The Lightwater Valley Tour

All aboard the Satsuma Express to a land of excitement and fun where dinosaurs watch you as you enter through the gates guarded by an army of drones. Their leader, an endearing chap who looks as if he spends his spare time in a Pearl Jam tribute band, welcomes us in with his decievingly cheerful rhetoric. “Are you guys ready for a good time?” he asks us as we approach the colourful entrance; we begrugingly agree and proceed.

We part with funds and cross over into a surreal market littered with aggressive little colourful birds. The first port of call is the Claw; a mischievous contraption that picks us up and swings as back and forth like a pendulum. The crowd go wild; we keep moving.

We drift slowly towards a maze of water. The raft takes us round and round in a perpetual spiral of splashes and shivers. We escape, unharmed but soaked.

The day continues as we ride our way across the park. We stop to feed on sustenance so dry it could turn our mouths into an ideal terrain for camels. The slow munching only motivates us to power on.

We approach a monster, The Ultimate, or so it says. A long stretching coaster that takes you deep into the dark trenches of the forest. This monster is decieving though; it appears tame to begin with but it is quick, powerful and sadistic enough to decapitate a deer. It takes us on a wild journey of twists and turns, ups and downs, with the pungent smell of horse manure greeting you at every corner.

But we have not yet met our fate, for the Claw’s older brother awaits us. A menacing contraption, built with colours and glitter, it picks you up and spins you in every direction. Our stomachs are thrown into our lungs, and our lungs are crushed against our rib cages like animals desperately trying to escape captivity. Our joyful laughter turns to screaming agony and cries for help. It will never end……..

We escape, unsoaked but harmed. We must take it easy. We find a lake with a circus full of pretty white swans. We approach the port where a family slowly exits, dazed smiles on their faces as if they are determined to have fun but are secretly dying inside. Their ringleader, a sarcastic chap with a piercing laugh that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, jibes us before he unleashes our swan into the lake. We ride around aimlessly for some time, enjoying the tranquility of our current location.

We are spotted! What are we doing? An auburn man calls us back to the port. We paddle around frantically, deciding whether to ditch the swan or return it and face the wrath of the auburn man. We return, our hearts racing; he reels us in and sets us free. An anticlimax, a relief.

We apporach the ship, operated by a scallywag of the highest calibre. He leads us onto the ship as if we are about to walk the plank. It swings, but it swings too far. The blood in our body rushes to our head and our eyeballs expand, trying to burst through our skulls. He let’s us go again, like we had a bloody choice. The same thing happens again, except this time he tortures us further. Our bodies are starting to crumble, our ability to continue deteriorating; but we do anyway.

The magic wheel is next; a rotating circle which takes you to new dimensions. This is what we needed, to close our eyes and and get taken through a variety of colours like a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The wheel ends; we feel elated, yet deluded.

We return to rides we had once visited, but this time more intense. The Claw’s older brother grabs a hold of us again and takes us through an ordeal with the motive to make us chunder. We resist to vomit, but we are now weak and vulnerable. The monster, he wasn’t going to let us leave without saying goodbye. The twists and turns, the ups and downs, the vicious knee bashing, the exploding flies and of course the vile stench of shit landing in our defenceless gobs and resting on our tongues.

We escape, and wobble back to the Satsuma Express. The eery sound of fun is played over the tanoys as we exit the gates and head for the car park. Pearl Jam says goodbye, knowing by the exhausted looks on our faces that we will soon return.

Jonathan Pickles


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