E-Blog The Letter

(That’s an R.E.M. reference, in case you didn’t know. Random, but it fits this week’s entry)

For those of you who don’t follow my Facebook page, we were on holiday last week, but I kept in touch by uploading a daily ‘postcard’. This entry is a compilation of those postcards, because:

  1. It’s a nice summary, both for me to look back on, and for you to (hopefully) enjoy – particularly if you haven’t already read them;
  2. For those with a job like mine, where nothing gets done in your absence, I have returned to a shitstorm of e-mails and post, and don’t have time to come up with anything more original….


  1. This morning, we drove to Stratford-upon-Avon, to visit a playground we discovered last year. Ollie jumped straight in to the lido, wearing a swimming costume far too small – it left little to the imagination – while Isaac sulked by the side, claiming he ‘doesn’t like water’ – presumably because he is part-Gremlin.
  2. He eventually dipped one foot in, before crying because it got wet.
  3. My threshold for other people’s brats, who soak everyone in sight (while squealing like fucking banshees), is two minutes. After that, I have visions of taking off a shoe and throwing it at their face, because the crying would be a welcome change.
  4. Isaac waited until we had to leave, before deciding he loves paddling, and refused to get out.
  5. We must stop taking our children to nice places for lunch. It would be easier, and cheaper, to take them to McDonald’s, and let them beat the shit out of each other there.
  6. Back at our campsite, I joined the boys for a swim in the outdoor pool. Ollie got straight in, whereas Isaac forgot his earlier experience, and was back to hating water.
  7. My recollection of how freezing the pool was last year (it took three months to relocate my testicles) was unwarranted, as the water was lovely and warm – probably thanks to the dozens of children pissing in it.
  8. Having eventually dipped his feet in, Isaac’s bravery returned, and he began jumping for me to catch him. This quickly became tedious, but was apparently the most fun he has had in months.
  9. Why is there always one little shit, who ignores the signs and cannonballs repeatedly?
  10. Why does that kid always belong to the monstrosity sat miles away on their phone? And why, no matter how hard I wish, does that kid never hurt himself?



  1. The market we went to as kids has gone downhill – unless you want giant old lady underwear, 1970’s crockery, or knock-off DVDs.
  2. The amount of time an adult can spend in a ‘model village’, before becoming bored, is around seven minutes. Children last longer, because ‘everything is TINY’.
  3. Our Children + Heat = Post-apocalyptic savages.
  4. If you cheat on ‘My Fitness Pal’, you can get a cream tea for 284 calories.
  5. All parking machines in The Cotswolds were designed by fucking morons. In Bourton-on-the-Water, one insisted I pay depending on my vehicle, but only offered four options: Coach, Minibus, Motor Home, Honda Civic*. It then asked me to select the duration in 1.5-hour increments, before demanding payment via card (despite having a coin slot).

*I can’t remember the final option, but it wasn’t ‘car’, and with the average resident being 92, it was either ‘Honda Civic’, ‘mobility scooter’, or ‘coffin’.

  1. The boys wanted to go in the pool again. Isaac got on my back and insisted on shouting ‘gallop, horsey, gallop through the deep blue sea’.
  2. My ‘galloping horsey’ apparently looks more like ‘mincing velociraptor’.
  3. A kid jumped in near Ollie, who cried like he had been mortally wounded, claiming he had water in the back of his eye.
  4. We took the boys to a nice pub for dinner, despite their behaviour earlier. On the walk, Isaac wanted to play ‘I-spy’, and started with “something beginning with TR”. The answer, we discovered, was ‘leaves’ (because they are on TRees).
  5. Ollie decided the children’s menu was beneath him, and ordered a 10oz steak. I would have objected, had I not been so damn impressed. He cleared it, the fucking legend.


