Monday, 6 July 2009

Glitterati and Drayton Manor Park and Zoo

This past weekend has been a bit of a humdinger.

One was perhaps chewing a tad more than it is reasonable to consume. Speaking, or typing, both figuratively and actually.

Friday evening was spent at a friend’s stag do, which involved dog racing, lasagne, bar brawl witnessing, excessive amounts of alcohol, dodgy dancing and man hugging.

Not the best preparation for hosting my favourite blogger and his family on the following day, but I think I got away with it.

I really do not miss going out on the town on a regular basis, I enjoyed Friday night, but it was with some reluctance, and at times I was incredibly bored.

And I really am pathetic for the 48 hours that follow such events.

However I have been attempting to put together a meet-up for localish bloggers that are part of the British Mommy Bloggers community, and this weekend was one of very few that I could squeeze it into.

Drayton Manor were kind enough to host five of us, and our families, this past Sunday, and I plan to review their excellent facilities very soon as a result.

As mentioned this get together was originally intended for those of us that live in the middle of England, but I had not accounted for the gall of some.

Dan, he of allthatcomeswithit.

He who really narrowed my eyes to the world of blogging.

He whom is the UK’s premier Daddy Pig impersonator.

The guy organising the most awesome walk along Hadrian’s Wall ever.

Well, anyway, him, he got in touch to enquire as the possibility of being included in our rendezvous, and because I fear he may have sat on me if I’d said no I really wanted to meet him in the pork, I was accommodating.


To the point that I gladly offered to house his clan at mine the night before, so it might break up the excessive travelling for his kids, and so we could all perhaps enjoy the actual gathering a bit more, and relaxed.

I was delighted, but fearful, when he agreed to come down on the Saturday. It is a weird feeling meeting people you have ‘met’ on the internet. Made even weirder when you try to explain it to other people, especially those that are only four-years-old.

I was nervous about meeting Dan and his lovely family, as I had painted a picture in my head of these people, and how we may get on with them if we were ever to meet. My fear was that I had got our compatibility terribly wrong.

But I need not have worried, despite my relatively fragile state, their whole visit felt effortless, our conversation naturally flowing, way later than it should have, and without having to feel for subject matter, certainly from my point of view anyway.

The kids, blimey, they got on incredibly well. Max and Amy, Dan’s daughter, were virtually inseparable from the moment they met. And Evan, Amy’s younger brother, was certainly not excluded either, and there were some really wonderful moments between the three of them, that alone made their visit worthwhile (mind I also got some Penguins, and a bunch of flowers out of it).

After a good night’s sleep we were off to Drayton Manor Park and Zoo, to meet three other bloggers and their families, and my meeting internet folk anxieties returned. Again these people, Jo Beaufoix, Rosie Scribble and Tara Cain, were people I was really looking forward to meeting, and had developed a relationship with online.

They all proved to be very nice people, and great company, even Tara. All the children were lovely too, and pretty much proved that all you need when you have kids, are other kids to play with.

There was a plethora of things to do and ride on, but the offspring seemed genuinely happy to mess about on the adventure play areas, and most of them pined to go and play together in the soft play zone.

That is not to belittle the park and its facilities, far from it. If it was just me and the boy, then I am sure that he would have held no interest in the playing parts of the theme park. And he was still very excited to go on all the rides we did manage.

We were both knackered last night, and are really still recovering today. Max had his first day time nap for an age, and I am in a state of overtiredness.

But it was all worth it, and I hope to meet these wonderful people again soon, people I am now comfortable, and proud, to call friends.



SciFi Dad said...

Blogger meet-ups are always fun. It's interesting to see who speaks like they write and who posts only after what must be days of editing.

Dan said...


The Dotterel said...

Tara does read this, y'know!

rosiescribble said...

I love the 'even Tara' comment, hilarious!
It was lovely to meet you and Max too and I know both me and Jo were nervous about meeting you all in the real world, there was no need to worry of course.
It is a relief to hear you are also exhausted. I am knackered but had assumed I was just getting old. Glad to discover it's not just me.

rosiescribble said...

