It’s as if it never happened. As we wound our way, slowly, through the Sunday traffic around the M25, with a fully laden car and two kids taking a break from the screens to count cows in an adjacent field, it felt as if we had never been away. It had been two whole years since we had managed to cross the Tamar and venture to my wife’s ancestral seat of Cornwall, and with our recent absence, the trip felt peculiarly special.

Despite the best efforts of the pandemic, it felt as if, finally, late into injury time, we had scored the winning goal as we passed the ‘coming home trees’ and ‘Brown Willy’ (the highest point in Cornwall). So normal in fact, that we booked, for our first full day back in Kernow, a trip to Cornwall’s premier (and possibly only) theme park, Flambards, in Helston, where they proudly boast it’s the ‘best day of the week’. We had been many times previously. It is cheaper than Eurodisney, you can walk from one end to t’other in 10 minutes and the views of the farmer in the fields next door ploughing the fields were a timely reminder that we were not in Mickey Mouse's backyard.

Thinking nobody else would want to book the sunniest day of the year thus far to go on Skyraker was an oversight on our part, as the park was heaving with a sprawling mass of sweaty bodies and stressed parents.

As the day went on it became more Eurodisney due to the queues. The kids didn’t seem to mind as we stood in line for up to 45 minutes for 30 seconds of pleasure and I bemoaned the fact that I had again misjudged the weather as I packed away my fleece and felt my slaphead get burnt to a cinder. Shade was not only at a premium, but non-existent, until I insisted that we take a detour into the Victorian village, which, contrary to description, is actually a class exhibit, full of awe and wonder. It is a lifesize walk through the lanes and shops of Victorian Britain (much like a day trip to Rye) with the highlight being a chemist's shop. The chemist, William White, died in 1909 and the shop was bricked up, fully intact, with its Victorian potions and lotions. A century later, the new building's owners knocked down the divide and were gobsmacked to find a fully preserved time capsule from a bygone era. Flambards bought the contents and reconstructed the find in a jaw-dropping display, which is a sentence I thought I would never write about an exhibition, Victorian or otherwise.

And then the day continued, even hotter by mid-afternoon, as my wife asked if I was ok as I had by now turned a dangerous shade of crimson. We queued, I felt ill and then got tied into a machine that span me around at 80mph as I felt my guts come into my mouth and I wished I hadn’t left the sun cap on the kitchen table at home and eaten the Tesco meal deal Hoisin duck wrap some 10 minutes previously.

But then, after the pre-requisite 30 minutes spent traipsing around the gift shop as the kids bought some old tat that won't see the light of day past tomorrow, it was over, and we regrouped on Porthleven harbour head with a bag full of cod and chips and a flagon of ale.

And yes, despite the burns, it felt good, nay, wonderful, to be back and is if we had never been away. It's easy to take such simple pleasures for granted and who knows when the next pandemic or lock down will rear its ugly head and such activity will again become but a distant relic of the past?

So, grasp it with both hands, and gleefully, for this is what memories are made of and no doubt the kids will one day look back and say ‘remember the day you got burnt to a crisp at Flambards before throwing up your lunch onto that kid’s shoes as we span around 100 feet up in the air, dad?’ Great times, and it’s what memories are made of as it proved itself to be the best day of the week.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher