My Sunday Photo: Just gotta ride it

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A famous philosopher once said, “Life is a rollercoaster
Just gotta ride it.”

For the past few years we have made Paultons Park the venue for an annual get-together with old friends from university. Situated on the edge of the New Forest, it’s a happy halfway-house for us.

We’ve all known each other for 25 years now. The hairs may have greyed and the waistlines expanded but, hey, we now have seven kids between the three couples so that’s allowed, right?

As the years have progressed, we have (thankfully) graduated from the about-as-exciting-as-a-morphine-drip horror that is Peppa Pig World – I have seen tortoises who move faster than some of the rides there – to rather more interesting attractions.

A longstanding favourite is the Wave Runner – a two-man dinghy hurtling a giant, undulating water slide – but as the kids have grown taller they have gained access to a wider array of options. Isaac can now ride unaccompanied on just about everything, Toby can go on accompanied by a responsible adult – or, in the absence of a responsible adult, me – and even Kara can now join us on all but the biggest rollercoasters.

Being generally hard as nails and, at four, still young enough not to have really developed the capacity for physical fear yet, Kara is still the one child most likely to ride a rollercoaster and come off it at the end saying, “That was brilliant. Let’s do it again.” (We had this particular conversation five times by my count.)

But even the boys, in previous years much more circumspect (and having only recently returned from Disneyland Paris where they both declared that one thrill ride was more than enough thank you very much), threw themselves into everything despite initial reservations. I think they found some additional courage from the peer pressure of being among similar-age friends but I was really pleased with the way they bit the bullet, grasped the nettle and took the bull by the horns – try doing all three of those simultaneously – and just did it. And loved it.

I know I say this a lot but they really are growing up so fast and it’s so easy to want to just wrap them in cotton wool and freeze them in time. But life is a rollercoaster that doesn’t stop. Just gotta ride it. Wise man, that Ronan Keating.


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