Monday, August 28, 2006

It isn't just the Flamingoes that are pink...

We went to Flamingoland over Bank Holiday weekend. It has recently been featured on telly as "Theme Park" and we recognised the owner moving round the site (who we briefly spoke to) as well as one of the casual staff, a bloke who was seen at the interview asking if he was able to smoke.

I was intriegued about a new accommodation block that had been shown on the telly, many of the rooms had ill-placed girders getting in the way. I eventually twigged that a former scary walk through that I had never managed to get into had been converted so I guess you take the girders as you find them...

They have a new rollercoaster called Kumani but my sorry saga begins at Velocity, their new for 2005 ride.

It is a launched coaster a bit like Alton Towers' "Rita" but it is themed as Motorbikes. I have been conscious of being a rather snug fit at both Alton Towers and Drayton manor this year- the site of several operators pushing on my restraints to make them click has become all too common. This was repeated on velocity, which is a sit-on pretend motorbike which you pull on the handlebars and a back pad sandwiches you in. They gave me a good squashing on despatch but assured me that I wasn't too big for the ride.

The ride is fairly simple, you coast round to a launch position and the train attaches itself to an aircraft carrier style catapult driven by a substantial steel wire rope, accompanied by bike revving noises. On launch, the catapult rapidly accelerates you up to 67mph and then you disengage, rushing round loops, swirls and bunny hops back to the station some 45 seconds later.

That was when the trouble started. When the train stopped, the mechanism disengaged and everyone got off... except me. Mine didn't release, presumably because I was squashed in without enough play for the ratchet to disengage. All of the platform staff came across and started pushing, pulling and poking in an effort to free me. Crimson with embarassment, Karen led David off the platform to go and look at the ride photo. Meanwhile, several hundred people queueing for the ride were watching with interest. visions of them having to call first the engineering team and then the fire brigade flashed before my eyes. Sooner or later, one of them would reach for the radio and announce a code 42- Ride down, fat bastard stuck on the train, bring goose grease and large spanners.

Then, unexpectedly, there was a soft click and if freed up. I extricated myself from the saddle to a ragged cheer from the onlookers. I gave my audience a swift bow and went down the exit ramp to look at the photo.

Had I been stuck another couple of minutes longer, I no doubt would have been given a round of applause. Thank heavens for one thing- ITV weren't filming that day!

No comments: