not true when it comes to a bin of baby poo.
Still, at least it was warm. Those feeds were the only times of the day when I wasn’t chilled to the bone. Even if it did mean I missed out on the fireworks at the end of the day, that we’d purposefully hung around for long after we’d had enough if the cold and the queues.
‘Wow! Those fireworks were even better than Disney!’ Husband enthused as I emerged once more from the little hut, just as the crowds started to disperse.
Sometimes I wonder how he’s still living and breathing.
But it was lunchtime in Miniland that caused my meltdown. Husband and the twins emerged from yet another ride whilst I’d meandered around trying to stave off extreme boredom.
‘Let’s find a bench and have lunch,’ Husband suggested. A little bit of my soul cracked at the thought of sitting outside with a pre-packed sandwich, instead of inside, with the benefit of central heating and a hot drink.
Husband fished around in the Tesco’s bag. ‘Here, I got you this…’
A low-calorie chicken salad sandwich. A sandwich void of flavour.
And what did he mean by getting me a Weight-Watcher’s version? Was my post-baby body so hideous that I had to eat ghastly flavourless food?
So, I’m ashamed to say that hormonal, cold, bored and insulted, I cried. Not a delicate tear wiped quickly away before anyone noticed, but big ugly sobs, right by the mini London Eye. Yes, I got some odd looks. I was certainly the only grown woman I saw crying in Miniland that day (although I suspect I’ve not been the only one ever). But I didn’t care.
Looking back, I had the car keys. I wonder why I didn’t just take the hell off and go shopping in Windsor instead where there’d have been nicer cafés and fewer people.
I hope my friend is having a better time today. Although, I guess if she doesn’t at least I’ll have a fellow member of the Legoland Disappointment Support Group. Maybe I should text her and suggest she makes a bid for freedom to save her day from being a total bust.