Friday, 6 July 2012

More Center Parcs fun!

Another splendiferous thing about Center Parcs is all the activities available.  On the first day, Foofy and I simply kicked back and relaxed, but the fun began on the 2nd day.  The first thing we did was an Orienteering adventure where we were given a map, coordinates, and clues, and had to find tiny brass numbers stuck in very subtle places.  Of course, I can’t read maps, ( so to me, the map looked like this:

Query- why does my font change here? I didn't change it and I can't change it back! (in edit mode it looks exactly the same as the other text.) Any helpful suggestions as to why this could be would be MOST welcome.

My job was to actually find the brass number with the clue’s help once we were at the correct coordinates, but one time the clue was simply ‘tree’, which was rather unhelpful as we were currently in a forest.  I was trying to think outside the box, wondering whether the word ‘tree’ was an acronym or if the word ‘tree’ was written on a signpost somewhere close by, but it turned out to actually be on a tree.  Foofy and I completed the orienteering adventure in the quickest time and won a free “pedalo” boat ride which we redeemed immediately.  To be honest, we were only against one group and they had a baby in a pushchair, and Foofy and I were taking it a wee bit too seriously; panicking when we couldn't instantly find the numbers, occasionally splitting up to cover more ground and moving at a jog, or even, periodically, a sprint.  In any case, we won the prize- screw you, family with a baby (who probably would have enjoyed the boat ride more than us), we got to peddle around the big lake for 25 minutes and visit the local aquatic wildlife!

Later on the 2nd day (and, again on the 3rd day,) Foofy and I did target archery.  I, unfortunately, have a rather silly handicap when it comes to sports that involve holding and aiming things: while most people are right-handed, right-footed and right-eye dominant, I am right-handed, left-footed and left-eye dominant.  This means that, despite my right hand being much stronger than my left, the rest of my body thinks that my left hand is and generally tries to drag me in the other direction.  This makes me pretty much the opposite of someone who is ambidextrous as rather than being able to do things with both hands, my body gets confused with itself and I can’t really do a lot of things with either hand, archery included.  Whichever hand I try to hold the bow in, there is always a part of my body that wants me to do it the other way round.  It’s a miracle that this doesn’t happen:

Though on second thoughts this does seem pretty unlikely.  If I were to simply go with my right-handedness and screw the rest of my body, it would involve closing my left eye, and my right eye doesn’t like it when I close my left eye, as, despite it being exactly the same strength as my left eye, it refuses to handle the pressure of having to see on its own:

And that is why I play archery left-handed.

I think that would be a great closing line for a book.  Anyway, Foofy was good at archery (considering it was his very first time) but most of his arrows seemed to be afraid of the target.  My highest score (with three arrows) was 27 out of a possible 30.

On the 4th day, we went horse riding on two of the grumpiest horses known to man.  They were grumpy because it was raining and they kept sighing and snorting.  I managed to trot with no hands! So did Foofy, and this was very impressive because, again, it was his very first time.  It was obvious that he was quite scared to start off with but he kept saying that he wasn’t.  I’d have been terrified- his horse was massive! About 15 years ago I’d been to the same riding centre and the horse I was on decided that it’d had enough and reared up before galloping back to the stables.  Terrified, I held onto its neck, which, as several of my horsey friends told me in retrospect, was the worst possible thing I could have done, but I didn’t know this at the time.  I was okay, but I was a bit scared of horses after that, and I remembered that it had been a white horse.  Of course, after saying to Foofy “I hope I don’t get a white horse” my horse was led out and it was perfectly white.  Even though that nasty horse experience shook me a bit, it happened 15 years ago so I can take comfort in the fact that the horse responsible for it is probably dead now.

Also on the 4th day we were meant to do what was called an ‘Aerial Adventure’ but we had to move it to the 5th day because it was raining heavily.  The lovely man that re-booked it for us gave us a free climbing session to make up for the hour we wasted waiting for the rain to pass, and it was embarrassing because Foofy and I were doing it with two small children and they were better than us.  I reasoned that they had smaller hands which could more easily fit into the holds on the climbing wall (that were impossibly tiny for us) but otherwise we would have wiped the floor with those little bastards.  You see, I’m actually moderately good at climbing and have been to much more difficult walls than the ones in Center Parcs and I got right to the top.  Of course, I’d clamber gleefully to the very top, look down and suddenly have a hysterical attack about how high I am, embarrassing myself in front of everyone at Reading climbing centre, but that is neither here nor there.

The same two little children accompanied us on the Aerial adventure that we re-booked for the next day.  I was very nervous about going up so high but I pretended I wasn’t.  I did, however, bring two of my best friends (i.e. soft toys) Wee Wee Pups and Wee Wee Duckie (as opposed to Wee Pups and Wee Duckie who you will no doubt learn about later) with me, and when Foofy asked me if I was scared I said-

There was a pause before I continued.
“But I think Wee Wee Duckie might be a BIT scared.”

I then reasoned that Wee Wee Duckie was a bird, and could therefore fly away if she fell so there was little need for her to be scared, but I had to be brave for her anyway.

Because the little girl from the climbing wall was very, VERY scared, however, it forced me to maintain some semblance of calm, even though I kept laughing nervously all the way round.  The activity consisted of a lot of ropes and platforms that we had to navigate high up in the trees.  Sometimes I got completely stuck and had no idea where to put my feet.  The little boy from climbing was frustratingly completely calm and kept telling me what to do (he was actually quite helpful) and there was another little girl who seemed completely fearless despite being 20 feet in the air with only a tiny harness between her and certain death.

“It’s easier if you just jump” she said, leaping to a platform with the circumference of an orange without holding onto her ropes at all. 

The adventure ended with a zip-wire, which I thought I’d be terrified of and refuse to do, but once I got there I wasn’t scared at all and it was actually very fun.  It was made better by the fact that I managed to land on my feet and nobody else, including Foofy, managed that, and they got dragged backwards on their bottoms for a while.  The guy helping us (who also happened to be really FIT) said to me-

“Hey, great landing!”
Then he turned to Foofy and said-
“You? Not so much.”
Foofy hung his head sadly, like the utter failure he is.

I felt so sorry for the little girl who was crying as she went round, as I know that I’d have been too scared to do that as a child.  The important thing was that she managed to complete it and she’ll look back and be very proud of herself.  There was something slightly funny, however, about seeing her zip-lining slowly into view while pitifully crying, while her brother came in yelling- “Yabba-dabba-dooooo!”

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