Is Dan calling you a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite??? (dictionary definition).

JennyMac said...

Great post and I love that photo. Too precious.

Kori said...

I read things like this and I feel sad that I haven't been able to meet any of my blogger friends yet-but am happy for you all that you have.

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

You cheeky whatsit!
I would just like to point out to everyone that Single Parent Dad is in fact even cheekier in real life. If that's possible.
Top bloke for organising a top day out though. And little Max is the SPITTING image of his dad - even down to their converse pumps!

Single Parent Dad said...

SciFi Dad - Speak in mumble in real life too.

Dan - Wikipedia again?

The Dotterel - Don't worry, I'm sure she won't get it.

Rosie - Not just you, still recovering now, and yes, Dan is good at the single word insults.

JennyMac - Why thank you, and thanks for commenting.

Kori - It needs to be done.

Tara - Technically, I said you are nice, and great company. And technically I still want paying for it.

Jo Beaufoix said...

It was a brilliant day and sounds like you had as mad a weekend as me. I love the picture of your three moneys and you're right, the kids were amazing. I'm hoping when we all meet next it will be in the midst of a calmer weekend for all of us. Life changing events make things a little bit crazy sometimes don't they?

And me and Rosie thought that Tara bird was a bit fabulous too. You and Dan were ok, for boys, but I reckon the kids were the stars of the day.

Thanks for sorting it. I've an idea in mind for a nice meet up. I'll work on it. :D

P.S. Am still knackered and it's Tuesday, how bad is that. And I think I can walk 84 miles?? Snort.

Mrs OMG Pregnant said...

Ha ha ha! I think I need to 'follow' these people! I am meeting some blogger people soon... I find it very scary!

SandyCalico said...

Lovely post and what a gorgeous photo.
I met my husband on the internet, I was a little nervous about meeting him in real life, but it turned out pretty well!
I'm looking forward to meeting other parent bloggers, it seems we all have quite a lot in common!

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

Don't listen to a word of it.
Not one of us got on. The lot of us acted like rock stars and the children tore strips off each other.
Oh, and we all fed our children toxic sweets and let them go on Apocalypse (a really really scary ride).
Fun time indeed . . . It's a good job one of us prepared to come over here and tell it like it is.

Kat said...

It sounds like you all had a lovely time and I am incredibly jealous!

One of my bloggy friends has become one of my besties now that we have met in person and I can't wait to meet more bloggers in person. It is such a weird way that because you have already "met" online that the conversation just comes naturally when you meet in person isn't it? There is already a built in knowledge of interests and a background story that doesn't need to be explained as much. Quite handy. It is like prescreening friends ;)

A Modern Mother said...

Glad you all had a wonderful time. Somehow I believe Tara...

Single Parent Dad said...

Jo Beaufoix - I never said fabulous ;-). Be interested to learn of your plans.

Mrs OMG Pregnant - You so need to follow them. Even Tara. (I love that gag).

SandyCalico - Indeed we do.

Tara - So we're telling it how it is/was? Well, first off, there was the stench...........

Kat - It is, and I guess meeting bloggers is different to meeting people via different internet means.

A Modern Mother - What? You don't believe me when I say she is nice? It was a tough sell.

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

**blows big raspberry in your general direction**

smitten by britain said...

First off, I thought only Americans say 'humdinger.' Second off, that photo is so sweet. Those were the best days when you made friends instantly and were just so darn happy to have someone to play with.

You were a brave boy, not just hosting one internet chum but his whole family too. Better you than me. (stranger danger and all that)

Kevin Spencer said...

Mate, I'm with you. Sometimes I wonder if that two day hangover and general feeling of poopiness was worth those few hours of inebriated tomfoolery. I speak from experience this past weekend that's for sure.

Jo Beaufoix said...

I said fabulous though. Tsk. Cheeky.

Momo Fali said...

Yay! What fun! I hope you hugged Jo for me.

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