We arrived on Friday afternoon and stayed in a wooden bungalow, with all the mod-cons, fixtures and fittings: Jacuzzi, Steam room, heated floors, all bedrooms en-suite... it was wonderful. The steamer was a large cubicle, shaped like a quarter circle, pushed in to the corner of the room, surrounded with plastic see-through panels. In this cubicle, the steam inlet pipe was at the bottom, near the floor. There was a shower hose at the top, which could be lifted down and used by hand, and all around the walls and ceiling were little sprinklers. My wife and I had never been in a steam room – so, in a jolly mood with our swim wear on, and the rest of our party out for a few hours, we ‘had a go’. After the steam nearly melted our faces, we needed to cool down, so we decided to switch the steam off and have a shower in the same cubicle. There were two shower dials on the wall: one to adjust the water temperature and one to adjust which of the jets sprayed water. The options were: shower on, shower on with side wall sprinklers, or shower on with side wall and ceiling sprinklers. Well... what a laugh! As soon as I put the sprinklers on, we were blasted, noisily, everywhere by ice-cold water; stormed at by water cannons to the right of us, water cannons to the left of us, water cannons in front of us, they volleyed and thundered; by this time, we were screaming like two kids! Then, in a fluster, with my eyes iced up like two slush-puppies, I reached out franticly, trying to find the temperature dial; I found it and turned it, and we were instantly blasted with super-hot water! More screaming! Ha! Ha! It seemed there were only two temperatures, hot or cold, with no regulator! When my brain woke up a bit, I somehow managed to reach out and switch the dials completely off... phew! It was the laughing that relaxed us more than anything, ha-ha!
Much later, after cutting the cake, and yet more yummy food... we lads went to archery, while the girls went to their chosen hobbies - time passes quickly when you're having fun. Then, when we all met up, we decided to play 18 holes of crazy golf... it was great fun! The setting was King Arthur - with a round table, the sword in the stone, etc. There was even a big sign, proclaiming, “King Arthur’s Camp.” Oh, matron!
There were other activities on our agenda, but the weekend of fun at Center Parcs passed quickly, and soon it was time to leave. We handed in the keys, and headed straight for the nearby Longleat Safari Park. The grounds are huge! As we travelled around, some of our group recognised some of the park wardens from their appearances on TV... some of them even waved at us... how good’s that? It’s odd, but all the lions seemed like big, cuddly, soft toys… but the big sharp claws and pointy teeth put us off wanting to stroke them.
As I looked up at the top of Longleat House, I saw a big, hairy face at the window; I’m not sure if it was Lord Bath, or if he keeps lions up there.
We called to see Charles Darwin’s ancestors at Longleat, but found that the ape house was closed for refurbishment - but I think it was so the apes could have a cup of tea and push some pianos around for a laugh... and why not? It keeps them off the streets.
After looking around Longleat Safari Park, we headed back home on the 3 hour journey, stopping for refreshments on the way. What a lovely birthday weekend.