  1. Today, we visited ‘Birdland’, which was – rather disappointingly – not a strip club.
  2. On the drive, we challenged the boys to spot animals. Within seconds (and with no animals in sight – not even a bird in the sky, or distant cow), Isaac claimed victory. I called bullshit, and insisted he point out this mystery animal. Turns out, he thinks trees are animals (and will scream at anyone who suggests otherwise).
  3. At Birdland, Ollie insisted we head straight to his favourite animals: penguins. In fairness, they were the highlight (flamingoes are fine, but nowhere near as much fun), and Isaac grabbed his pencil and started to draw. Suitably impressed, I braved speaking to him (he doesn’t like it when I address him directly) and complimented his lovely penguin. He then screamed that the drawing was, in actual fact, a robot.
  4. Isaac continued drawing over lunch, sketching ‘kisses’ (hearts) for mummy, flowers for Daddy, and footballs for Ollie. When asked what he was going to draw for himself, he answered: “Jaffa cakes”.
  5. We then visited the ‘Dragonfly Maze’, where you have to not only find the centre (standard maze rules), but also solve clues along the way. Issac insisted on leading, but proved about as useful as a blind, hyperactive puppy.
  6. Next, we drove to Stow-on-the-Wold, and having walked around the shops for an hour, we decided Daddy should have a beer (because Daddy was looking pissed off). Having found a pub, which was promptly ruined for everyone by the arrival of our children, I smacked my head on a low beam for the second time today.
  7. Isaac thought spending the day being horrible warranted a treat, and asked us to buy him a Peppa Pig toy. I wanted to laugh and tell him to fuck off, but opted for the more diplomatic “Isaac, you have been incredibly naughty, and you are getting nothing.”

“My been good!”

“You haven’t.”

“My have!”


“Next week.”

  1. I took the boys to the pool again, and thought it would be funny to reference Stephen King’s ‘IT’, by teasing Isaac into the water with ‘Come on, Isaac, you’ll float. We all float down here.’ Everyone heard me. No one got the reference. Twats.
  2. The boys demanded I carry them like a donkey, then Ollie wanted to stand on my back and ‘jet ski’. His foot not only pulled my shorts down (exposing me), but he buried a toe in my arse-crack. I squealed like a pig.
  3. Isaac finally dropped off the colossal shit he has been threatening for two days, but waited until dinner to go fully dilated. After eating, he needed another, and it was Daddy’s turn to dash him back to the caravan. Whilst cleaning, post-splashdown, Daddy got actual shit on his finger.


  1. Today’s ‘trip for our kids to ruin’, was, erm, a ruin. Kenilworth Castle, to be precise. It wouldn’t be a family holiday if we didn’t go to a castle (fortunately, now we have kids, my wife usually rations herself to just one per holiday).
  2. When faced with an Elizabethan dressing-up box, you can count on me to head straight for the lady garments. I’m starting to think, if there was such a thing as Elizabethan Drag, it’d be right up my street.
  3. We visited ‘the Queen’s privy garden’ (the Queen being Elizabeth I) and, because he had read the word ‘privvy’ elsewhere, Ollie asked “is this where the Queen went for a wee?”. Yes, Ollie, Liz One was a huge fan of pissing in the bushes.
  4. At lunch, Isaac demanded a ‘kipper’, and got very upset when he couldn’t have one. It was only later, when he started grabbing Ollie’s ‘Calippo’, that we clicked.
  5. I got stung for an ‘English Heritage’ membership, which means I might as well grab the diary when we get home, and pencil in ‘another fucking castle’ every Sunday for the next year.
  6. I was then back in the pool for the fourth day running, pretending to be a jet ski, and causing irreparable damage to my spine. As we were getting out, Isaac begged me to play one more game. Say what you like about him (I often do), but Isaac never fails to surprise. What was his game? “Let’s pretend we’re Vikings and go on a hunt for feet!” That’s one fucked-up kid.
  7. I went for a run – my second of the week – to earn extra calories on the ‘My Fitness Pal’ app. Sadly, it was that hot, I only managed three miles, and then immediately consumed my ‘bonus’ calories, by downing three Coronas.
  8. I cooked pasta for dinner, and burnt myself on the oven. The boys learned a new swear word. They insisted on ham and cheese wraps as ‘starters’, which meant they didn’t each the pasta I lost two fucking fingerprints making.
  9. Over dinner, Ollie found something so funny, he farted. Isaac decided to join in (turns out, Isaac can fart at will, which may be his only talent), and in stereo it sounded like ‘The Frog Chorus’.
  10. I then wanted more beer, so we went to the clubhouse for the boys to burn off energy in the soft-play. Isaac performed ‘jimastix’ (gymnastics), which involved him doing rolls, before they recreated ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ – with Ollie being the judges, and Isaac the contestant. Isaac’s act – ‘Pranks’ – was a combination of football and jimastix. He claimed to be 64.


