This week I made my biggest fathering error yet. I didn’t think it would present itself in the form it did, but I’ve learnt my lesson. I mean it; I’ve really learnt it.

What with it being midweek and somewhat overcast, we thought we’d take the boy to the Sea Life Centre. He literally loved visiting the one (unnamed) locally a few months back, and we assumed that the one further afield one would be equally as good for our fish loving child.

It was as we were being fiercely lashed by the sea wind as we waited to enter the underwhelming emporium that I realised all was not as it should have been. As we waited in line, the goal of the automatic doors seemed to take forever to reach. Considering there was about 7 people in the line, I couldn’t understand what the hold up was… nothing apparently.

After being subject to other parents’ conversations about baby shit and potty training, we’d made it to the relative safety of the cash desk. As I parted with twenty four of my finest English pound Stirling, I was hoping for an underwater adventure full of aquatic delights. In truth I just wanted to see some of those cool little fluorescent fish, maybe a shark, but mostly I wanted to see the boy’s face when the fish dart around; he loves that.

Within seconds of the entrance to the main attraction, I was stopped and shouted at by a three year old girl, who exclaimed needed to go in before us…er nah love, I’m the adult and your Ma is back there, ergo we’re first. That wasn’t the end of it of course. We were stuck with the little leach all the way round. Chasing and hounding me as I tried to look at the fish with the baby. “I’m in front now!” Yea good for you pal, go and play with that crocodile.


It was hell. A cacophony of screaming children and parents hung an overwhelming soundtrack over the scenes of buggy-based mayhem. Children hitting the tanks, strollers clashing and crashing – all in all, I’m just glad we made it out alive.


With the world seemingly ending around us, we did our best to enjoy the fish, who quite frankly looked depressed (or scared shitless depending on the number of feral bearings knocking on their tank). The baby was giving me the “leave a bad review on TripAdvisor” eyes, voicing his disappointment in the variety of sea-life… well that’s how I interpreted his intermittent smiles anyway. There was more marine diversity at Pets at Home.


We left 17 minutes after entering, fractionally more deaf and significantly poorer. The combination of lairy children and aggressive parents has taught me you need to plan half-term activities carefully. In future, I’m avoiding any family based attraction on an overcast day until I’m an OAP who can get discount…then I would be less begrudging. Hopefully.