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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

It’s my birthday soon: the entire world is aware of that. I start panicking about my birthday approximately three months before it actually happens. It is now less than 50 days to my birthday, and the real sweats are kicking in. Couple that with the fact that this particular birthday is one in which both numbers of my age are changing - this hasn’t happened for about 10 years - and it’s increasing the feeling of panic within me. I thought turning 24 was painful (I can’t remember why anymore, that seems like such a long time ago), but that was as nothing compared to the raging dread that’s roaring ever closer as each day ticks by.

To clarify: I’m not afraid of being old. I’m actually quite looking forward to my dotage, sitting in a chair surrounded by people who have to clean up the puddles of piss I leave wherever I go, being able to shout at young people on the street, getting seats on the bus, wearing head-to-toe purple for absolutely no reason and being state-sanctioned to dye my hair blue. It’ll be brilliant.

No, what I’m afraid of is of people thinking that I’m old. I love that people still guess that I’m about 24. I love that occasionally I’m still asked for ID. I adore that beauticians still refer to me as having “young” skin. I can’t get enough of people telling me I’ve still got my whole life ahead of me, and clarifying for me that your 20s are the best decade of your life.

(I’m starting to be told that that’s not true, incidentally. Apparently being in your 30s is the new being in your 20s, all care- and child-free, unencumbered by mortgages and pension schemes, mainly because my generation are totally refusing to accept responsibility for their own dotage.)

But anyhoo. To mark the occasion of my passing into a new decade of my life, I had decided to rip a page out of Stephen Fry’s book, have some kind of breakdown and take the next train to Belgium. It turns out, that’s an expensive way to have a breakdown. So I decided instead of some kind of outlandish sojourn to France instead, because that’s close enough for a train, but far away enough to be a foreign holiday. Turns out, that’s also an expensive way to have a breakdown.

He Who Only… then had an astonishing flash of inspiration as he knocked back his fourth pint of booze yesterday afternoon outside a pub. He suggested, and who was I to argue, that we should go to Centre Parcs, since he had such a brilliant time there when he was seven. We stumbled back to the Nest’O’Love just as soon as we had finished another couple of drinks, and checked out the website.

I think the main elements that sold it to me were (a) the open fire in the chalet, (b) the clay pigeon shooting and (c) the falconry.


For my birthday, then, I plan to make the birds do my bidding. How fantastic!

I’d be very curious to hear from anyone who’s been to a Centre Parc before, and preferably those who have been as adults - although childhood memories may suit just as well. Responses via email or comments. A great many thanks.


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