  1. During the night, we were woken by something on the roof. My wife thought it was a rat, but I decided it was a pigeon (aka ‘rat with wings’). Over breakfast, she asked me to climb up and find out, but I didn’t fancy getting my face bitten off should she be correct.
  2. The kids were more inventive with their guesses. Ollie decided it was ‘rain…. or Isaac’, whereas Isaac opted for ‘Spongebob’ (but also didn’t rule himself out).
  3. Having watched ‘The Cat In The Hat’ for the third time this week, Isaac now wants to be called ‘Chocolate Thunda’.
  4. We drove to Gloucester, and my wife headed to a shopping centre for some ‘me time’. This lasted around thirty seconds, because Isaac wouldn’t leave her alone, and was back to being vile (after a brief attempt at behaving).
  5. In M&S, we found a mirror for the boys to recreate ‘Snow White’ (Isaac’s request). Isaac stood behind the mirror, while Ollie asked “mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” Isaac’s reply? “Well, it used to be Snow White. But then I killed her.” Standard Isaac.
  6. Went to Nandos for lunch (Ollie’s choice) and Isaac only wanted chips with “ALL the ketchup”, until he saw Ollie’s chicken strips and demanded the same. We stood our ground, so Isaac retaliated by pouring half a bottle of ketchup onto his chips, before claiming he no longer likes ketchup (which is bullshit, because he likes ketchup more than oxygen).
  7. Isaac then began drawing more hearts for Mummy, but only used the black crayon – to represent his cold, dead heart.
  8. After lunch, I visited the toilet, but stupidly followed my wife’s directions and ended up in the kitchen, much to everyone’s surprise.
  9. After a final trip to the pool (which Isaac changed his mind about so many times, we had ten minutes before it closed), we went back to the clubhouse for dinner one last time. Bizarrely, of the families to our left, one had a son called Ollie, and the other an Isaac. I suggested we swap our kids with theirs, but my wife wasn’t keen.
  10. We were then subjected to the lamest of entertainment, bingo. Not only was the microphone too loud, and the caller too fast, he didn’t know any of the phrases. Even I know 88 is ‘two fat ladies’, and not ‘one eight, then another eight’.

Thanks for reading x


Blog Cabin – Part II

Previously, on Confessions of a Middle-Raged Dad….

… erm, this:



Tuesday 8th August 2017

Dear Diary,

We had a relatively quiet day today, following the excitement of Warwick Castle, and stayed in the local area.

After a lazy morning, during which the boys were uncharacteristically pleasant to one another whilst sat watching a film, we decided to get some fresh air, and drove to a playground we had spotted yesterday in Bidford.

After some fun on the swings with Isaac, and a failed game of ‘Hide and Seek’ – look, it’s difficult to hide a curvaceous 6’3” body behind playground equipment – the boys and I then played ‘shop’ on one of the climbing frames. If there was ever any doubt as to which is the more ruthless businessman, Isaac managed to fleece me out of £40 for an imaginary ice cream, after Ollie had served a full meal (including pint) for under a fiver.

However, like all make-believe food, it left me feeling rather hungry, so we came back for dinner, and I’ve just finished washing up – while trying not to look at one-ninth of Broken Britain out of the window, who appears to be sat there, having a fag and scratching her balls.


