Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest, October 20th 2004 0

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest, October 20th 2004

Dear Mr Jones

What can I say. Here we are on holiday again, a cosy family unit ensconsed in villa number 31 at Center Parcs, and dehors le deluge as they would have said in Brittany. Perhaps our family motto should be “Avec Nous Le Deluge”.

As we were walking to the Sub-Tropical Swim Paradise yesterday Dad actually remarked that if we had been in Brittany we wouldn’t have been doing anything so namby pamby as going to an indoor swimming pool. We would have been stripping off at a beach with true British fortitude, or perhaps stupidity as the French might have put it.

Although a villa at Center Parcs is a step up from a mobile home in Brittany it still shares some of the characteristics. Namely the noise of the rain on the flat roof at night wakes you up and from Dad’s perspective the noise levels from us cooped up kids also becomes intolerably high. Even if there is no noise from the kids this is compensated for by the noise from the TV, that being the one way to keep the kids quiet. Except of course when they can’t agree on what to watch or one of them has possession of the remote control and annoys the others by flicking around the channels without prior agreement.

Old John is still in the unfortunate position of having to wear a sling on his right arm after the broken collarbone incident of two weekends ago. He stayed out of the pool on the first day. Either Mum or Dad stayed with him and Dad to a certain extent made a rod for his own back because on that first day he took John to the pool café for a drink. The next day John didn’t want Mum to look after him on the obvious premise that he was more likely to get another trip to the café with Dad. In the end Dad ended up taking him into the pool with his sling on much to Mum’s quite natural concern. The upshot of it all was that the sling was soaked and in fact inadvertently left behind at the pool when we departed.

That was yesterday. Yesterday was actually a fairly action packed day starting with badminton in the morning, ten pin bowling after lunch and, following a stint in the pool, I went to “Football Camp” where, in the rain, the only difference between football and the swimming was that I got dirtier playing football. Wetness was a prominent feature of both activities.

Dad and I went out last night to watch Liverpool play Deportivo in the Champions League. It ended a very disappointing nil nil draw. Dad always says he can’t understand the attraction of football. There are never very many goals involved. Unlike cricket or rugby (typically) or even golf for that matter.

On our way home we stopped off at Chez Pierre, the Parc’s French bistro, for a nightcap. To Dad’s disbelief they only had one brandy, and that was a cheap one at that. He couldn’t imagine a French bistro with half an ounce, or even a gram, of credibility not having a reasonable selection of brandies. He also reflected upon a number of associated thoughts: namely that the French bistro was staffed entirely by locals from nearby Ollerton (our waitress’ name was Sharon, or Shaz as the receipt indicated) and that there we no persons of Asian origin in sight at the Rajinder Pradesh curry house across the Market Square from Chez Pierre. Equally I doubt that the Mediterranean restaurant (pizza), the American food joint or the top French fine dining restaurant were staffed by the relevant nationals. None of this of course takes anything away from the excellent leisure product that the owners of Center Parcs have put together for our enjoyment. You just can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Dad and I had a hot chocolate sat outside under the stars (clouds and drizzle actually) being kept warm by the patio heaters positioned near to every table. We enjoyed ourselves.

When we got home Mum was still up watching the television but after a short while we called it a fairly action packed day.


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