Sunday, August 20, 2006

"It's eating my soul"

The title of this post is the text message I sent in response to the Other Half's enquiry as to how my day at Local Theme Park* with Small Person and my mother was going.

It was doomed to failure from the start, for any number of reasons. Small Person is pathologically afraid of theme parks. My mother is insane beyond any hope of redemption. I may or may not have a borderline personality disorder and very poor coping skills (this intensifies in my mother's company). Pleasureless Hills is unremittingly shit.

For those who are fortunate enough never to have been there, let me try and summarise the shitness of Pleasureless Hills. It's fucking rubbish. Its main clientele are overspill freaks from the nearby "holiday" towns of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft are where people who can't afford to go to Blackpool go on holiday. Lowestoft is in the third world, and Yarmouth is like a convention for people with misshapen heads. And they all go to fucking Pleasureless Hills for a fun day out. It's a fabulous, glittering jewel in the bleak landscape of darkest Suffolk. If you spent your formative years being beaten by feral nuns in an eastern European orphanage, that is. If you are anything resembling mentally stable, it's arse-clenchingly bad.

And what a day we had.

Small Person dissolved into hiccupy tears every time I suggested going on a ride that was any more hardcore than the Tweenies car outside our local Tesco. She wept hopeless, resigned tears at the very thought of the Pirate Ship, the Rattlesnake, the get the idea. She was scared of the fucking steps of the helter skelter. My patience had been stretched to the limit by our first activity, which was a boat ride through a shed with some shit pirate cutouts in it, accompanied by a soundtrack of my mother carping incessantly about not having been given any 3D glasses at the outset (well it said we would get some, and now there's a sign telling us to put them on, and we haven't got any, but it said we would get some, and now there's a sign telling us to put them SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP). I think it was supposed to be scary, but it probably have helped the atmosphere slightly if they'd remembered to switch the overhead fluorescents off. It was about as scary as our garage. It could only get worse.

And boy, did it.

I am deeply, irrationally afraid of cable cars. So, the minute the safety bar clicked into place on the chairlift ride across the park, I started hyperventilating and imagining our impending violent deaths. It inched the quarter mile from one circle of hell to the other, as my mind treated me to endless cutaway shots of that cable car crash in the highlands of Scotland a few weeks ago, and Small Person patted my leg comfortingly and told me not to worry. Never again, my friends. Never again.

By this time I had dropped any pretence of having a good time, and was just plain ignoring my mother who was wandering around like a mental patient, a bit sort of glassy eyed and without any apparent idea of where we were or why we were there in the first place. Driving. Me. Mad. I don't know why I agree to go anywhere with the woman, since after five minutes in her company I want to point, shout "look over there!!" and run the other way. I was at the stage of checking the time every five minutes and sort of wishing the chairlift had crashed.

We had a lovely lunch at the Merry Mariner restaurant (blank-faced, dead-eyed staff, plastic plates and cutlery, very loud rave music, my mother dancing at the jacket potato servery), and managed to get one more ride in before my personal god took pity on me and opened the heavens. Oh dear, I said. It doesn't look as if it's going to stop. Do you think we should call it a day?

Total cost for three hours misery? Forty one quid, and irreversible damage to my psyche. Save yourselves. Avoid Pleasureless Hills like the fucking plague. And never, ever go anywhere with my mother.

* The name has been changed to protect the innocent. Namely me, as I am convinced that my mother will google the real name, find this blog and write me out of her will. And I need the money. Please work with me on this.


I was in a very bad mood today owing to spending time with my mother, who has the ability to induce furniture-biting frustration in me in a very short space of time. Some of you might really like it at Pleasureless Hills. Maybe you like to holiday in Great Yarmouth. Maybe you even live there. I'm not judging you - I'm venting.

That is all.


Blogger realdoc chimed in with...

I think your mother is related to my mother.
I once was on the cable-car thingy at legoland and it stopped for no reason for about 20 minutes during which time there was a thunderstorm. Cue buzzing and crackling noises from cable car and squelchy type noises from my guts.

20 August, 2006 16:44  
Anonymous Thursday chimed in with...

There is nothing irrational about being afraid of cable cars - on anything vaguely similar, I slide to the floor in a sweaty, whimpering mass and hyperventilate until I can crawl out on to hard ground. I don't even like standing at the top of a flight of stairs.

20 August, 2006 19:01  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

So actually, why did you go? I think the place is great and Great Yarmouth is too (that's why they called it Great (possibly) altho I may be with you on Lowestoft). Really - why do you put yourself through these things? Maybe just for a good blogpost? cos from what you've said, there was absolutely no possibility of it being enjoyable!!

20 August, 2006 19:18  
Blogger suburban wonder chimed in with...

Well, look at it this way: you can go straight to heaven now, as you've put in your time in hell.