Wednesday 9th August 2017

Dear Diary,

This morning, Isaac took it upon himself to get his own breakfast, which – as you might imagine – consisted of some fresh fruit and a granola bar (otherwise known as a bowl of coco pops, four cookies and several jaffa cakes).

Like all summer holidays in Britain, we had the fire on during breakfast because it was so fucking cold – and then the rain started. Nevertheless, we had already made plans and were not going to be discouraged, so we loaded the car with all the wet weather clothing we could find, and set off for Hatton Country World (which is far less ‘flower show’, and far more ‘adventure playground’, than the name suggests).

We saw some unusual creatures (well, this is the Midlands), and the boys got to hold a big snake – which, because they take after their father, thankfully didn’t phase them. Then, after some lunch, they burned all remaining energy in the soft play area, which contained a slide even I didn’t dare attempt.

Despite being exhausted, both kids remained in good spirits, so tonight we risked dining at a nearby pub I had spotted. It was only half a mile away, had a great menu, and dates back to the 13th Century (my general rule for pubs is ‘the older, the better’).

I would say it was nice to get away from ‘meat-head and the two veg’ next door, but it turned out they were in the adjacent room (which I only realised, when full-kit-wanker walked in to interrupt the waitress – who was taking our order – to ask where he could ‘get beer’, seemingly oblivious to the bar not five feet away).


Thursday 10th August 2017

Dear Diary,

This morning, as I washed up our breakfast dishes (Isaac was coaxed into normal cereal today, to avoid the onset of diabetes), I glanced across – out of nothing more than morbid curiosity – to see that next door are now fully embracing their trailer-trash image.

Not only have they sourced a flower pot from somewhere, which they have turned upside down to stub out cigarettes on, but this is surrounded by several cans of cheap lager, and there is a stained duvet hanging over the steps. I bet it wasn’t one of the seven kids who pissed the bed. To make matters worse, they either brought the flower pot with them, or nicked it from another caravan (I’m not sure which is worse).  They have now achieved the perfect landscape garden for the modern chav.

We popped to Evesham today, which started out nicely with a spot of lunch, before deteriorating into another example of people spoiling a beautiful part of the country. Not only did I walk past a topless man spitting in the street (which, unless tuberculosis is still rife in Worcestershire, was entirely unnecessary), I then witnessed the very best and worst of society in one incident.

There was a mob of unwashed skanks (for there is no alternative description, I’m afraid) sat on a bench eating pasties, with an army of children between them. The one I assumed to be Lead Skank, was the sort of mother who has five kids from twelve different fathers.

Suddenly, a smiling lady (who stood out from the crowd, because she seemed happy and pleasant), spotted the youngest of Lead Skank’s brood, bent slightly as she passed, and tickled the baby’s foot while making cooing noises.

Now, unless a stranger tickles your infant with some form of sharp weapon, or their genitals, I would suggest barking ‘Fuck off!’ is somewhat extreme. I was tempted to go over and tickle Lead Skank’s foot, just to see what her reaction would be, but didn’t fancy contracting rabies (even assuming she wasn’t armed).

Since today was easily the best weather so far, we decided to brave the outdoor swimming pool when we got back to the campsite. The brochure claims the pool is heated, which is certainly not how I remember it from my youth, but I decided that this was perhaps the one improvement the owners had made, in the intervening twenty-five years since I was last here.

All I can say is, if they have installed heating, it was either switched off or broken, because in the same way the football pitch had taken me back to the early ’90s a few days ago, the same thing happened the instant my scrotum made contact with the water.  In fact, it wasn’t just my memories, but also the size of my testicles, which were transported back two-and-a-half decades. Think Cadbury’s Mini Eggs, and you’re close.

Through chattering teeth, I tried to persuade Ollie that the water was lovely, and ‘isn’t as bad once you get in’ (because you lose the feeling from your waist down), but I think even he could tell I was lying. Sure enough, while he eventually got in, he managed about three widths before crying to get out.

