Fri. Sep 24th, 2021

Here we are still on Easter break, at least a few more days. And today, Nathan and I were both out of work, so I decided we were going to have a fun day out for the family that could make a blog. There wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for that, so we ended up with a Fun Family 90 Minutes Out that I could post on the blog. I know, I’m spoiling you all.

Going far was one of the many things that didn’t get any kind of enthusiasm. I think we’ve all had a touch of Stockholm Syndrome because it hasn’t been caught for so long. So we decided to go to a place that was only the bare minimum of feet outside of Highams Park. We’ve passed dinosaurs a million times in the northern circular and we’ve always said it would be nice to visit it someday. Today was that day. It was so close that it was barely worth driving, but the location didn’t seem particularly pedestrian friendly and I wasn’t sure how we would get there on foot without having to cross the north lane or walk on the point side. So it was a 5 minute drive. Accompanied by a slightly hairy left turn to the aforementioned circular when we didn’t really get a chance to slow down before taking the corner. It’s set up for driving there, but driving is getting a little scarier. However, there is a good size car park.

Viously, obviously with These Times you have to book in advance for everything and I would definitely advise you to book in advance for golf as I think they are sold out. He certainly seemed busy. We had a 10:30 slot, we showed our barcode to the friendly guy at the entrance and he gave us our clubs. Then we had to mask ourselves to walk through a small inner portion, where we got a pencil and a score card and a ball each. The kids had shades of purple: Eva’s matched her backpack, which she liked quite a bit, and Nathan and I had shades of green. Everything was very efficient and we took off our masks as soon as we passed the building. Currently, they only allow players to go around in domestic groups and the natural pattern of one group per hole facilitated the distance.

The least easy thing was to strike a balance between actually playing the game and preventing the kids from falling apart. I issued a decree that we would not be too strict about the rules and it didn’t matter if I mixed Eva’s ball a little closer to the hole every now and then. The main goal was to keep talking to everyone through hole 18, which we were almost. I also told the kids that the winner wasn’t allowed to brag too much, so he took a bit of the competitive edge. Dagnam, I just wanted to give you the best chance to have a good time.

It was pretty hard not to brag, though, when I got the first three holes in 2 shots each. I’m usually terrible at crazy golf, so I have no idea how this happened. I assumed Nathan would win (spoiler, he did, but only for a couple of points) and that the rest of us would throw our clubs and go crying at some point due to our lack of genetic coordination. But no, it went surprisingly well. There was a hole that made me 10 shots and there were some where Eva was stressed, so we let her start again or just cheated to help her … but most holes which we managed to do quite efficiently. We let the group behind us move around hole 9 because they were even more efficient than us … but shortly after one of those stressful holes, Eva needed a cookie and a minute to breathe. anyways.

It’s a very compact but well-designed route, so you’ll never have to cross anyone’s path unless they overtake. Dinosaurs are largely accessories, but Ruben would love it when he was 4 and in the dino phase. I miss this phase a bit.

Never forget that you are next to the north circular. It’s a bit noisy and I can’t help but wonder if anyone has managed to get a ball over the fence and become a windshield. Hopefully not.

There’s no coffee either, which is great for bringing our own, but definitely something tired parents keep in mind. The inside ticket has a soda with suckers and other cold drinks, plus some packets of sweets, but no hot drinks from what I could see. There is a Turkish restaurant next door, which would be a good stop for lunch at more normal times. Turkish food is something Eva eats, so maybe it just works for us.

Carrying cups of coffee, clubs and dashboards can be a bit cumbersome, especially when we also had to carry Eva’s “Summer” corgi. It was already the summer birthday, so he had to come with us. Luckily, the course was ideal for dogs:

There are some tricky parts of the course, especially the last hole where the ball can fall into the haunting neon green stream halfway through the hole:

Reuben’s ball went in there the first time, so we had to fish it out and somehow it ended up in a different neon green stream. So we advised Reuben to hit the ball a little harder next time, at which point he hit it so hard that it came out of the end of hole 18, over hole 1 and almost through the fence to the ‘parking. It’s all about balance.

Speaking of Reuben tho, here is his winning stance after getting a hole in one:

It’s a bit of a Breakfast Club, isn’t it? I’m sure Nathan would like me to tell you that he also had a couple of holes in one, so hey, I told you. I never made a hole in it, but I had quite a few two and three, which I liked quite a bit.

Meanwhile, Eva would like me to tell you that she had a milk that was half orange and half lime. Here it is:

The complicated chunks of the journey were nothing compared to the complication of the journey home. A hard left of the North Circular is a challenge, but a left left even more so. Credit to Nathan who got it with just a small amount of tire squeals. But then having to deal with the “part-time traffic light” roundabout then may be too far-fetched a question. Maybe we should walk next time …

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