We’ve just returned from Norfolk where we had our first Honey holiday. Taking a dog with you means that some things will be very different but a lot remains the same. As we normally do, we came back with happy memories, beer stained clothes caused by clumsy hands and spilt drinks, 23 random stones and shells the girls want to keep forever and 2kg (and counting) of sand that somehow got everywhere including inside pockets of bags that didn’t go within a mile of a beach.
With me not being around at weekends, holidays always feel more precious than they used to B.B.H. (Before Banana Head). We went to a holiday park which meant one thing that would test me to my very core; arcades. I’ve always had a problem with arcades, particularly fruit machines. Actually the 2p machine is just as bad (where you knock them down to win more and repeat until you lose the will to live, lose all your money and have black fingers). When I was 11 we went to Butlins for a week and I was given a choice: 50p pocket money a day or £3 right then. £3 seemed a fortune to me so I grabbed it with both hands and raced to the arcade to play the 2p machine. An hour later it was all gone and I had to stand by and watch sadly as my sensible brother spent his 50p each day whilst I had nothing. Damn my mum and her strong, consistent boundaries.
Sadly, as both girls are as easily lured to them as I am it was the first thing we did after unpacking. Arcades have evolved massively and it’s now all about the tickets. You win them playing the games and then exchange them for prizes. If you play at Hollywood Bowl you need 500 tickets to win a Moam sweet or a pencil. Here 400 tickets bought you a Beanie Boo so much better and way more exciting. Katie spied a cuddly unicorn for 1,000 tickets and declared she was winning it. Not one to dampen her enthusiasm or explain the chances of winning 1,000 tickets were very slim I simply said, “Good luck darling, I believe in you.”
Literally 20 seconds and 10p later she screamed out, I’ve won 1,000 tickets and came running over with a look of unadulterated joy on her face that I’ve only seen once before when Rachel managed to get tickets for Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac in concert. The odds of her landing the 10p in the tiny space to win the jackpot must have been at least 10,768 to 1. That’s the power of pure positive thought and belief for you. As the tickets came streaming out she declared that she was going to win the jackpot twice more and win the really massive unicorn instead for 3,000. What could I say? There was no way I could talk her out of it so over the next few days she spent her pocket money and I spent most of my life savings trying to win the jackpot again……….not even close.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse the girls spotted a 10p version of the 2p machine with a £10 note hanging on by a thread. Even the 2p machines have evolved since the good old days. Convinced they were going to win I started playing and £6 later and with the note not having moved at all we were convinced it was glued on. The extremely helpful attendant showed us it was actually loose and we continued. After spending £12 (of my money of course) I asked the attendant if there was a rule that you win the £10 note if you spend £12 without success. Sadly not apparently but when he found out the girls hadn’t won anything he gave me two fidget spinners, how nice was that. The girls were made up and we all went home happy.
We only went to the live entertainment once to see a magician who was sadly pants. Within 7 seconds of sitting down Jade managed to knock Rachel’s drink all over Katie’s white dress completely drenching her. Amazingly this was the only drink based incident on the whole trip which is frankly a miracle going on past form.
Jade wasn’t able to swim for a few days so at the beach it was left to me and Katie to do some proud but questionable body surfing. We got chatting to an 11 year old boy and off we swan to catch some waves. Out of no-where we found ourselves being dragged out towards rocks by a strong current. The boy was in front of us and in real trouble being unable to swim away from it. I caught him by one hand, took Katie with the other and one by one dragged / threw them away from the rocks until they were able to swim back to shore. My feet were pretty shredded by the rocks but we were safe. You read stories all the time about strong swimming adults being dragged out to sea and drowning and I can see how easily it can happen. Rachel had seen what was going on and just thought we were playing games what with all the throwing around!
Honey discovered the beach and had a great time time digging for England but then became traumatised by the sea when I carried her in so she could swim back. One lacerated body later, (mine, not Honey’s due to her Freddy Kruger like claws) I realised my well meaning mistake. Hopefully with doggy counselling she’ll be able to forgive me and move on mentally unharmed. We ate pizza and ice cream, watched Titanic and Billy Elliot (we’d forgotten it’s the 5th sweariest film of the year), played Family Fortunes and met about 50 dogs, most of whom Honey loved playing with. Not the one that tried to eat her though, that particular horse sized dog won’t be getting a Christmas card from Honey.
Following on from my last post and trying to make the most of each precious day, we had a ball, made some good memories, had special time together as a family of five and even managed to find time for jump posing. The only negative was that I’ve come back even more addicted to arcades than ever.