Isaac, on the other hand, was initially apprehensive, but quickly became fearless, and insisted on jumping in from the side. Something which seemed like a great idea (and photo opportunity) at the time, until his third jump ended with a knee to my throat – meaning that I then had a larger lump in my oesophagus, than I did in my shorts.


Friday 11th August 2017

Dear Diary,

For our last day, we decided to visit Stratford-upon-Avon – and what’s the first thing you associate with Stratford? That’s right – the beach! Based on a recommendation, we parked our car at a Recreation Ground on the outskirts, and, sure enough, they have built a beach. Presumably, this is so the locals don’t feel they have to travel seventy-odd miles to their nearest coastline, to experience the ‘joy’ of getting sand in every crevice.

In truth, one of the main reasons I pushed for a holiday in the Cotswolds, was not for the nostalgia of re-visiting my childhood, but because the one thing you are sure to avoid in the middle of the country, is fucking beaches.

Nevertheless, I managed to enjoy watching the boys play in the sand (from a safe distance of fifty feet, with a cup of tea and a flapjack), and we then headed into Stratford itself – via a ‘foot ferry’ over the Avon – for a spot of lunch.

We also visited Shakespeare’s birthplace (because it’s obligatory), and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe, one day, people will flock from all over the world to congregate at the site of my birth (although Stepping Hill Hospital, whilst perfectly adequate, is not quite as picturesque).

This evening, we decided to treat ourselves to a Chinese takeaway – but even this became a drama, when Ollie demanded sweetcorn with his dish, and the ‘Jasmine Palace’ didn’t have any.

I tried to reason with him (starting with the suggestion that he could perhaps cope without sweetcorn, and, when that didn’t work, progressing to the argument that sweetcorn is fucking pointless anyway), but he was adamant, so I phoned the nearby shop to see if they were still open.

The good news was, they were still open. The bad news was, in one minute they wouldn’t be (it was now 7.59pm). I quickly tried to calculate the speed I would need to drive at to reach them on the other side of the village, and, having arrived at the conclusion it was *fucking fast*, I persuaded the shop owner to stay open for just two minutes more.

I threw Ollie in the car (literally – this was his fault), and screamed there at *no more than the speed limit*, to be presented by the legs of a shop assistant showing under the shutters, and a hand offering a tin of sweetcorn. I laced her palm with gold, and placed a gentle kiss of thanks on each of her knees.

The worst part was, the whole bizarre exchange was witnessed by the queue at the chip shop next door, including – to my horror – full kit wanker. Perfect.

We raced back to the takeaway, to be greeted by one of the other customers smirking at me. I’m not sure why he found my stress and misery so amusing, but the Gods of Karma must have been watching, because shortly afterwards he collected his order and, while descending the steps to his car, promptly dropped everything. Everything. As the rest of the customers looked on in sympathy, while he forlornly scraped his dinner from the pavement, I waited for him to glance up, and then replicated his smirk. Twat.

When we finally got back, Ollie decided he didn’t really like sweetcorn after all. Bigger twat.


Saturday 12th August 2017

Dear Diary,

The car is loaded, and it’s time to go home.

Part of me is sad to leave – as is always the case at the end of a holiday – but I have just looked over, and Jabba The Hutt is currently slithering around packing her own car, with a fag in her mouth, a crate of Strongbow under one arm, and at least three kids under the other (to be honest, there may be more stowed away among the folds of skin).

Perhaps going home isn’t such a bad idea after all.


Thanks for reading x


Blog Cabin – Part I

Saturday 5th August 2017

Dear Diary,

The first day of our holiday has been a relative success – for us.

The original plan was to detour via Cadbury World on the way, but that turned out to be fully booked, so we decided to spend a few hours at Kenilworth Castle instead.

Sadly, that plan also went to shit, when we neared Birmingham and realised we had booked our holiday during the Midlands’ monsoon season. The wife loves a castle, possibly more than she loves me, but even she couldn’t muster enough enthusiasm to schlep around some ruins whilst soaking wet.

