Posted by sean on September 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm in Ventures Outside Of Bath with No Comments


The last five days, I have been on holiday in Butlins, Minehead. It was a cheap, budget holiday. But with a wedding to pay for, including a cruise as a honeymoon, we have to save and plan ahead. Instead of updating my blog while I was away (and letting potential burglars know the house was empty), I wrote a few lines every day and emailed them to myself (with huge difficulty – the mobile phone symbol was awful). I’ve now stuck them all together, in a bumper edition. Below is my blog/’teenager’s diary’ of my week…

MONDAY

We have arrived at Butlins. After parking in the biggest car park in the world, we found our way to reception. The lady behind the desk informed us that she was delighted to say that we had been “specially selected” to receive an upgrade to the silver package. We were offered this upgrade by email a few weeks ago, but had to pay £25 for the privilege. Looking at the difference between the standard and silver package, it appeared the only difference is you get a microwave. You can buy a brand new microwave in the Morrisons down the road for twenty five quid. I also don’t think we were “specially” selected. They just had unsold silver apartments. OK, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but don’t act like we’ve won the lottery.

Getting to the apartment was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. We parked so far away from where we staying. It felt like over 500 miles – even The Proclaimers wouldn’t want to walk that far. It probably wasn’t that far at all, but the fact we had to move all our luggage made it a mammoth ordeal. Most of our fellow holidayers appear to be nice people, happy to keep themselves to themselves and just enjoy a budget holiday. I have, however, seen some ruffians, who I am pretty sure have appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show in the past. There are lots of small children here. Unintentionally we booked ourselves on ‘Tots Week’, which is great if you enjoy watching Bob The Builder and Dora the Explorer ever night, while walking past mountains of shit filled nappies which have been chucked into every bin on site. I suppose it could be worse. It could be an ’18 to 30 Week’, with all night raves, party-goers popping E tablet, making noise all night. ‘The 80 to 90 Week’ would be a bit of a downer too, considering there would be lots of deaths. Yes, I am rather happy here. We’ve been to Morrisons, where groceries have been purchased. I will sample the delights of Minehead’s local cuisine tomorrow.

TUESDAY

Today has been non-stop and I am knackered. We went into Minehead town for the day. While walking along the sea front, we spotted a man dressed as a pirate. We made a purpose effort to avoid him, but, along with his accomplice, he stopped us, where we had our photo taken together. I have never had my photo taken with a pirate before, so that was a first. This particular pirate was Scottish. I thought they were supposed to be all Cornish. We were then asked of we wanted to pay for the photos. Given the fact that The Scots are still ‘one of us’, I agreed, and handed over a crisp ten pound note. The pirate promised to post 3 photos to us. On hindsight, I’m wondering if I made the right decision in trusting him – HE WAS A PIRATE! WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Minehead was OK. I had to make a few phone calls, but found this almost impossible as there was hardly any signal anywhere! Cheers, Vodafone, for your crappy coverage. I would be forgiven for forgetting I was still in Somerset and not in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest, such was the lack of signal.

The Weatherspoons, whe was also disappointing. We went there for lunch. We often eat at this restaurant chain at football away games, so know what to expect. However, both my toasted cheese sandwich and Claire’s vegetarian breakfast were as dry as the driest bits of sand on the driest areas of Minehead beach.

As we had time to kill, we also looked round all the other shops, most of which are on Bath’s own town centre. We did visit the souvenir outlets, including an impressive cider shop, which Bath doesn’t have. Pathetic, Bath. Pathetic.

On the walk home, we stopped at the amusement arcade. I mean, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it. I did the traditional deed of loading a number of one pound coins into a change machine, in exchange for two pence pieces, to be used in the 2p machines. We won a couple of tokens, and found a third, which we’ll exchange for some cheap tact later in the week. After using up all our coppers, we found more loose change in other machines – clearly winnings which had been missed or just left behind. If I ever become homeless, I won’t beg or sell The Big Issue, I’ll live in an amusement arcade and help myself to all the abandoned change. I’ll probably earn more money than I do now.

