In the early days of being married, with a young child, like many couples money was tight. We were building the business, and not wanting to borrow money for non essentials, so holidays tended to be in the UK.
My wife however decided one day to book a coach trip to Disneyland Paris. We were spending all our working days on fairgrounds, so where do you want to go on holiday, a fairground obviously.
Bigger And Better
To be fair, it was bigger and better than anything I had encountered in the UK. Give the Americans their due, they have some nasty megalomaniacal habits, but they do entertainment ever so well.
The castle at the entrance sets the tone, you’re impressed before you even get in there. And it continues, the rides tend to be bigger and better. The thing that impressed me the most was how they were themed and integrated. It didn’t feel like a disparate collection of attractions thrown together, rather a fantasy land that had grown up, all part of the same organic creation.
The only minus points we personally gave it was when our daughter managed to get a splinter. The first aid ‘Lady’ was a typical Parisian, arrogant and rude, whilst looking like a fashion model.
Its funny though how people’s perceptions can be skewed. Not long after we had been another friend took his family. He hated it, all he kept saying was how overpriced everything was. That was a bit puzzling, as the food and drink wasn’t much more than most European tourist traps. Eventually we got to the bottom of it, they like to drink, a lot, a very lot. Where we had a pint and a glass of wine with our lunch, he had 6 pints, and his wife 6 double vodka and cokes. So where we barely noticed the price of booze, they were massively upset about it.
The Religion Of Football
Now, hailing from the little North East town of Middlesbrough, I have always supported the team. Not in the usually fanatical way of North Easterners in general, I mean I don’t go to the games or anything, but I always look their results up on a Saturday night.
Anyway, what my wife didn’t tell me when she booked this trip, was that the coach came from Sunderland, one of Middlesbrough’s main football rivals, and was basically full of a chapter of their supporters club.
My daughter being young and naive, and not realising the danger she was putting us in, managed to let everyone know we supported Boro.
Jeez, I was ribbed all the way there.
On the way back the driver decided to turn the BBC World Service on. Just moments before it switched to the football results. “And we are going to the Stadium of Light, where Sunderland have just scored against Middlesbrough” announced the bloody toffee nosed git on the radio.
Like one mass hive minded organism, the entire bus rose up and started chanting at me, “We have scored a goal, we have scored a goal.” the excitement was palpable.
A Bit Premature
It was also a bit premature.
“The score is now Sunderland 2, Middlesbrough 4.” Announced the reporter from the Stadium. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. They would either be good sports as those in the North East generally are. Or we were about to be ripped limb from limb.
As it was, the hive mind was still in evidence. The entire bus sat down together and looked out of the window. You could have heard a pin drop for most of the journey home.
When they dropped me off at home and the bus set off, I ran after it screaming “four two, four two”
Those at the back held up two fingers so they must have got part of the message.
In fairness I grew up in Sunderland, and it’s all part of a friendly rivalry between the Noth East teams.
But Boro are the best.