In the end, we opted to spend a couple of hours in Leamington Spa (summary: quite pretty, stupid car parks), ate some traditional Warwickshire fayre (pizza) and then headed on to our campsite.

I think the wife’s expectations of the campsite were pretty low – in her defence, camping is almost universally shit – but ‘The Ranch’, which is where I spent many holidays as a child, has a bit more to it: a shop, a gym and an outdoor swimming pool; not to mention a football pitch (for Ollie and I), a playground (for Isaac and I) and its own pub (for I).

It’s safe to say the place hasn’t really changed, in the twenty-five years or so since I was last here. The football pitch remains inexplicably uneven, the pool looks like it will still shrivel my scrotum (from an ‘outy’ to an ‘inny’) within seconds of contact with the water, and the shop hasn’t increased its minimal stock in the slightest. Still, it’s a base for the week, and a rather fine – not to mention nostalgic – one at that.

Once we had unloaded the car, I took Ollie over to the bumpy football pitch of my youth, and was immediately transported back to the early-90’s, when my brother and I were approached by some mouth-breathing reprobate in a Wolves shirt, asking if we wanted a ‘mash’.

Once we realised he actually wanted a ‘match’, and wasn’t offering us pulped potato, we got chatting. ‘Bully’ – a nickname which could only have been derived from either his own surname, or that of Wolves’ legend Steve Bull, because this skinny little rat-faced turd was anything but intimidating – appeared to have permanently stained his upper lip with over-excessive Ribena consumption. It was like he had a purple moustache.

If recollection serves me, Bully challenged us to a ‘mash’ every day of that holiday, and he remains a fond – if rather obscure – memory, along with the other nut-job we met on the campsite that summer, who had an imaginary dinosaur on a bit of string. He had evidently watched a lot of Jurassic Park, and insisted on showing us his pet ‘spitter’ (pronounced ‘spittoh’, because he was broad Manc), on a regular basis – a habit I do hope he didn’t continue into adulthood. I’m not sure a grown man, hanging around a campsite offering to show kids his ‘spitter’, would be very welcome.

This evening we went to the clubhouse, because there was entertainment on (a bloke from ‘The Voice’, apparently), and as I stood at the bar to get some drinks, the barmaid tried to serve me before an elderly chap on the other side. Since he was clearly there first, and because I didn’t want to upset the locals, I told the barmaid, and she served him instead. He noticed this, and acknowledged my kindness with a thumbs-up, which I reciprocated. All very civilised.

Except he then repeated the thumbs up, twice (with increasing levels of enthusiasm each time), before also insisting the barmaid pass on a message – which took him at least a minute to convey over the music. She then approached me, and – almost matching my levels of embarrassment – shouted: ‘he says thanks’. Yes, I’d got that, chief.

However, the old man was evidently concerned that the three thumbs-up gestures, and barmaid-delivered message, had perhaps not reached me, so he then decided to come across and thank me in person. I told him it was fine, and hoped that was the end of the matter, as other tables were now staring (like I had saved him from choking on a bar snack or something).

Alas, that was not the end of the matter, as he then went to the bathroom and, on returning to his table, detoured via ours. Shaking my hand firmly – with the sort of damp clamminess that could only have been caused by either not drying his properly, or, worse, old man piss – I had to fight to get free, abundantly aware that the wife was losing her shit laughing behind me.

Sunday 6th August   

Dear Diary,

Today we went to the nearby ‘All Things Wild’, which is part animal park, part playground. Whilst it was pretty expensive to get in, we managed to fill an entire day, and keep both boys entertained until it was time to come back for dinner.

Sadly, the overly-friendly man from the bar last night appears to be the only pleasant local, since everyone else we encountered today would surely be filed under ‘total arsehole’ – if only that wasn’t being unfair to total arseholes.

