For the last day of her easter holidays I took Elspeth to Chessington. Unfortunately I had no leave left, so started work at the crack of dawn in order to enable us to take off at around 3pm. Chessington was open until 8pm that day, and Elspeth wanted to see what the rides were like in the dark, so this suited us all around.

Now I once persuaded Elspeth, slightly against her better judgement, to have a go on Stealth at Thorpe Park.

John and Elspeth on Stealth

It's a Kodak moment

Although the resulting photo was a classic (even Elspeth agreed) the poor girl was pretty much terrified out of her wits. This wasn’t a mistake I was going to make again. So after we’d done the Rattlesnake, which she loves, and been in to Lorikeet Lagoon to feed the Rainbow Lorikeets, we stopped for a warming hot chocolate and discussed our options. Entirely of her own volition she decided to have a go at The Kobra.

The status display was saying that the queue was 70 minutes, but it soon became clear that it was going to be nearer 50 – still quite long enough. With about 10 minutes to go Elspeth started to look worried.

“We can leave the queue if you want.” I offered, but this was quickly turned down. If we left we’d have to join another humongous queue somewhere else, and that would be a wasted of good ride time. By the time we’d got in to the final cattle pen prior to boarding she was in tears. In vain I tried to assure her that it was no worse than the tea-cup ride, and didn’t swing up as high as the pirate boat, so I hugged her to me and we trekked on board.

About 20 seconds in to the ride the tears disappeared and a huge smile broke out, and about 20 seconds after the ride stopped we were heading around to the back of the queue – now thankfully diminished – for a second go.

“That’s my new favourite ride at Chessington!” she declared as we headed off for home.