Blaise Tapp: Children’s ride turns out to be hair-raising

Poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined
Poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined
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It is often the case that extreme circumstances prompt folk to make life changing decisions.

Sherry on cornflakes is 
likely to prove a game 
changer for many with a drink problem as would cracking open the nipper’s piggy bank before making a trip down to the bookies.

It is fair to say that my 
nadir came in the shape of a penguin-inspired ride at a theme park.

Knowing that you’re overweight is one thing, realising that you better shift a stone or four because you have broken a fun ride aimed at children is a different thing altogether.

I should have known there was trouble on the horizon when I struggled to get even one buttock into the snug seat on the Penguins of Madagascar ride but I did not take the hint, such was my desire to please my wide-eyed five-and-a-half-year-old.

The second sign of trouble for me was being eyed suspiciously by the elegant blonde mum who had shepherded her shy youngster onto the ride, her furtive sideways glance suggesting that I was somewhat out of place on an attraction designed for under sevens. Of course, I ignored her silent jibe and strapped myself in, safe in the knowledge that this was a sedate ride and absolutely nothing could go wrong. Could it?

It wasn’t long into, what should have been, a two minute journey taking us no more than thirty feet above the ground that I began to zone out. Probably thinking about lunch or how much this particular day out was going to set me back. ‘It’s stuck’ spat the elegant blonde mum and that is when I came back to Planet Earth and realised that myself and five fellow passengers were suspended half way up a giant pole. Rather than bounce up and down, the expensive piece of technology slowly shuddered while the plucky teenage attendant below vainly tried to reassure me that it wasn’t necessarily my fault that we weren’t having the time of our lives. Our descent back to terra firma would bear comparison to a race between a disabled tortoise and a hefty pensioner on an even more ancient stairlift.

All I could do was grin at the smirking crowds below and ignore both the sniggers of my daughter and the whimper of a two-year-old whose day I had just ruined.

This was a new low for me, my very own skirt in the knickers moment, and one when I realised that 19 stone is probably as heavy as a man who doesn’t do weights should ever be.

The resolve is now there and the promise has been made that I will shift more than one fifth of my body weight.

Forget bathroom scales, ‘fat photos’ or the disappearance of one’s feet, the one sure-fire way of guaranteeing that somebody will go on a diet is to ensure that others face the humiliation I did on a family day out.

Why not take your mum for afternoon tea?

Caroline Verdon: I’m not the only one who does stuff just for show