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The bloke’s parents with their heart-shaped homemade cake. The chalkboard next to them colourfully reads: “Welcome to Lodge 106. Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary! Have an excellent holiday. 😊”

A couple of weekends ago, we went to a Center Parcs with the bloke’s family to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Each family stayed in separate lodges, and we joined together for lunches, activities, tea and evening meals.

Going to a big resort-type thing in a forest in the school holidays seems to be a rite of passage for English children. Everyone else in the family (actually being English) had this innate understanding of how things were going to work and what was going to happen. I, on the other hand, was completely in the dark. I didn’t know that the “swimming pool” was going to be a massive indoor waterslide park with separate areas for children of all ages, for instance. Or that bringing our bicycles was not just so we could get some exercise, but so we could pop out to the shop for some milk for five minutes rather than have to walk for half an hour. The place was gigantic and – it being the start of the summer holidays – completely full.

The wildlife, being accustomed to the presence of humans, was very nearly tame. If you left the sliding door to the patio open, the ducks would waddle confidently inside in search of whatever food you had foolishly left out. The squirrels would take nuts from your hands. The muntjac deer would walk up to the patio door and stare in, and not run away until the toddler came outside and tried to pet it.

We had a truly typical British summer holiday experience in that it rained nearly the entire time, so we spent a good amount of time in the water park. Humuhumu was, at first, slightly afraid of the water slides. Subsequent to our first trip to the water park, we bought her some goggles and that flipped the switch. We couldn’t get her off the water slides after that. She went round them so many times that when we went to the changing room to get back into our clothes, she could barely stand, she was so exhausted. I only got the chance to try the water slides once for about ten minutes (during which Keiki apparently screamed for me the entire time), so I went for the biggest one (twice): the Cyclone, which you went down on a rubber raft in a group. I got to go with my niece and her mum, aka the bloke’s sister. I shrieked like a banshee the whole way down. It was fantastic.

Despite the filthy weather, we managed to sneak in some outdoor activities. We played boules. We climbed around the adventure playgrounds. I took Keiki to the pond, where the nearly tame baby moorhens nibbled at his wellies, to his boundless delight. We also found a peacock, with whom Keiki had a half-hour conversation. I turned my back on him briefly and when I looked at him, he had moved close enough to the peacock to stroke its tail feathers. The peacock held itself very still, almost as if it didn’t want to frighten him, when really it should have been the other way round.

The wedding anniversary celebration came off very well indeed. There was a huge, heart-shaped and delicious sponge cake, baked by the bloke’s sister, and a “cheese cake”, which was a mountain of stacked cheeses. The bottom layer, an enormous squishy brie, had to be served separately because it would have collapsed under the weight of the wheel of harder cheese above it. This was not a problem because we devoured it over the course of two days. Most importantly, the bloke’s parents had a wonderful time being surrounded by, but not in the pockets of, their children and grandchildren.

Further photos below the cut, including a series titled “Keiki Points at Things”.

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Keiki and me at the pond.

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Keiki pointing at the peacock.

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Keiki pointing at a juvenile duck.

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Keiki pointing at his collection of pinecones.

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Keiki pointing at a muntjac on the patio of our lodge.

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Baby moorhen running over the rocks by Keiki’s feet.

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All four baby moorhens nestled together in the rocks by the pond.

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Whose bed is this, anyway? (Humuhumu and Keiki tucked up after a nap in our bed.)

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Keiki in the swing at the playground.

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Humuhumu climbing the ropes at the playground.

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Possibly the most depressing sign ever posted next to a highway. It reads “Delays Possible Until Dec 2020”. On the A14, of course.

In case you’re wondering why there aren’t so many photos of Humuhumu, this is because (1) she wanted to go to the water park pretty much every waking moment, (2) you couldn’t take photos in the water park and (3) Keiki did not want to go to the water park more than once a day, so someone had to stay with him.
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


*snide* After 2020, delays are of course guaranteed.
forthwritten: Wing feathers of a Bronze-Wing Pionus parrot. The colours are shades of bronze and brown, with some dark green hues (feathers)

From: [personal profile] forthwritten


Humuhumu is so bold and brave!

