Let’s start with the facts.
I’m 44, in 41 days I will be 45. Despite being a regular attendee at a CrossFit gym, I still have what can only be described as a rotund shape. Plus, I am much fitter in my head than I am in my body.
But yet, for the third time in almost as many weeks, I found myself once again sweating in a buoyancy aid, with my dress size gleefully externally described on a sticker, awaiting an ascent to an inflatable water park. Because Britain has decided to compete with Africa with the weather, I couldn’t even entertain the idea of peeling my bottom into a wetsuit, so instead I stood, in my 4 year old swimsuit, breasts shoved together with a plastic buckle giving the look of Pamela Anderson whilst the reality when the buckle was released was more Plutos ears.
I was not alone. In fact I had an army of women hurtling through their 40’s as teamies. Unfortunately we also had our teenage children who sprang from obstacle to inflatable like gazelles, as we slipped, beached, and basically crawled around a massive balloon on a lake.
There were many low moments, my best friends boyfriend impaled my head on his arse during an awkward meeting with a “bubble” (think giant bubble, coating in fairy liquid for extra slip and you get the gyst.)
I took on an obstacle, five vertical tubes with only one handle on each side, where you had to move around each to the next. I took my time, each time wrapping my frame around the tube, legs akimbo as if it were a giant pleasure toy. My arms embraced it with a furious passion, hugging it the way you would cling to a loved one as they departed forever.
Finally, I made it from one side to the other without falling (as I had, many times) into the dark lake filled with other tumbling forty something year old bodies.
I was elated, ecstatic, excited to have achieved something on this giant blow up doll.
As I sat, panting on my inflatable float, silently patting myself on my back – I then watched as a six year old jumped on, leapt between each tube with ease and bounced past me in less than 4 seconds without even pausing to breath.
I on the other hand, continued to exhale like I was crank calling for a further ten minutes.
I refused to quit.
Dragging or being dragged – it all merges into one, I found myself on top of a slide, at least 40 metres high which dropped vertically into the water.
Like the bad ass I am, I slid down towards certain doom, bricked it halfway down and raised my legs to a seated position and hit the water with a clap of thunder as my arse met the surface with anger which was rewarded with a smack.
It will be days before I sit down without a cushion.
At one point the kids screamed, “mum – we need you,” My friend and I set off like Michael Phelps through the water. To an onlooker it may have looked like two OAPS with zimmer frames crossing the road, but to us, we were a danger on the road, speeding through the water like a shark moving for its next kill.
Our kids needed us.
When we got to the source of the sound, our teenage boys grinned, turned out they were trying to bounce a kid off a cushion into the water and needed our bulk to make it more impressive.
Have never been more wanted for my belly.
This however, did eventually lead to my head being submerged between two buttocks after some wise crack yelled “pile on”; and I really feel I am shorter than before, meaning my BMI is even more compromised, as I could do with being taller for my weight, not shorter.
I left that water and all of my dignity stayed in it. The memory of my swimsuit gusset hitting my tonsils after yet another slide will stay with me for life.
As I tried to clamber out to the side, when the boy child life guard finally blew the final whistle, my swimsuit rode up one way and down the other. No sexy emerging from the water here, instead I was the twin of Ursula without the make – up crawling out of the black lagoon.
I felt it was dramatic to lie on the deck grateful for the chance to live another day; but I did it anyway…
Holidays in Cornwall – never a dull moment, and never a trip where at some point I don’t have to retrieve my swimmers from my anus.
Bring on tomorrow and all the adventures it will bring.