…A day trip to, of all places, Alton Towers.
We got there just as I was about to deposit my breakfast in the form of a green
queasy mess into the margarine tub we always keep in the car.
To get to the entrance of Alton Towers you are meant to ride on the monorail.
It had only just been built, or so they said, because it looked as though they hadn’t
got round to finishing it yet.
Once inside we went on the Skyride cable car, went Round the World in 80 Days,
watched some dancing fountains and had lunch in the gardens.
The Adventure Land was a bit of fun, but we got soaked by a giant fountain.
We also went in the gift shop, to some place called Fantasy World,
to Kiddies Kingdom, to Cine 2000 which was terrifying and made me want to be
sick again, and finally we went round a lake on an electric-powered swan.
Despite all this we got back home at 6.30pm…
God knows whose idea this was. I’d be surprised if it was mine.
For many years the margarine tubs were permanently in the car. There were two of them: one for me, one for my sister. Mine saw the most use. I’ve never been tolerant of long car journeys. Any other form of transport, including coaches, seems to be fine. Cars, however, can leave me queasy after just a couple of minutes on a country road.
Such was my parents’ reluctance to break journeys for me to have a good retch, I would sometimes sit for ages with the tub under my chin, ready to catch the first convulsion. Only when I was actually sick did they stop and let me out for some air, while they made sure the tub was emptied, cleaned and returned to the car ready for the next time.
And there usually was a next time.
This was my one and only visit to Alton Towers. The two things that I most enjoyed about the place were the free map, which I remember being very colourful and amusingly-illustrated, and the swan-boat, which was nice and peaceful.
Its lasting legacy on my life has been my reluctance to ever set foot inside an IMAX cinema.