I very much like the series of Keiki pointing at things. If I may offer a correction though - I think that's a drake in his eclipse plumage rather than a juvenile! Ducks moult all their feathers at once (and can't fly as a result) so drakes drop their bright head and body feathers first and grow duller plumage to make them less identifiable as a predator's next meal. Then they moult and regrow their flight feathers, then, once they can fly again, they moult and regrow their body feathers in time for the breeding season. They tend to be rather wary at this time of year, so well done for spotting him!
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)

From: [personal profile] hilarita


Baby moorhens are the best! Tiny bundles of black fluff with red beaks and feetses!
Also, of *course* it was on the A14.
liseuse: (Default)

From: [personal profile] liseuse


I have so many fond memories of going to Center Parcs as a kid! We went to the Sherwood Forest one a couple of times when I was young and then when I was about 16 I went with my mum to the Cumbria one. A friend of mine had a hen-weekend at one, which I was really sad I couldn't go to (I was PhDing and broke).
azurelunatic: A peacock's face and neck, backed by his spread tail. (peacock)

From: [personal profile] azurelunatic


Peacocks are so beautiful! And Keiki is starting to look less-baby!

Alas that you didn't get more time in the water.
pax_athena: (Default)

From: [personal profile] pax_athena


What a delightful post in general!

I may also steal the idea of the cheese cake. It's not that I don't like cake, but cheese is even better :D

(Also, Humuhumu *does* climb everywhere, doesn't she? I remember you mentioning that in some post and here we go, again :D)
bryangb: (Default)

From: [personal profile] bryangb


We had a cheese cake like that at our wedding. It was utterly nom and saw several kilograms demolished in not very long.
lurkingcat: (Default)

From: [personal profile] lurkingcat


Baby moorhens! So fluffy!

That sounds like an excellent anniversary celebration. [personal profile] battlehamster and I have been to Center Parcs a couple of times and there's always something to do even when it's raining or bitterly cold.
forests_of_fire: A picture of a brilliantly colored waterfall cascading into a river (Default)

From: [personal profile] forests_of_fire


OMG MUNTJACS.

those are one of my most favorite animals. I am so, so jealous you got to see them in the wild-ish. XD
paw_prints: (Default)

From: [personal profile] paw_prints


Sounds like a wonderful weekend, and a very nice get-away for kids and adults alike. Happy anniversary to your parents-in-law!

Gorgeous pics, as always. You have the coolest kids! And now I know what a "muntjac" is.

(Nanila, do you realise this post is public?)
paw_prints: (Default)

From: [personal profile] paw_prints


Thank-you for the links to the videos. Very cool!

Ah OK. I'm glad it was intentional. :)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)

From: [personal profile] silveradept


That sounds like it was an exhausting trip, but in a good way. Glad everyone got to have a good time.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)

From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf


I confess I've never been to Centre Parcs (but I seem to have picked up how they work by osmosis, so....)

Sounds like it was a good trip!
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)

From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf


Butlins is the working class equivalent, sort of (I believe there is more entertainment laid on). I sort of went to Butlins once, but it was just for a church youth day.* It probably did help me understand the concept, though....

*The water park was the best bit.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)

From: [personal profile] askygoneonfire


Or Haven, if you were really cobbling together the pennies ;-)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)

From: [personal profile] st_aurafina


Keiki looks so amazed at all the things he's pointing at. Such wonder! I'm glad you had a good holiday, even if you didn't get to go on the waterslide too often.
mysterysquid: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mysterysquid


Sounds great!

Having grown up in Australia on UK media, I have a *vague* idea about these things...
pbristow: (DW: Sarah+4th - B&W - Heads together)

From: [personal profile] pbristow


"The muntjac deer would walk up to the patio door and stare in, and not run away until the toddler came outside and tried to pet it."

[GIGGLE]

THis, to me sums up the basic problem of inter-species relationships, in a nutshell.

We may, perhaps, dear duck, be *technically* superior to you, in certain areas of intellectual and/or practical ability... as judge by certain "experts" who are members of our own species...

But all that really matters, in the end, is whether or not one of our childlings (or yours) can accidentallyy crush one of your adults (or ours) to death, with an innocently misplaced luvs-u-hug. =}:o}

askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)

From: [personal profile] askygoneonfire


Keiki seems to have shot up since last time I saw photos. Also his love for and affinity with animals is an absolute delight. Wonderful! (I never went to Centre Parcs as a kid because it was too expensive, only the "rich" [decidedly middle class] families did. I remain quietly obsessed with it even though I'm not sure I would actually like it as a childless adult!)
Edited Date: 2017-08-14 12:25 am (UTC)
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