#oneaday Day 846: Holiday Time


We’ve gone away for a few days as a late birthday treat for me. Since I took Andie to Legoland for her birthday last year, she’s taking me to Alton Towers since I’d dropped a few hints that I’d like to go sometime.

I haven’t been to Alton Towers for a very long time. I think the last time I went, I was still at school. I’m not sure how much has changed since that time, but I’m excited to find out.

I used to hate rollercoasters. I have vague memories of going on rides like Big Thunder Mountain at Disney when I went there back in 1985. I found them terrifying, but give me a break; I was about five years old at the time.

I can’t remember exactly when I managed to make myself start liking them, but I have a feeling it was as a result of a school trip to Alton Towers. We enjoyed several of these trips during our school career, despite the fact that there were at least two theme parks that were considerably closer to us. Alton Towers was always the prime choice, however, and we’d normally find ourselves heading there for the impressive fireworks displays shortly before the park closed for the winter.

The Corkscrew — sadly no longer with us — was the first “big boy” rollercoaster I ever went on, I think. (Big Thunder Mountain aside, obviously.) By comparison to some of the other impressive rollercoasters we have today, this was a relatively tame affair that took you up high, raced you around a few corners and then twizzled you through the titular corkscrew before landing back at the station again. The whole thing was over relatively quickly, but in the process I discovered that I was actually enjoying myself.

I was bitten by the thrillseeker bug after that. Nemesis and Oblivion were our next targets — for the uninitiated, the former is a rollercoaster where the riders’ chairs hang from the track rather than being a more conventional “train cart” style one, while Oblivion, at one point, featured one of the biggest drops in either the world or the country. I forget, but it was fucking terrifying, partly because it takes you up high then suspends you over aforementioned (vertical) drop for a good few seconds, lurches you forwards slightly and then sends you plummeting to the earth.

I know next to nothing about what Alton Towers offers today, but I’m looking forward to finding out tomorrow. I’m also quite looking forward to seeing whether or not Andie will be brave enough to join me on some of these ridiculous rides!

It’s a strange thing to do, when you think about it, isn’t it? “I know what I’ll do… I’ll get in a rickety old mine cart and fling myself around corners and down hills at ridiculous velocities. Why, you ask? ‘S a laugh, innit?”

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Pete Davison

Southampton-based music teacher, writer and enthusiast of Japanese popular culture.

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