Other than ‘let’s go to Legoland’, few sentences chill parents’ hearts quite like ‘let’s visit Peppa Pig Land’. It’s basically a day spent overusing your child’s name until your voice gives in. Yet as a parent you’re in good company; that’s if you call adults breathing deeply while queuing 35-minutes for low-octane rides to which their exhaustion may finally succumb, good company.
Someone mentioned what lovely country park Peppa Pig Land was situated in, and of course it was until a lurid funfair was plonked amongst its 400-year old cedars and meadows. Although they do a great job of maintaining the grounds, someone was overheard exclaiming ‘it’s real grass’, like it was a metaphysical clue to escaping The Prisoner. It’s a valuable opportunity to wake up to the fact that you’ve been listening to a mega-mix of wheels on the bus for 3 hours on loop like it’s the most normal thing in the world, and there is no way out without avoiding the gift shop. There are also no clocks or newspapers.
The clues are in the details. The vending machine in the Gents doesn’t sell Durex, which was a relief. However, it does sell nappies, suggesting they’ve studied Daddy Pig’s incompetence profiling; I bet there’s none in the ladies. Other vending options include Nurofen and Smints. The tinnitus of wheels on the bus in your ears suggests that at least one of these is an excellent idea.
The rides are designed for under 3s, and suit them perfectly; although one of them is so boring that you’re strapped in presumably to stop falling out from boredom, even the toddlers use it as an opportunity to study the map for better attractions.
In case dragging children around while shouting at them to ‘have a good time’ isn’t enough, some competitive dads decide that winning prizes huge enough to require either car trailer or roof rack hire to transport home is a good idea. Scotty dogs, doughnuts and Minions the size of small sofas are carried around blindly, until they’re abandoned beside amusement rides. However, the park’s operators have all but employed people to counter this, and ensure that these monstrous toys are not ‘accidentally forgotten’, and do instead leave the park to halve the size of average family homes, rather than be left for Peppa Pig to dispose of.
After lunch, a sleepy lull familiar to home-workers (see previous blog: Home-working) settled over the park, and all adults over the age of 30 start eyeing up undergrowth, hedges, and even queues to the more soporific rides, as potential opportunities for a kip. Instead, the tipping point for under-5 meltdowns grows ever keener, and visitors prepare themselves to drag offspring through the inescapable gift shop.
As family cars leave the gates at speeds familiar to Formula 1, divorce lawyers are missing a trick by not opening a drop-in at Junction 1 of the M27. Children finally drop like falling iron, while parents peer over colossal soft toys at the road leading home like they deserve a medal; a real one, not one with Daddy Pig on it. .
Addendum: It’s important to point out that Peppa Pig world is actually great for what it is, and the children loved it, but that’s not as funny.