Hell is a child friendly caravan park holiday – Part 2 (The Swim)

The best time to try out that swimming pool we saw in the lovely promotional video is surely when it opens at 9.30am. Right? Because everyone else here will be either in bed, eating at the breakfast buffet, hungover or just out for the day on a jaunty family day out. Right?

We arrive at the swimming pool door at 9.15am to see a queue similar in length to the black Friday lines outside Asda. Everyone is champing at the bit, counting down the seconds till 9.30am like race horses at the Grand National. Above our heads a large sign hangs that reads:

Owner’s Only Swim – 8am – 9.30am

Public Swim* – 9.30am – 12.45pm

*For public swim read “Peasant swim”.

I try to explain to the lady behind me several times why we are queuing. She keeps exclaiming to her brood “Well, we should have come at 8!” I try to read her through the sign but she can’t seem to grasp the concept. The kids are crying. My child starts crying from the combined noise of the queueing peasants and the loud arcade machines surrounding us. He is also confused that we are immersed in darkness with flashing lights all around him that should come with a ‘may cause fits’ warning. 

9.29…Tick..tick..tock… 9.30! CHARGE!!!


The scene is similar to how I imagine the ‘gates opening’ moment at a public execution in Game of Thrones. It is a mad dash to secure ourselves a changing room – though many of the swimmers seem to have come prepared so they can just chuck their tracksuit bottoms off at the side of the pool and leap in.

I find a changing room and wrestle the toddler into a special swimming nappy (that doesn’t come in a big enough size FYI). I try to quell the fear that he might choose this time to do his poo as he seems to have stopped pooing since we arrived at the caravan park. He’s probably too stressed to go! I know I am.

We throw our shit in a locker and enter the pool. Toddler in his mini wet suit, me in a stretched out Next swimming costume complete with my farcically large six month bump.

Mmm.. odd… It doesn’t look as big as it did in the promotional video. Especially with all my fellow peasants bobbing about in it, like a salt water pan over-flowing with gnocchi. Toddler waddles in and is happy enough. We keep moving to find space, like people on The Tube. Every time we find a space we need to move again due to the never ending surplus population.


A solo man sits in the corner with a look of utter horror and repulsion on his face. I fear he is an ‘owner’ and has been caught in the time transition between owner tranquil spa time and peasant pool frenzy. He missed his portal. I later see him scurrying out of the pool, most probably off to the Owner’s only lounge to tell them all what he’s seen over a good quality expresso. Twat.

There is a ratio of 1 parent to every 6 children and a God awful amount of babies. Every single baby is screaming blue murder at being placed in the cold water. They are not enjoying themselves – at all. The parents don’t seem to care about this – probably thinking the newborns will climatise to the sudden drop in temperature … eventually. I hover 1mm away from toddler who can’t swim a jot and try to protect him from flailing legs, arms and errant floats.

The noise of the place is deafening – a mixture of screams, cries, shrieks and people shouting “Yeeee-Haaaaa!!! Oi!! Pass me the Frisby Tanya!”

Ever so often there is a waft of turd that one can only assume is from several of the new borns shitting themselves as part of a dirty protest against this sort of torture. My hair is now soaking wet and mascara is running down my face as several children have motored past me practising their kicking legs and using their arms as propellers and I have been caught in the wake. I see a large amount of quirky tattoos from nape to ankle on Gentlemen and ladies on the extra large side who have the sort of body confidence I crave. I spend most of my time praying my son will stop opening his mouth and drinking the water as one can only imagine how much urine is swarming around us.

I last about thirty minutes in this absolute Hell.

My partner arrives from his train journey to this ‘holiday” and we all go for breakfast to have another vending machine coffee and take our chances on the full English buffet.

My partner selects his five items – he’s a little disappointed as there are strict rules about the items – meat only for meat and non-meat only for non-meat. He tucks into his black pudding and hash brown, beans and what looks like boiled bacon. I imagine the owners are feasting on Eggs Florentine and Bucks Fizz in their sanctuary.


I have a yogurt with granola and banana – which is very nice. I also have four pastries (I’m pregnant!) Two of which are edible, the other two – not so much. Partner spends a good amount of time tweezing out two huge splinters from toddler’s hand that he picked up on the badly sanded toilet door.

We all discuss what we can do for the rest of the day. The weather is atrocious. Absolutely freezing and pissing it down. Partner wants to sleep – he’s already knackered – and to watch Game of Thrones on his iPad – that he was clever enough to bring! Bastard. Mother wants to start drinking. And I want to have a shower and scrub away the memories of the swimming pool peasant frenzy.

Back to the old caravan we go.

Join me next time for :

– Unsupervised Soft Play Satanic Pit

– Tea and Toast (the silver lining)

– date night and

– Laxative laughs (How to unclog a toddler in one easy step)


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