Sadly, besides the tokens, we didn’t win anything..There was a small Garfield toy, painfully resting on the edge of the row of coins, but he just wouldn’t fall out, and after putting in over £5 worth of 2ps, I abandoned my attempt to win something which was probably worth 20p. We had the last laugh though. Claire won a soft toy Meerkat on the claw machine, after just a few attempts. The Meerkat is on the TV adverts and bears many similarities to Baby Oleg. Of course, this would be a major copyright infringement, so let’s just call him Baba Olog.

Tonight we have picked up a Pizza Hut takeaway and are enjoying a night in front of the TV, while looking after Baba Olog.

 

WEDNESDAY

We stayed on the Butlins site today. It was somewhat of a lazy day. The Butlins site is like a town in itself. We spent lots of time and lots and lots of money in the amusement arcade. What do we have to show for our time and collection of pennies? Two toy ducks, a little dog and a model Meerkat (I think it is another Baby Oleg rip off).

Maybe I should be aware of this! (spotted on the 2p machines)

The Amusement Arcade is in a big arena. At the other end is a stage. Some strangely dressed children’s entertainers were jumping up and down, like they had overdosed on Smarties, encouraging everyone else to join in. The problem was, nobody was even watching them. After escaping the wannabe CBBC Presenters, we went for some lunch. I chose a cheese jacket potato. The cheese and the potato wasn’t bad at all. The jacket it all came in was a bit ‘eugh’. I got the bad taste out of myself with some coffee ice cream. There is only so much you can do at Butlins, so returned to our apartment for the afternoon to recharge our metaphorical batteries. The plan is to visit a chicken grill for our evening meal. The place looks good. A lot like Nandos, but it isn’t. Like Baba Olog, this is another rip off in good old Minehead.

 

THURSDAY

The last day of our holiday, before we return to Bath. The morning began with a visit to an on site coffee shop for breakfast. While enjoying a nice, fresh coffee, we watched a live action performance of Thomas The Tank Engine. While watching a life size, talking train (with moving eyes) on stage was impressive, it was overshadowed by a The Fat Controller who sung a unforgettable song about his birthday. I would write some of the lyrics here, but I forgot what they were. I heard a disturbing rumour recently that the new episodes of Thomas have now dropped the word “Fat” from The Controller’s title, in a typical case of ‘Political Correctness Gone Mad’.

We then ventured back into the town of Minehead to buy some gifts and souvenirs from a cider and fudge shop. It was a shame the shop was a fair walk from Butlins, as more money would have been spent on barrels of ‘apple juice’. Claire got lucky in the amusements again. The same arcade where she won Baby Oleg was kind enough to allow her to win a soft pig, with “I LOVE MINEHEAD ” stitched into its body. On our return to the resort, taking inspiration from Claire’s success on the machine, I tried my hand at winning a soft toy, picking Stewie and Brian Griffin. The Family Guy characters didn’t want to be released from their cage and evaded the claw’s grip. I guess I’m not as lucky as Claire at winning things. I walked away with no cuddly toy and about £3 out of pocket.

We drank more hot drinks in the afternoon. Thomas The Tank Engine had finished on stage. Instead it was Nursery Rhymes. “Ba Ba Black Sheep” was being performed by some Butlins redcoat. This song is apparently racist (serously!?). It’s nice to see the PC Brigade hasn’t reached the gates of Butlins yet.

We’ve spent the last couple of hours packing away all our possessions, as we’re being kicked out our apartment by 10am. I don’t know what happen if we don’t leave – the Butlins Red Coats will probably turn nasty. Hopefully all these blogs have been emailed to me properly, so I can stick them all in a bumper blog on Friday. If you’re reading this, it’s worked! If you’re not reading it, it hasn’t, and I’ll be very pissed off.

 

On the whole, I had a really nice break. I must admit, I was a little sceptical, even worried, about what to expect. I had heard some real horror stories of Butlins. Reading Tripadvisor, our resort had received some awful reviews too. To be honest, I couldn’t fault the place for the price we paid. Those people leaving bad feedback could well have arrived expecting The Hilton, and were disappointed when they got basic self-catering. Would I go again? Claire and I both decided definitely yes – although not for a couple of years. Next summer, we’re on a two week Mediterranean cruise – something a little more luxurious and slightly more expensive than Butlins… I don’t think P&O offer spaces on their ships as art of ‘Sun Holidays’.

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