Friday, 4 November 2011

Nick Cave and The Bad Parents - what not to do in the Peak District with two young children

WORLD EXCLUSIVE – “musodad in blogging about something other than music shocker!”  You can see the front pages of the newspapers tomorrow already, can’t you?! (Or maybe page 54, hidden within the classified section).
So why the change in direction? Well, in true music industry style, sometimes you need to diversify or get left behind.  As much as I love them, if Oasis (“oh bloody hell – I didn’t think he was going to talk about music!”) had experimented a bit more, they might still be around today.  It’s good to keep things fresh and keep on moving – a bit like The Littlest Hobo.
So anyway, here is my first non-music related blog post (*takes deep breath*), which incidentally has a few music references in it anyway!
Last Friday, my wife and I took our kids (aged 4 and 11 months) down a cave in the Peak District.  You’ve probably guessed by now that the cave wasn’t called ‘Nick’, it was in fact called ‘Speedwell’. 'The Bad Parents' are my wife and I. 
My wife and I had been down a couple of the caves there on previous visits (pre-kids) but had never experienced Speedwell – the one with the boat – as the queues are usually massive.  Today though we were in luck - we were first in the queue!
Just before we went in, spirits were high and we were beaming at the thought of ‘going underground’ (by The Jam).  O. was a little scared but our excitement soon rubbed off on her.
An hour later, on breathing the fresh Derbyshire air again, our thoughts had turned from ‘this is going to be brilliant’ to ‘what the hell were we thinking?!!’
Now, I don’t know if you’ve been down Speedwell Cavern but when you first go in you have to descend 106 steps – ‘easy peasy’ we thought.  However, when the ceiling is as low as it was, it’s bloody difficult to negotiate with two kids!  While I held O’s hand, my wife carried C.  All the adults were given hard hats but the kids weren’t and poor C. had no protection from the unlevel, sharp rock sticking out of the ceiling (Bad Parenting example 1).
Once we had descended the stairs we came to the boat – it held about 20 people.  We were still in a positive mood at this point, looking forward to seeing some cavernous erm…caverns with stalactites of all shapes and sizes.  Just to let you know – these were a bit rubbish! 
The tour guide sat at the front of the boat and literally had to push us down the river using the cave ceiling and walls to help the boat along.  Again there was a lot of head ducking to be done. 
At this point C. was getting restless so we plied her with rice cakes, and then a rice cake dropped on the floor of the boat – nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!  Then, she wanted to stand up but she wasn’t wearing shoes (Bad Parenting example 2) so her socks got all soggy!  It was horrendous – and there was no escape!  The tour guide then told us the boat trip would last about an hour – nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! (again).
Eventually, after about 20 minutes, we made it to the other end of the river where we got out and the people who were already there stole our boat and we had to wait for the next one.  As the boat was a bit wobbly on disembarking, I handed O. to the tour guide and he put her down on safe ground.  I then handed him C. and he tried to stand her up without support on unlevel cavernous ground! (Bad Parenting example 3 – don’t ever hand your 11 month old to a tour guide with no kids!)  Luckily I got there just in time to catch her!
Anyway, we stayed at the ‘not as impressive as other caverns I have visited’ cavernous bit for another 20 minutes, were shown about 6 really tiny stalactites and a flat (!) stalagmite – and then it was time to get back in the boat and go back.  And for some reason (the tour guide did explain why but I can’t remember cause my head was so numb!) it was bloody freezing on the way back!
We made it back to the stairs eventually and then had to walk back up them all until we finally made it back to street level and breathed a sigh of relief.  FREEDOM!!!!!!!
Would I recommend it?  Of course - it's an experience you're not going to get in many places, just please leave any kids under the age of 4 in the world above (accompanied by someone, of course).
So there you have it, my first non-music related post.  Hope you enjoyed it.  If you think I should stick to music, then please don't hesitate to let me know.

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  1. You're not a bad parent! I have done something similar twice in fact, but you do it with the best intentions! I agree that caves and mines are better for older children!!

  2. As soon as I saw your post title I had an inkling that it might be about Speedwell Cavern! My parents took me and my brother (then aged 6) down there years ago. I thought it was brilliant, but my brother was terrified, as was my claustrophobic mother, and there were many head bumps on treacherous rocks. They took comfort in the fact that another set of Bad Parents had taken their kids down there as well, only one of their kids screamed for the entire time in sheer terror.

  3. Thanks for the comments Nikki and Lise. It's good to know we're not the only ones who have done it!

  4. Brilliant! This is the type of thing that I'd do: "Yeah, come on, it'll be fun! What do you mean it's 100 feet underground? It's a Christmas Grotto, of course it's underground! And we'll get to meet Santa too! And they've got a market so it won't be too treacherous surely?!"

    Oh hang on, that is something I'm going to do. Next Saturday.

    Ah, wish me luck!

    Thanks for linking up to ShowOff ShowCase for the first time (please could you add the badge, via the html code, to the bottom of the post?)

  5. Ha ha - just the sort of thing I would do. You need to show your kids things that are a bit different sometimes and where is the fun in being safe??

  6. I bet the kids loved it! It's exactly the kind of thing my husband would persuade me was a good idea . . . and I'd probably listen and then curse him later! I think any kind of day trip is hard work with little ones anyway! x

  7. Thanks for your comments all and thanks for visiting my blog. If you look at my latest blog post - "O. darling, there ain't no appeasing you", you'll read about when we travelled with our eldest (then 11 months) up the West Coast of America - that was even more challenging than the caves!! TheBoyandMe - good luck on Saturday, you have to blog about it!

  8. Now that sounds entirely like the kind of situation that we would get ourselves into! Great post, had me chuckling, and I loved the music references! Thanks for joining us over at Loveallblogs Travel again this week, tis much appreciated! Emma :)

  9. Yay, more bad parents! Just tell yourself you're creating memories for them and that as long as it doesn't warrant therapy in future years, it's all good!

    From a mother who kind of inadvertently waterboarded her 12 year old last weekend...