About five years ago, long before the arrival of, “Biscuit,” I had an equally frequent tic. I would say, “Good afternoon Legoland Windsor,” as well as just, “Lego,” hundreds of times a day. The Lego era lasted a long time and was as strongly associated with me as “Biscuit” is now.
It’s been slowly creeping back recently, so after all this involuntary promotion, I finally decided to go to Legoland as a birthday treat. So, along with Leftwing Idiot, Fat Sister, Poppy, Bunny, Fran and Sophie, I headed to Windsor.
I was excited to be leaving London for a day out with my friends to a place that’d featured so heavily in our lives.
While Lego’s dropped off as a regular tic it still re-surfaces every now and again, and our arrival at the park prompted a whole range of new tics:
“Welcome to Legoland Windsor please insert Benjamin Britten after the tone.”
“Welcome to Legoland Windsor please insert four bears after the tone.”
“Hello Legoland Windsor welcome to my day.”
We collected our access guide from Freddy – a very welcoming member of the Legoland staff. He gave me a hand stamp to indicate I have a disability. It meant we could take the quickset route onto rides – through the exit – with the additional advantage of avoiding the queues.
The first ride we went on was a river splash ride in Viking Land. I got out of my wheelchair and Leftwing Idiot helped me down the steps to the ride where a member of staff greeted us. She was friendly but seemed sceptical as to whether I’d be able to go on the ride or not. She said that for the ride I’d need to have upper and lower body control. I explained that I had a bit of both albeit somewhat intermittently. She said I had to be able to walk unassisted and asked me to walk across the platform to prove I could walk. Leftwing Idiot responded immediately by asking to speak to the manager.
The man in charge of the ride quickly appeared and talked to us. He did a pragmatic risk assessment and explained why I’d need to be able to walk unassisted. He showed us short narrow walkway at the end of the ride and said we would need to be able to get out from there if the ride stopped for any reason. We said we were confident we’d be alright because there was a grab rail and it was only a very short distance. The manager was happy with this and let us on to enjoy the ride.
After that we headed to the dragon roller coaster, which I loved. As it got started I kept ticcing, “The tension’s building!” Afterwards I told Leftwing Idiot how much I’d enjoyed it because of all the greenery. He looked at me quizzically and said, “There wasn’t any greenery anywhere.” I was just going to tell him about all the trees I’d seen when I realised I’d had my eyes shut for most of the ride. I sheepishly admitted this, which made us both laugh.
Much to my delight there were several water based rides including a log flume, which I went on with Sophie, Poppy and Fat Sister. It was a meandering ride ending in a sudden drop through deep water that creates a big, dramatic spray. Amazingly, I didn’t over react at all on this ride. Admittedly, this was because I was having a ‘ticcing fit’ that lasted from start to finish. It was one of the strangest places I’ve ever had a fit in and, much to everyone else’s disappointment, it established that suddenly being drenched with water doesn’t snap me out of it.
I went on more scary rides today than I’ve been on in my life. My mum took me on a small Ferris Wheel when I was about eight, I totally freaked out and tried to jump. Understandably, this made us both a little reluctant to go on rides involving any sort of height or tension. I’m glad that despite my tendency to over react, I was able to go on all the rides and stay entirely safe.
It was wonderful to spend the day hanging out with people I love in a place that my tics love.