The Fun Factory Rochford and Father’s Day
With the weather being so fantastic for most of last week, the kids were keen to go to the beach at the weekend.
Arriving at mine with swimming costumes and flip flops, they seemed genuinely excited about the prospect of paddling in the dirty water that laps at our coastline.
Being based in Chelmsford, we have a few beaches we can get to, all needing a decent drive. The main one is Southend, which on a good day is only thirty minutes by car. On a bad day it can take over an hour, and on any kind of day you’re likely to encounter boy races, teenagers with more tattoos than brain cells and pigeon chested men who refuse to wear a t-shirt once the calendar hits May, regardless of the weather.
The kids miraculously agreed on where they wanted to go and it seemed that Frinton was the destination they had in mind. I’m not sure why, and no amount of questioning could garner any response other than “because it’s good there”. Friday bedtime came, and the kids fell asleep one by one. They were awake early the next morning (long before I was) and I was woken by a disappointed looking bunch, who had all seemingly accepted that going to the seaside wasn’t going to happen because of the dark clouds that stretched as far as the eye could see.
It was a shame. Last time, we went to the beach, I’d mistakenly believed they would only paddle in the sea. I was completely wrong, and all four went out up to their necks, pretty much fully clothed. Without a change of clothes, I’d wrapped them all in towels for the journey home. This time, we had been fully prepared.
Not to be outdone, the kids worked as a team to find something else to do. An indoor play area was the plan and they picked one out which they found on Groupon, cleverly selling the idea to me by telling me how much of a discount they could get. A couple of hours later we were on our way to Rochford to go to the Fun Factory. We’d never been there before, but with the promise of climbing walls, go-karts and soft play, it seemed like it would be good fun.
Although the cost of entry only covers two hours, it wasn’t overly busy, and the kids were kept entertained enough that we ended up staying for closer to four hours. Although the drive was a little monotonous, I suspect that the bad weather kept the roads fairly free so despite taking the same route as we would have done going to Southend, we didn’t hit any traffic.
By the time we got home, we had pretty much managed to spend the entire day out. Dinner was sorted, bath times done, and bed times organised.
I was woken the next day by four kids jumping on the bed and wishing me a Happy Father’s Day. Armed with what seemed like the world’s biggest card - which they had somehow managed to sneak in the car, and then in the flat without me noticing - they bounced on the bed. I’d written instructions on the kitchen white board saying what needed doing, which I find is the best way to communicate with them sometimes, and had signed it off with “and then we go to Costa!”.
I got up, showered and was pleased to find that most of the jobs had been done. my 10-year-old commented on how there hadn’t been much washing up to be done, as though the washing up fairy had visited in the night. I explained that I had done the vast majority of it the night before, and then had to argue briefly with my 11-year-old who initially insisted that I hadn’t. Quite why I would lie about such a thing is beyond me.
A short time later and we were in Costa (where I took the time to record a seven second vlog). There’s no such thing as a relaxing coffee with four hyper kids, but they are now getting to an age where they can wander off around the shops without me. The eldest two each took one of the younger ones and they went for a wander, coming back a while later (mainly to get some money!) and going off again.
The weekend absolutely flew by. Sometimes I find that we struggle to keep entertained. Other times I notice that the contingent of kids drops as the eldest two spend more and more time with their friends at a weekend. It was nice to have all four of them and to not have any major arguments or incidents. The next time I have them for the weekend, we’ll be travelling up to Liverpool, which will involve a long drive there and back. Hopefully, I’ll find a way to keep them entertained for the duration.