This week we have been to Centre Parcs in Longleat. It is our little family holiday before my husband heads back to the giant sandpit, leaving the troops and I in the UK for another month before he comes to collect us.
I’ve only been to Centre Parcs once before, and that was when I organised a corporate event at the Sherwood Forest one. I’m not sure which was more challenging – taking 3 children under the age of 6 or 50 salesmen. It’s hard to decide.
We have had a brilliant week, despite the appallingly dreary weather. We are staying in a two bedroom lodge which is surprisingly comfortable. It has everything we need to cater for small people, plus just enough space to make sure that we don’t fall out with each other. Well, most of the time anyway.
My son has learned to ride a bike without stabilizers. The girls have swum in the ‘sub-tropical paradise’, which whilst lovely, couldn’t really claim to bear any resemblance to paradise, but maybe that’s just me being picky.
We have cycled and bowled and this afternoon my son will learn to fence. He had asked for light saber lessons, but fencing was the closest I could achieve. I do hope he isn’t too disappointed.
Now since we’ve been staying here, I have come up with the most fabulous plan to deal with all the problems facing the Great British prison service. I think it’s a genius solution to overcrowding, drug problems and violence and I’m going to suggest it to Mr Cameron next time I bump into him in Waitrose.
We should close down all the prisons, and move all inmates to Centre Parcs.
It’s absolutely ideal.
The rules here are extensive. You need permission to accept visitors, who on arrival, are held at security until their identities can be verified. The food is distinctly average. And you are obliged to fill your days with activities. Surely that is what prison is all about?
It is almost impossible to gain entry or to exit unless it has been pre-booked, allocated, ticketed, computerised and approved at Guest Services.
And it costs a fortune.
The only thing that I can find to do for free is printing. I chanced upon this as our solicitor requested more documents from us in relation to the house sale. Expecting disappointment, I pitched up with my laptop and discovered that printing is surprisingly easy and, free! I’ve been regretting the fact that my blockbuster novel isn’t ready for proofing yet, as I’m dying to go back and print more. My husband is perhaps understandably, beginning to fear for my sanity.
So I’m sorry to all the Centre Parcs devotees who go every year. Once Dave hears my plan, it’s surely just a few logistical decisions away from becoming reality.
And for all the families who’ve previously enjoyed Longleat, Sherwood and Elveden Forests?
Next year, you’re off to Broadmoor!