It was Louise's birthday recently (and mine even more so - I shall be
eligible to join Hell's Geriatrics far sooner than I feel comfortable
with) and, having drawn the short straw, I took her and two of her
friends to Alton Towers.  What a terrifying place that is!  I have no
fondness for any kind of roller coaster, nor indeed any form of travel
exceeding 1g where I am not driving.  I was shamed (by ten year olds!)
into participating on one ride which, apparently for a lark, takes place
entirely in profound darkness.  It was as well I'd thought to take my
bicycle clips with me - it prevented a nasty mess, I can tell you.  (The
cruel sods that run the place secrete a camera inside which takes a
sneaky picture of you at what is, frankly, an inappropriate moment.  It
now jeers at me from the mantle - my only saving grace is that the
children were less able to control their features than I, and so draw
attention from my own frozen mask.)  When I found my land legs again, I
stumbled around the rest of the place, pathetically stating that I was
unable to join them on the more vicious rides as I needed to look after
the valuables that might otherwise become parted from us whilst we
sailed upside down or plummeted to, what appeared to be, certain death
in free-fall at mach 3.  I bribed them to silence on the whole matter
with astonishing amounts of burgers, candyfloss and ice cream.  The
drive home was quite sedate.




"What happens if you get scared half to death twice?"