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Dreadful Nonsense

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

Enough already on the birthday front. Let’s all just put a line right here, and step… over it? Away from it? Through it? What do you do when you draw a line under something? Do you leave it there? Where do you go afterwards? Now that I’m 30, I’m not sure what to do with this line anymore. Lines are no longer my friends.

Moving away, then, from both birthdays and lines. Let’s get down to shooting.

Before we arrived at Centre Parcs, we had been sent through a number of different brochures detailing all of the activities we could do during the time we were there. A lot of them had little telephone symbols beside them, which meant that they were available for pre-booking, and it was stressed throughout the brochure that it really was best to pre-book things. I’m a stickler for a schedule, and pre-booking does appeal to the organiser side of me who likes to have EVERYTHING IN ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE and to have a good solid idea of EXACTLY WHEN EVERYTHING WILL BE HAPPENING.

We decided the best thing for us would be to book up three or four core activities, things that sounded a bit too good to miss, and then work out when we got there what else we’d like to do. One of the things that immediately grabbed my attention was the clay pigeon shooting, because I did that years ago and got such a buzz off it. Firing guns is cool. Guns are cool. They’re even cooler than cigarettes, booze and gang-banging (and don’t you forget it). But I remembered the massive bruise I got from the clay pigeon shooting due to the kick back of the gun and the fact that I’m a tiny lady who bruises like a peach suffering severe domestic violence.

One of the alternative options was “Laser Clay Shoot Out” (“Enjoy the thrill of Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting using state of the art laser adapted rifles. You will shoot clays travelling at up to 65mph through the air in our woodland area”), so we went for that instead. Just the same amount of pointing and pulling triggers, possibly less bruising involved. Excellent. Let’s go to it.

The first thing we noticed were the hats:

Why were there little receptors on our hats? Why were they trying to make us look like Daleks?

We realised, within about 10 seconds of the explanation of the activity starting, we realised we had obviously been booked on the wrong course. Rather than shooting up in the sky at small, round, orange things, we would be shooting at each other and other people, using guns that give you 10 lives, shout OUCH! when you've been shot and scream the most horrifying noise when you lose your last life.

It's not something I would ever have opted to do. As we walked away after the hour was up, He Who Only... commented to me that one thing he never imagined for a moment he would be doing with me was running through a forest, hiding behind trees and shooting at people.

It was fucking fantastic.


I wasn't too bad at it, as it happens. But taking photographs, like the above, instead of concentrating on keeping my head down, meant that I was usually one of the first ones dead. Embarrassingly, the only time I fell flat on my face and actually hurt myself quite badly was running towards one of the instructors to get my gun reactivated at the start of a new game. I fell over a tree root and had to bravely pretend I was absolutely fine. Limping back to the chalet after the war and debriefing with He Who Only..., we both agreed we would never have done that, and we both also agreed we'd totally do it again in a heart beat.

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