Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Going Dutch

People often say that we Brits have quite a lot in common with the Dutch. We’re both big footballing nations, both with a background of problems with violent and nationalistic football supporters. We both have a history of embarrassing colonialism, we both still have royal families, although they’re pointless (at least ours draws the tourists, though), and we’re both inherently conservative politically. The mistake is often made of viewing the Dutch as liberal hippies because they have a policy of tolerance to soft drugs and prostitution in Amsterdam, but actually that’s wrong.

The other thing we have in common with the Dutch is Center Parcs. You may not know it but Centre Parcs was actually invented in Holland, in the 1960s. It was a successful operation there for twenty years until it opened in Sherwood Forest in 1987. Today, according to the company literature, Center Parcs “has become synonymous with the provision of an exceptional short break experience in a forest location.” They’re nothing if not specific.

Anyway, let me tell you what I think Center Parcs is synonymous with, having now been there. Center Parcs is synonymous with one Barry Newsdesk getting BACK IN THE SADDLE. And I’m not talking about one of those cheap mountain bikes you see the smiley people riding in those adverts (the adverts lie about lots of stuff, by the way, readers), I’m talking about what my anagrammatic friend Mr Coleman might describe as “Hip enema? Ok. Ow!”

If you’re interested in the kind of leisure activities we got up to, then check out the center parcs website. It’s all on there. But if you’re interested in the kind of pleasure activities we got up to, well…

What can I tell you readers, after dinner on the final night me and Gill wondered back to our cabin. We’d got on really well during the meal, although she insisted on talking about what a great guy Roger is. But I was the bigger person and I didn’t let it bother me. Instead I did what you’re supposed to do when women are talking; I listened. I listened attentively and I asked pertinent questions at sympathetic intervals. These questions served two purposes. First, they allowed me to subtly prove that I was listening and second they enabled me to encourage her to further open up to me. In more ways than one.

It was brilliant. We shared a bottle of wine, and got them to give us another one to take back to the cabin. I didn’t try and hold hands with her on the way back to the cabin, but we were very close together. And the mood wasn’t spoiled by the big argument that was going on in the cabin opposite ours as we went in the door.

Back inside, I whipped out the new portable speakers that I’d bought for my iPod and enlisted the help of my trusty trio: Mr M. Gaye, and the brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo. Boy, do those three know how to get a girl in the mood!

At this point, readers, I will employ something that us writers like to call ‘Authorial Distance’. This is something that we use to pull back from a situation, as if a camera were panning away. It gives the subjects of the story their privacy, while leaving readers in no doubt as to what is happening. It was used by Jane Austen quite a lot, when she wasn’t wibbling on about men having “an fine countenance, some twenty thousand a year and an estate at Blitherington.” Amazing what you can remember when you’re in full romantic flight.

Anyway, this much I’ll tell you. When all was said and done (half way through What’s Goin’ On? But it’s been a while) and I politely enquired as to her enjoyment, she sighed and said “it was just like it always was.”

Check me out! I’ve still got the moves. I must have tired her out because she fell asleep straight away. So I put out the light. I even took her shoes off for her.

Gill was really quiet on the drive home, but I guess, like me, she had a lot of thinking to do. I’m sure I speak for us both when I say it kind of took us by surprise. Still, I feel really good, people.

Peace and love BN


  1. He's washing dishes and baby clothes
    He's so ambitious he even sews
    But don't forget folks, that's what you get folks
    For Makin' Whoopee

  2. PS Anagram of BACK IN THE SADDLE - "Satan beheld dick!" Now if that's not some kind of warning!!!

  3. Glad you had a great time. Now I really wanna try Center Parcs ! With Cheryl maybe ? lol