Take the woman at the helicopter ride (essentially just a retired helicopter, which kids could sit in for a bit), who didn’t want to abide by the rules of queuing, that I had displayed so admirably last night. When her attempts at pushing-in were blocked by the parents around her, she chose to display her frustration by grabbing her daughter, then shouting ‘I’m not fucking waiting for you to go on some shitty fucking helicopter’ while dragging her away. Stay classy, toots.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only one. It was like we had accidentally stumbled into an arsehole convention, and whilst Helicopter Hag may have been the keynote speaker, everyone there displayed a universal arsehole-ness, almost entirely without exception.

Then, when we got back to our lovely caravan, away from all the arseholes, we discovered that we will unfortunately be spending the week next to an entire clan of them. We realised this, when the man of the group started kicking his football against the side of our caravan. I’d like to think it was accidental, but no one can be so crap at football, that they hit a forty-foot static caravan from a few feet away. Repeatedly. For an hour.

To make matters worse, not only was he a ‘full-kit wanker’ (the technical term for someone who wears football shirt, shorts and socks for no apparent reason), but it was all generic football wear, from somewhere cheap like Sports Direct, and this made him look an even bigger prick.

Upon further investigation, the family next door (and I use the term ‘family’ loosely, because it appears to be full-kit wanker, two morbidly obese skanks in dangerously ill-fitting clothes, and at least seven children – in a six-berth caravan) appear to be the sort of rabble who would be rejected from the Jeremy Kyle show for being TOO obnoxious. They have spent the evening blasting out (c)rap music, drinking, smoking and swearing. I nearly retaliated with some excessively loud Roxette, but the wife intervened at the last minute

Surely they would be happier holidaying somewhere like Magaluf, or Faliraki, or Warrington?

Monday 7th August    

Dear Diary,

It wouldn’t be a family holiday, if we didn’t visit at least one castle this week (the downside of being married to a history teacher, I guess), and as far as castles go, Warwick is a belter.

This is despite the owners, Merlin Entertainments Ltd (trading as Robbing Bastards Incorporated), doing their level best to ruin it. Since the last time we visited, they have installed a ‘Knight’s Village’, where you can now ‘glamp’ *shudders* in a medieval-style cabin. Sounds great, except in order to find the space for this new attraction, they have had to move the car park to somewhere in fucking Derbyshire. The hike from where we eventually left our car, was honestly so long, we could have walked home to Sandbach quicker.

Then, to make matters worse, Robbing Bastards Incorporated have adopted the same parking policy as at (arguably their most famous attraction) Alton Towers – namely, charging you £6 for the privilege. It would almost have been cheaper (and nearer) to fly there with Ryanair.

By the time we eventually got into the castle grounds, it was gone 11am, so we only managed a quick viewing of the Trebuchet in action (the largest working siege machine in the world, no less), before it was time for lunch. In truth, it wasn’t even midday, but after the parking fiasco, and my relentless medieval knob-gags (huge erection, giant weapon etc.), her patience was wearing thin. Plus, food always cheers up the male part of our family.

Of course, like all dads, I insisted that heading for lunch early was the smart move (in order to beat the crowds), but therein lies the problem – all dads think that. Hence, it was bloody packed. Fortunately, they had beer, so a medieval ass-whooping was narrowly avoided.

Our collective mood improved, we then watched a very good falconry display – even though one of the birds clearly wasn’t interested (in her defence, she’d been up with Isaac since 3am) – followed by a ‘Horrible Histories’ show for the kids (which I enjoyed just as much as they did, such is my childish sense of humour). Finally, there was a War of the Roses battle, with knights jousting on horseback, sword fights, and some Queen (Margaret of Anjou, apparently) in a metal bra. Impractical, uncomfortable, and disappointingly un-sexy. A little like me, then.

Nevertheless, despite the ridiculous expense, the fact our car had to be parked in a different time zone, and that we were still surrounded by the very worst of humanity (there were kids deliberately destroying a very old tree in the castle grounds, and the parents were just sat watching them), we had a good day.

The Clampetts next door are naturally trying to spoil that, by once again taking caravan life too literally, and behaving like redneck trailer trash, but otherwise I’m off to bed content.

To be continued….