Are We Nearly There Yet? with author Adele Parks - family days out in Surrey
- Credit: Archant
Surrey Life’s brand new columnist, best-selling author Adele Parks, convinces a frazzled friend and twins to accompany her on a trip to Bocketts Farm near Leatherhead
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2017
“Are we nearly there yet?” One of the most irritating phrases a parent has to endure, up there with “she/he started it”.
My son is 16; it strikes me that we are nearly there, in terms of launching him into adulthood. I was given a timely reminder of just how far we’ve come when I spent a day with my friend and her twin six-year-olds. She’d been moaning that she was frazzled and her recent move from London to Southampton had left her feeling a bit at sea (excuse the pun). She grumpily complained that I wouldn’t understand. “Surrey is practically London, but green,” she said. I felt duty bound to share my cornucopia of good fortune and invited her for the weekend.
I thought it would be a brilliant idea to visit Bocketts Farm – a firm favourite for my son when he was younger and who doesn’t love squishy play areas and ponies? The obvious bonus of keeping the boys out of my home was startlingly apparent to me and, no doubt, my Frazzled Friend. I dismissed the idea of packing a picnic, promising the delights of the tea room at Bocketts.
We had not travelled 100 yards before Twin One asked, without any sense of irony, “Are we nearly there yet?” Twin Two was not to be outdone, “I’m bored”. I started to wax lyrical about the delights that were instore: animal feeding, pig racing and goat milking. “Any Pokémon?” asked Twin One. “No,” I admit. “Or Ninjas?” asked Twin Two. “There is a tractor, you can have a ride on that,” I said. They eyed me shiftily and picked up their iThingies.
A tense birth
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I crossed my fingers that the working farm had held its charms a decade on. And oh my, yes it had. Besides the fact they could, and did, run around like mad things on the indoor soft play area and outdoor adventure area until they were hot and sweaty, there were numerous other things available to entertain them. The Pokémon hunting ninjas cast aside their iThingies to feed baby animals, bounce on trampolines and dress scarecrows. We were even ‘fortunate’ enough to see a lamb being born. It’s tenser than you’d imagine. Undignified for the ewe and not for the squeamish (which I am). “Why is that man putting his hand up the sheep’s bum?” demanded Twin One, causing his brother to squeal with laughter. “To help the lamb,” I replied vaguely. “Why?” “Why what?” “Why does that help. I wouldn’t think it was a help.” I offered to buy ice creams as a diversion. We stayed six hours, which gave Frazzled Friend time enough to un-wrinkle her forehead and declare the outing good value for money. We drove home in silence, Frazzled Friend no doubt contemplating a well-earned glass of wine, the boys exhausted and content.
“It’s called membrane, you know. Not goo,” commented Twin One. “The farmer lady told me.” He looked at his brother, covered in smears of ice cream and mud. “Membrane face,” he giggled.