I hadn’t realised that my lack of CenterParcs post was stopping Katy’s creative flow, so here’s a very belated CenterParcs post. As a result it will be a bit of a jumble.

7 of us in the car was a bit of a squeeze, and we didn’t arrive early enough for the cheeky swim before you can check in. But we got there early enough to not be too stressed. We had paid a bit extra for the chalet, which I think was worth it – I can’t remember exactly what we got for our money, but I remember Katy and me saying it was good.

I think that Sherwood Forest is better than Thetford Forest CP, other than it’s further away and in an area we’re not familiar with. We were weren’t in as close as last time, but I didn’t feel our lack of bikes was a problem. The playgrounds were excellent – a splendid set of musical things to jump about on, a decent rope bridge (actually over a bit of a lake) and other good things for A to play on. Also there was something that looked like a skate ramp, but was actually an enormous see-saw (for e.g. 10 adults at each end). And there were a couple of weird multi-armed see-saw things – so that 3 people could sit on a telegraph pole each and try to bounce each other up and down (the poles were roped together in a fiendish way).

It was still very cold, and one morning when walking to the main bit we saw a rabbit hop across a small lake over the ice. I’m glad I stopped to enjoy the moment rather than try to get my camera out and take a photo and probably miss it. J and M found an archimedian screw thing in a big sandy bit (actually a beach by the side of a lake), and had to force it loose of the ice that was jamming it up.

Generally the swimming was great – easier than last year. We didn’t have to battle J to get him swimming, which made things much more pleasant. (He occasionally took quite a bit of persuading, but definitely not what I’d call a battle.) K and L were as happy as last time, and better at swimming than last year so less hard work. M was in his element – he hadn’t been to a place like that before, and really enjoyed all the chutes and flumes. A liked it a bit, and I hope that next time she’ll be generally a bit bigger and capable and so get more out of it.

I was glad that all the various families going had managed to book so that we were at least in clumps if not all together. We had a DVD night at ours one evening (with rather delicious panettone bought as a post-Christmas bargain), but didn’t join in the late night board games sessions as I’m such a lightweight.

It was a bit weird getting a couple of phone calls from Newsround about the exchange in the middle of the holiday. Once I was in the middle of helping A across the big rope bridge and asked if he could phone back later – I gave the reason as I thought he’d understand. Possibly one of the strangest “I can’t talk to you right now” reasons they’ve had.

At the end of swimming on the last day M managed to lose his trunks and a pair of goggles, J and K had earned one of those big foam sausage things each, and K had found a disk from the laser clay pigeon shooting.

As well as a lightweight I’m also an old fogey. The only place I could get wireless reception was at the bowling alley / bar in the main bit. We met up there first for a birthday celebration for Big, which was during the afternoon. I went back one evening and the music was SO LOUD. I couldn’t see why people were sitting there voluntarily, in the name of enjoyment, shouting conversations to each other. Some couples had their babies with them in buggies. My laptop’s battery is so feeble that I had to plug into the mains, and the only place I could find a socket was next to the info kiosk thing – I did feel a bit weird, the only person there tapping away on a computer rather than chatting and drinking, but we needed to keep in email contact with Katy’s dad.

We cut it short a bit (but not much – just the cheeky, after you’ve checked out swim), so that we could get to Norwich in time (taking a slight detour to deposit M with Gina and co). Despite a stressful stretch or two where we thought we wouldn’t make it, we got there OK. and Katy has already blogged about all that.

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