We have a kind of family routine over the holidays where Daddy Days are spent lazing around in pyjamas and playing board games and Mummy Days are…well…not. Today was not just a Mummy Day but one with the temp LWATers as back up. We had to have something of an adventure. Putting my firstborn into a metal tube at height was possibly too much excitement, even for me but the firstborn was pretty keen on the idea. We were using the National Rail 2FOR1 discount to get tickets, which I think meant booking on the door so I was just hoping we’d get there and there would be no timeslots left for the slide. As you can guess by the length of this post, my plan didn’t work. He slid. Oh yes.
But first we needed to get there and that was no mean feat, given that every shop in Westfield had something sparkly in it to distract Eva. Reuben ended up dragging her by the arm past the sandals of Russell and Bromley only to find we were walking towards a park entrance that no longer existed. Do they ever stop changing the Olympic Park?
It was half twoish by now and they did have slots for the slide at 5PM – not an unreasonable amount of time to wait. Unfortunately. You see, the very idea of a 178m slide terrifies me and I thought Roo would have similar thoughts once he actually saw the thing but no. So we just had the task of entertaining ourselves on a slightly overcast day. Not a hard task, given that the kids find stuff to play on every few metres along the paths:
We spent a long time in the playground by the fountains, which boasts a slide accessible only by climbing wall. I used to fear it greatly but now, with a leggy 9yo, it’s just the ticket. It took some persuasion to get the kids to move on to the Tumbling Bay and along the way they got distracted by the outdoor gym. Then even more distracted by Eva falling over and getting blood all down her leg. Turns out I’m the only one of the party who isn’t a bit bloodphobic. But I wans’t feeling too superior, given my phobia of heights was gonna kick in in the not-too-distant future.
We eventually made it, Eva limping and eating healing haribo, to Tumbling Bay. I’ll admit that my main motivation was using the toilets there but the water and sand play is always a bonus in the kids’ eyes. Eva was dressed in velvet, which I always feel is the most practical possible material for this kind of play:
Roo, meanwhile, was finding yet more hidden places to play:
It was nearly time to chuck my boy off a building so we needed to get back to the Orbit by the quickest possible way. Or maybe via a series of wrong turns and semi-rural diversions. Starting with this flight of steps down to the river, which Eva assured me would definitely be OK:
It wasn’t OK. It led to a bridge which was fenced off so we had to turn back.
The next path we tried came up against the railway line and went nowhere else. It was time to revert to Plan A – back the way we came. We did see a little black and white bird along the way, with a blue patch on his back. Yes, it’s LWAT Naturewatch again. We also saw this peculiar piece of art:
We were seriously cutting it fine for our 5PM timeslot by now, so charged back across the park and got to the Orbit just in time, dragging a half-limping-still Eva along with us. There were five of us and only Roo and Niece’s Boyfriend were actually doing the slide so we all went up together to Level 1 and arranged to meet back there after they’d slid down. It’s expected that sliders do the slide first and then go back up and enjoy the view after so that worked out pretty well. I just had to endure 10 stomach churning minutes of watching the boys put on protective gear and imagining the worst.
Then standing by the viewing panel in the middle of the Orbit, waiting for a glimpse of them as they whizzed past:
Then more stomach-churning waiting and admiring the view while we waited for them to re-emerge from the lift. Eventually they did and my heart starting beating again as they seemed unharmed and only a little traumatised. “IT WAS TERRIFYING” screamed Roo as he flung himself into my arms but later he admitted that it was a little bit fun too. 5% fun to be exact and only 95% terrifying.
So there you have it – if you have a child who is 8years plus and over 1m30 and you fancy terrifying them a little this summer, the Orbit is where it’s at. For more information have a look here.