Grand Central: When you lose on swings - and roundabouts

Chris Page column
Chris Page column
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I’ve not been entirely honest with you. I’ve more grand kids. Further three, last time I checked. If you count my partner’s grandchildren. And I do.

They’re as much part and parcel of our clan dynamic as ’Spoons breakfast or pub play area refreshments. Other bonding exercises are​, apparently, available.

​Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed to protect the​se​ innocent​s​.

The girls are six and 15. Packed car conveying Ava (pictured) and Eva, alongside Ella, therefore ​causes no confusion whatsoever​ in the name game! Then there’s tricky trapeze act, with 13-year-old Noel also in the mix, of trying to please all the little people all the time. In the surety stakes, it’s right up there with flying pigs and frozen hell.

Theme parks offer multitude of amusements for young and old alike. Or so you would think!

Accommodating all ages actually proves as chaotic as awarding royal garden party contract to Chimps Catering Corps.

Different strokes for different folks. Horses for courses. And other ​well-worn clichés celebrating vive la difference. It takes all kinds, apparently, to make a world of fun.​

Cue Flamingo Land zoo, where one child’s Bactrian camel is another one’s black rhinoceros, is another’s Brazilian tapir.

Pulled from pillar to post, trying to please and placate all, we succeed only in messing about, missing show schedules.

And inadvertently adopting an African mammal. Aardvark may have never killed anyone. But they can prove costly to keep in termites.

Our two-year-old’s ambitions aspire no higher - or faster - than revolving teacups. She’s not alone. Quite literally.​

​When ​small(er), I was ever in awe of Waltzers’ weathered warriors, sun bronzed and India ink illustrated, effortlessly riding tracks to get girls’ advances. As I got Vertigo.

​Still preferring soft option of inflatable play areas, I studiously swerve stomach-churning adrenaline fuelled extremism our older​ charges gravitate to like tiny iron filings toward a massive magnet.

One that, in Cliff Hanger, towers 180 feet above, heady heights where wings alone should hold sway. And don’t get me started on Velocity, world’s fastest motorbike coaster at Yorkshire’s premier park. Some 60 miles an hour sub scary three seconds gives ​g-force a bad name. And, us with delicate dispositions, bad digestion.​

All such attractions are Mumbo Jumbo, itself a record breaker whose 112-degree drop defies gravity​.​ And belief.

It’s not just such circuits that are steep with family feast cash outlay that could ​quite ​reasonably secure ​a ​decent family saloon.

But chips and cola ​do at least ​come with side order of uneasy truce, differences set aside over shared ​ice cream cones​.

Fed and watered, we head home, Disney Classics and Capital FM vying for air play, tallies trying to sing, smallies trying to sleep.

Darkness descends on true transport of delight, leaving Grandpa Cabs’ exhausted wheelman to conclude what you lose on the swings ... you also lose on the roundabouts​!