20 August, 2006 19:18  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

small person's birthday treat - the only consolation of the whole thing was that we didn't truck all the way to thorpe park for her to refuse to go on anything.

and i stand by yarmouth being scary.

20 August, 2006 19:31  
Blogger Arabella chimed in with...

The only thing to scare me more than the cable cars at Dudley Zoo as a child, were the pink flamingos.

20 August, 2006 21:46  
Blogger Homer chimed in with...

Thanks for bringing memories of my 18th birthday flooding back!

When my sister was Small Person's age, she tried to sit on Mum's lap halfway round the Rattlesnake.

20 August, 2006 21:50  
Blogger GreatSheElephant chimed in with...

oh dear. Poor small person. Poor you too. The only thing to be said for that sort of activity is candy floss and they probably don't serve that any more.

20 August, 2006 23:01  
Blogger Katy Newton chimed in with...

Small Person is pathologically afraid of theme parks. My mother is insane beyond any hope of redemption.

Well, I can certainly see why you chose it for your day out.

20 August, 2006 23:35  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

Agree totally with thursday. Cable cars are an invention of the devil. Taking precious small people in one multiplies terror by many orders of magnitude. The only thing that can make them worse (apart from thunderstorms) is when they have a glass bottom so there's nowhere to hide from the wonderful view in any direction.

21 August, 2006 02:06  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

you kmow what would have helped that? valium would have helped that. lots and lots and lots of valium.

i do not miss those days at all.
go take a nice hot bath.
and some valium.
the last word in valium IS 'yum', after all.

21 August, 2006 03:52  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

You're lucky you weren't local as a child. We used to have to go there annually in my teens with either school or youth club.

It goes you some indication of the wealth of attractions in our area that this outing was the highlight of the year. It's not even as if it has gone downhill over the years - it was always that shit.

21 August, 2006 07:20  
Blogger Annie Rhiannon chimed in with...

Hilarious. I would say "lol" but I don't say that.

21 August, 2006 12:13  
Blogger Homer chimed in with...

Kellycat - don't forget Easton Farm Park and the endless trips to Orford Castle! Or was that just my school?

21 August, 2006 12:27  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

Yes, Yarmouth is scary.

Yes, our mother is mental.

And...breathe...and relax.

21 August, 2006 14:40  
Blogger Geisha chimed in with...

Ha. I took my son to the *pleasure* beach at *great* yarmouth last year. I somehow convinced him onto a roller coaster where he proceeded to scream that he hated me all the way round.

21 August, 2006 15:10  
Blogger Stef the engineer chimed in with...

Laughed like a drain.(*)
Not sure whether it's wrong to get pleasure from someone's description of misery, but I'll try not to lose sleep over it.

(*) Do drains laugh? Why do we have this expression.

21 August, 2006 19:46  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

oh god, I missed you so much Sg. You make me laugh like no one else.

Now, seriously, why do you keep going places with your mother? If you keep doing that I'm going to have to come over there and slap you upside the head.

poor small person...I took the kids on the Ferris Wheel at the Montana fair we went to and the minute we got on, Grant started clutching the pole in the middle of the seat, crying, shaking, and saying he wanted off. Of course, we were already moving. The minute we got off? 'Mommy-can we go again?' argh.

21 August, 2006 20:49  
Blogger The Murphmeister chimed in with...

Do they still sing the "You biggest day out ever song?"
I think we should be told.

21 August, 2006 21:15  
Blogger zanna chimed in with...

I have just got back from a weeks holiday with my mother and the small people so I'm very sympathetic. While we were there I sent mum up a helter skelter after my weeping small person. so I could have a fag. I'm not a good person.

21 August, 2006 22:59  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

Slurker - Orford castle? You're school was obviously posher than mine. We just got Colchester castle.

22 August, 2006 07:43  
Blogger chendaberry chimed in with...

OH. MY. GOD. Pleasureless Hills still exists?? I had assumed they tore it (and the rest of East Anglia) down as soon as I scarpered 12 years ago. I have indelible memories of a friend making me go on the teacups ride about 17 times in a row. My brain decided to replicate that exact movement for days after - lying in bed feeling your whole body surge round and fly back at you is not a pleasurable experience. Still feel sick... Back then it cost 7 pound 50 to get in. Bit steep these days.

22 August, 2006 12:01  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

no more biggest day out ever song, no more woody bear. what is the world coming to?

22 August, 2006 15:39  
Blogger Homer chimed in with...

Kellycat (with apologies to Surly for carrying on a conversation in her comments box) - not posher, just further north.

22 August, 2006 17:48  
Blogger belladona chimed in with...

'Crying, shaking, saying he wanted to get off'? Yes, my exact reaction every time. Sadly when you're a grown-up you have to pretend you don't mind. Grrr.

22 August, 2006 21:46  

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