Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I have a confession to make. Last week at Blackpool, Jen and I were 30 minutes late for Day 2 of The Blackpool Championship, and, whilst tikay did his best to entertain the crowd, a skill that he is yet to master (ducks), it was clear to all that your blonde team were substituting the work ethic of updating for the sheer joy of the Big Dipper.

For this, I hereby apologise whole-heartedly.

However, back to the Big Dipper…

A bright(ish) sunny(ish) Sunday(ish) [nope, hold on, it was definitely Sunday] afternoon, Jen, Chili, Glen (Chili’s other half) and my good self arose from a rather cramped night’s sleep (you had to open the door to wipe your bum in our hotel loo) with a glint in our eye. Why the glint? Well, although I’d love to say it was due to the upcoming poker final, it was in fact a result of our anticipation for a bit of Sunday Dipping. Not skinny dipping, although I did unsuccessfully suggest that to Jen and Chili, but Big Dipping on Blackpool’s famous rollercoaster. So famous, in fact, that I can’t remember its name.

We rushed over, well, that maniac Jen did, to the Pleasure Beach (should be renamed the ‘Arghhhhhhhh Beach’) and rubbed our hands, excitedly awaiting our early afternoon of fun. I checked the time on my phone, and, to the joy of my heart, realised that there was over 90 minutes of fun to be had, an observation that I quickly announced to the group. Fruitloop Jen took one look at the biggest, and most life-threatening, ride in the park, licked her lips, and briskly directed us to the entrance. Boy, did Glen and Chili look thrilled when they witnessed the ride in action…

Led by Jen, we patiently queued up in a long snake-like line (you know, one that takes a lot longer to diminish than you’d think) and started clenching those buttocks in fear of a lack of bodily discipline. Although we’d all had a pretty ‘yeah, I’ll be fine’ sort of attitude, Chili, Glen, and myself were now starting to appear a tad sheepish. At one point, I’m sure I recall Chili grabbing firmly onto Glen’s hand and whispering, ‘Find a way to get me out of here and I’ll forever be at your mercy.’ Unfortunately, I doubt the eagle-eyed Jen would ever let such an escape occur.

As the line of Chavs decreased (not sure what it is about this place that attracts the now renowned breed), and we got closer and closer to the rickety carts, Jen’s smile and my frown widened simultaneously. Meanwhile, Chili was sweating like a racehorse and Glen, a champion fighter and general hard-case, was whimpering like a puppy in a bag. Still, no getting out now.

As we reached the front, and the cart tootled around, I took a glance at the passengers. The majority sported a ‘Get me off this damned contraption’ expression, whilst others were either wondering how their hair suddenly developed the ability to go spikey, or were frozen to their seat in a sheer state of shock. Either way, my tummy started to rumble in a way that threatened to reintroduce me to my full English brekkie.

So, bums on seats, and we were ready for the off. The part I’m always worried about is the moment the attendants, who are probably underpaid, don’t care, and have been doing the same monotonous job for several hour straight, run along the carts to check that the bars and safety belts are secure. The mere fact that they are chatting to each other and eyeing up women over their shoulder whilst checking strikes fear in the very depth of my heart.

But, brum brum, too late to worry about falling out now.

As with most rides, we start off at a leisurely pace, taking that familiar incline before the big initial drop. However, this seemed to be the most time-consuming incline in the world, and I seriously felt like it took five minutes to get up there. Before we reached the top, I’d already planned my diary for the following week, whipped out the lappie and typed up a tourney report, and grown a fully fledged beard.

Finally, we reached the top, and, although Jen was commenting on the wonderful view, I was slightly more concerned with the near vertical drop that confronted me.


I have to confess, I’ve never held onto anything as tightly before as I held onto those handle bars. I’ve still got two cylindrical marks moulded into the palms of my hand. Jen’s face had an expression of ‘Wheeeeeeee!! What a rush!’ but boy, that tear in my eye thought otherwise.

Admittedly, this is a cracking rollercoaster. The big drop is always at the start, often creating an anti-climax for the rest of the ride, but this one was different. It maintained a pretty high level of excitement throughout, and never left you bored. There was a point where it tilts you over onto your side, a bit where you can’t help but duck as you approach a tunnel, and a rickety to and fro segment where you feel as though you’re about to be flung from the cart.

Great stuff, and I’m sincerely grateful that Jen suggested the idea, even if I did ‘scream like a banshee’, although, at the time, I did claim that this was to make sure Chili and Glen didn’t feel left out. A minor fib there, I must confess.

As the ride redocked at its station, and the joyful faces of Jen, Chili, and Glen (Well, the latter two were more gasping in horror rather than joyful) departed from their carts, we rushed over to the photo booth… and yes, whilst Jen was loving it, I was screaming like a banshee. To my dismay, Glen purchased what can now be described as evidence, thereby resulting in my reputation as a strong-hearted fearless male being slightly tarnished, although that title already had the odd blemish.

So, why were we late? Well here’s my rather poor excuse…

Since my trip to Norway, the clock on my phone has a developed a rather bizarre tendency to go back in time in an attempt to fool me that I’m actually living my life at 2.30pm rather than 3.30pm. This happens at annoyingly random times and was the case on Sunday. Hence, why we arrived at 3.30pm.

But, in our defence, it was totally unintentional and it’s important for our viewers to acknowledge that we weren’t knowingly sacrificing the update to enjoy ourselves. That is, my friends, a big no-no.

Anyhow, one again, I apologise from the bottom of my heart and assure you that this faux-pas won’t happen a second time as I will never be given the role of time-keeper again. But, on the flipside, it was worth making the error just to see the look of horror on Glen and Chili’s face, even if it was echoed by mine…


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