Boots don’t sell boots and theme parks generally don’t have a theme (with the exception of Disneyland); instead choosing to align themselves with whatever is the current cultural vogue (Peppa Pig, the Walking Dead, etc.). Much as I try to avoid them, I took a hit for the team last weekend on a day trip to Thorpe Park. It is the anticipation of the public mugging that puts me off: you get charged to park on their land, which always reminds me of trips to the hospital, a zero is put on the end of anything you wish to purchase, as you are now a fully compliant captive audience member, and you spend hour upon hour shuffling forward prior to a brief 40 seconds' enjoyment.

But the kids love it even though my wallet doesn’t, and actually there is a fun factor if you aren’t suffering from a bad back or enjoying the delights of pregnancy (the former for me). The queue to buy tickets snakes around barrier after barrier, which is good training for once you arrive in the hallowed land. The first pit stop, once we had managed to negate the ticket scanning machine, which may as well have had instructions in Swahili, was to do that dad thing. Men, when they hit a certain vintage, feel the need as they are passing a toilet, to pop in, ‘just in case’. As you unbutton, you are accompanied by the uplifting orchestral music so befitting such an environment and I now know how John Rambo must feel when taking an afternoon rest break in trap one.

Frugally, we avoided paying £90 on top of the entry fee to go ‘fast-track’ and instead took the following strategy: go on rides with short queue times. The Dodgems advertised a five-minute queue and 20 minutes later our backsides finally came to rest on the ridged plastic as we struggled to work out how to put the seatbelt and questioned why the accelerator was on the left hand side. No doubt TfL are running the queue times at Thorpe Park, a summation that was backed up each time they announced the closure of one of the big rides due to ‘adverse weather conditions’ despite there not being a cloud in the sky. After successfully managing to damage my back on the inaugural dodgem bump, thanks to a sadistic six-year-old girl who targeted me like a lion hunts an antelope, we took a visit to the big ride cats.

I am thankful I had a pass due to my back. Again, half hour plus queues led up to monsters like Saw, which lasts for less than a minute. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed it though, despite a guy at the front inadvisably having eaten a bowl or five of Shreddies before the ride, although they didn’t stay in for long and a large group of day trippers spent the day smelling of stale milk and regurgitated wheat product.

Theme parks attempt to be all things to all people and the Thorpe Parksters have gone to the trouble of constructing a ‘man made’ beach. On the promotional material, granted, it looks lovely, but it is surrounded by a wall and bridges where rubber necking teens nearly give themselves a hernia as they lick on a 99 cone and try to sneak a peek. There is also music blaring, generally instrumental type affairs, such as the build-up tunes in Indiana Jones. The KFC and Burger King are frequented by aggressive, ravenous teenagers and I nearly witnessed a riot when they ran out of ice cream krushems at 11am.

But, and I reiterate, the kids loved it, and therefore so do we. It’s nice to do what they like and go for it as much as your body will allow. Yes, there is the payback of them spending an hour in the gift shop at the end of the day when you agree to purchase them any old crap just so you can get out of there. It seems the only item they don’t sell is Tenamen for the ‘just in case’ dads who stood by the exit tutting and harrying along their offspring. Once back in the car, there is an hour wait as drivers are forced to scan a ticket they paid a tenner for, to escape into the traffic jam on the M25 instead.

So that’s it for another year. I plan to start saving now and maybe, just maybe, I will find a chiropractor from another planet who will be able to not only fix me, but to get rid of my excuses, buy fast-track and complete the day with some semblance of dignity intact.