The summer has been so terrible this year, that there was a great deal of concern about the servers day trip to Thorpe Park. We had no doubt that the kids would enjoy themselves, whatever the weather, but the adult helpers were less than keen to tramp around in the rain!

But we need not have worried, for the day dawned dry and bright and although the clouds threatened on a couple of occasions, the only serious soaking came from the rides themselves ...... but more about that anon.

Our first photograph, above, shows us all standing in front of the coach on our arrival at Thorpe Park. A swift departure from St Gregory the Great at 9.30 am assured an early arrival; we were there and in by 10.15 am.

Now people who know about such things had advised us to make our way straight to the top of the park, to the famous (or should that be infamous?) Nemesis Inferno, why even the name is horrendous! We arrived there in no time at all and joined our 1st queue of the day. Within a mere 20 minutes it was our turn to ride. This may, I suspect, have been all for the best, had we had more time to watch the behaviour of this ride, the less enthusiastic we might have been about getting on.

Do you know this ride? Well suffice to say that you hurtle through the air at 77 kmph - twist and turn .......... oh why am I bothering to describe it, this picture gives the clue!!

Fr. Dennis bravely joined in, though he looks less than at ease! That's Aidan Sullivan next to him who seems considerably calmer! A parishioner at mass on Sunday morning, having seen the photograph enquired, "did you felt a little closer to God, Father?"

Once we had emerged from this extraordinary experience, it was decided that something gentler should be the next order of the day; a ride that everyone could join in with. The scary rides do not suit the younger children, and siblings of altar servers, be they younger or older, had been invited to join the party, so there was a generous cross section of ages.

Donna Clancy (something of an expert on theme parks - we were to discover) suggested the Rumba Rapids. A gentle trip on revolving boats going through the grounds of the park. It sounded delightful and a welcome relief from being thrown around in the air!

We all started to pile on board a variety of 'vessels', and all seemed well. However this situation was not to last long and it was but a matter of moments before we were getting steadily soaked - thanks Donna!


Poor Mr Michael Waterford and Fr. Dennis caught the brunt of the action on their vessel. The first corner provided a gentle 'slopping' of water straight down the back of their necks, but as you can see from this second photograph, worse was to follow; please note the truly elegant image of our parish priest with a black bin liner on his head! However it would be honest to say that everyone enjoyed this ride and thank goodness for the dry weather which helped us to start drying of. Very important indeed as our next outing was to be on something simply called:-

Tidal Wave!!

I think no comment is called for! Fr. Dennis had been advised by a friend that it was always a good idea to take a bin liner with you so that you could protect yourself from a complete soaking. O.K. there was a good deal of amusement in the queue when he lined up, but he was the one who got the last laugh!

It was also very dangerous to stand around on the bridge on your way back from the ride. The huge wave of water would catch the straggler unaware. Some of our group thought this great fun and purposely went to stand in the centre of the bridge!

Three big rides had been achieved and it was not yet time for a break ........ or at least that was the opinion held by the youngsters! One final ride was attempted before lunch - Flying Fish. Another ride that sent you hurtling through the air, but far more gently than the others, a mere 3 stars for fear rather than the full 5!

During the lunch break the more adventurous went forth into the park and managed a number of extra rides. Storm In A Teacup very elgant. Mr Monkey's Banana Ride, and Eclipse, a delightful big wheel. Certainly everyone had a busy lunch break. Michael and Fr. Dennis were spotted sitting in the sunshine elegantly partaking of a cup of coffee and a Panini!

Here are a selection of photos taken during lunch.

Thorpe Park Lunchtime Rides

Lunch over and done with it was decided, by an almost unanimous vote, that Logger's Leap should be the next ride.

By now the queues were fairly horrific and we had to wait for almost an hour and half before we had our turn. But it was well worth the wait. The first section of the ride takes place in complete darkness, and the sensation of plunging into the depths with water spraying all around you is exhilarating.

This is, I'm afraid the only photograph which has been received - so far - of this ride, and you must be getting rather bored with seeing one face over and over again ........ so if you have more exciting photographs of this ride to offer do drop them in at the presbytery - a change is as good as a rest! The other riders in the boat are, from the front, Robert, Aaron, Andrew, Suzanne - who appears to be hiding from the "waves" behind her son's shoulders.

A variety of other rides were attempted, and no doubt more pictures will be sent through to the presbytery for display on the web. The really brave went on Collossus or Vortex, Quantum or Samurai but one thing is for certain everyone had a great time.

Eventually it was time to call it a day and make our way back to the bus. The journey home took no time at all, and we were soon back at South Ruislip. This, our first, servers outing had proved to be a tremendous success. Thanks are due especially to all the adults who came along and helped to look after the youngsters. the day would simply not have been possible without them.

Now we are looking forward to the next trip which will hopefully be sometime during the Christmas holiday. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.