Archive for category Soiled Nappy Award

Swimming – Heroes and Villains

Recently I wrote a post about Boy’s first swimming strokes. Sadly, after that he went a bit backwards. He was still with the same swimming school that had got him to take off the armbands but they had to change pool and he hated the new pool. I thought this a bit odd but apparently it happens quite a lot. He went back in to his shell, became the old, scared Boy that didn’t want to go to swimming lessons. This was a shame I thought. I love swimming. I bang on about it a bit. Time in the water, for me is about fun AND fitness, giving your whole body a workout. And man alive, does my flabby butt need a workout. Whirlwind has found water immense fun since she was 5 days old. We suspect her of being a mermaid. I wanted him to get a fraction of that joy in his life.

We despaired a bit and then my wife found out about MXT swimming. On Saturday morning we took him for a half hour assessment, one on one.

I can’t tell you what happened because my wife took him while I stayed home to stop Whirlwind putting her toys in the oven. When he came home he was beaming. He told me he and Mario ‘had been a dolphin’. Then he said ‘Daddy, tomorrow when we go swimming do you want to see me swim underwater?’. I nearly fell over backwards. He was raving and happy and I agreed we’d go to the pool the next day, all of us. Then I remembered I was out that night with the Dads Club at his school and we had planned a very large one. Ooops.

The next day I had the sort of hangover that makes you feel like you’ve been dug up. It’s a good job my wife always does the driving because she was definitely doing the driving that morning. We drive because we go to Burgess Hill because it has a leisure pool that’s suitable for both of them (of which more in a bit). I managed to get changed without throwing up, got my gear in a locker at the 57th attempt and joined my family in the pool. Boy insisted on no arm bands, walked straight to the side of the pool and swam to me in a perfect, flat as a pancake, crawl with his head in the water. Then he did the same breaststroke. Then he tried diving in.

Neither of us could believe what Mario achieved in just half an hour! We are booking him in for four weeks of intense one on one at we think he’ll be swimming further and further after every session. I haven’t even met the guy and yet he is my ultimate swim hero already. Move over Michael Phelps.

Sadly there’s a villain too. The Burgess Hill pool is run by Freedom Leisure and they have just closed it for essential maintenance. For a month. It will be closed from today until the 29 December. We are prepaid members but on a swim only basis and guess what is the one thing we can’t do now? We naturally assumed they would suspend our membership for a month but no, they are taking our money even though we can’t use the facilities we are paying for. This would be bad at any other time of year but in the run up to Christmas it is outrageous.

They did say we could swim at 2 other pools but these are at Hayward’s Heath and Crawley, much further away, and pools the children don’t know (remember it was the POOL that freaked Boy out rather than his other school). Freedom have 2 pools in Brighton and Hove but they won’t transfer us to be able to use these so we have to pay again (to the same company) if we want to use them! And then there’s the fact that all their other Burgess Hill customers will be using the other pools as well as their own regulars.

I understand that a pool has to be deep cleaned from time to time and that there is a general clause that you may be unable to use it when it is in the membership. But a whole month? Including holiday times. REALLY? Shocking.

So while Mario is my hero Freedom are my villains. In fact for services to child unfriendliness they win my second ever soiled nappy award.

Disclaimer 1 – I have not been sponsored to write this and I have no connection with MXT.

Disclaimer 2 – Swimming after a night on Jaeger Bombs is neither big not clever.


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The Inaugural Soiled Nappy Award

I have noticed that other bloggers occasionally give out badges and awards. I’m still learning WordPress so this is not an actual badge but I have decided to create an award. Specifically, the Soiled Nappy award for the most thoughtless, idiotic, incompetent or just plain weird examples of child and parent un-friendliness. Today someone earned the inaugural one. And it goes to *fanfare*…

McDonalds in Churchill Square Brighton

The Soiled Nappy Award

If I was going to run a refreshment area / cafe / restaurant mainly for families here’s what I would NOT do.

  1.  Locate it right at the top of a shopping centre so that people with prams and buggies can only reach it by lift. Then provide one lift holding 2 buggies
  2. Have about 3 fucking tables actually inside the joint leaving the rest of the inside to be taken up with the queues caused by dubious food preparation methods and staff with a fairly weak grasp of English
  3. Have half the tables outside have bench seats 3 feet high that any child under 7 could easily topple over backwards off, hitting their head on a hard floor after a 3 foot fall like one did today.
  4. Hide the high chairs
  5. Have the high chair hidey hole in a place that people have to block with their buggies because there is nowhere else to put said buggies.
  6. Locate the toilets not in store, but a half mile route march away. Always works well with a desperate / potty training child that.
  7. Send cleaning teams in to the buggy park / high chair hidey-hole area just as everyone with buggies and high chairs is trying to leave.

Look, I know McDonalds are an easy target, that maybe they’re supposed to be like that. No matter. It is without doubt the worst designed place that is trying to attract children I have ever known. They have actually done me a favour. We rarely say ‘no’ to Boy and Baby. Anything that is safe for them in reasonable quantities is allowed but only in reasonable quantities. We’ve never hid them from fast food, just ensured it is strictly rationed.

Today I took baby to Gymboree which is also in the shopping centre while Boy was supposed to go with his Mum to the Sealife Centre. The Sealife Centre was closed so she came and met me and by way of a make up we allowed him to choose lunch. He chose McDonalds. He won’t be allowed to again, that is my very last time in that place ever.

Here you go Churchill Square and McDonalds. Have a Soiled Nappy award. Now wash your hands.



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