What does disappointment look like to you? Is it a flaccid (easy now) aubergine that hasn’t managed to grow fully in your allotment? Is it a shiny new 50p coin with a huge dent in the edge? Is it learning that Claire Richards from Steps is coming back with a new solo album? It comes in many shapes and forms and sadly there is no escaping the silky, wet glove that is disappointment.
I recently went on a ship and sailed to a different part of the world. It was excellent all the time (whispers, “all the time”) and even though I must have eaten twice my weight in steak and burgers a good holiday was had by all. The ship was swimming in luxury. If you wanted to sit in a hot tub all day sipping champagne and eating tiny desserts you could. If you wanted to go to their cinema and watch four films back to back you could. If you wanted to watch a questionable stage production by one time flatmate of Robbie Williams, Jonathan Wilkes, then you could (the only time we went to the theatre was on the last day when we were leaving and there was no more time for japes).
Families with children were also catered for on a higher level. In addition to the various play rooms and activities there were pools, swimming pools, pools with pizza stations next to them and some kind of sports facility on the very top deck. I would have investigated however we all know I am allergic to 85% of sports in the general population. Did I mention the pools? They even had a night time nursery service so if you wanted to leave little Billy with a responsible adult so you could go get shit-faced in the bar and then return around 1am to pick him up then you could. You really, really could.
As two adults with no small people there was little chance that we could take advantage of any of these facilities. Not that we wanted to but, hey, nobody likes being left out. When the holiday was being booked there was the hint made by the company that some celebrities who would be onboard for a meet and greet. I heard ‘Wallace’ and ‘Gromit’ and I knew that I had to get involved in this kind of action. For four days there was no mention of them anywhere in the leaflets they left outside your day to inform you about the daily activities going on. Nothing whatsoever. Finally on Wednesday morning, cowering towards the bottom and wedged between something called ‘Jukebox Hero’ and ‘Pilates’, was the following:
“Wallace & Gromit Special Appearance – A special appearance from Wallace and Gromit. Come and say hello to the cheese-loving inventor and his faithful four-legged friend.”
We had to go. There was no way we could miss such an event as this. The queue was very long and started snaking through the whole of the atrium; clearly this was a big event for all. We decided to keep back and watch from afar rather than getting too close. Our location meant we could see everything. Like a couple of divas they were ten minutes late. What then happened can only be… well it needs… look at the damn photo:
Not even two people in suits. We’ve got a fully-sized Wallace and a tiny Gromit that he can fully pick up with one hand, no doubt sewn to his hand because he never put him down. I don’t know if the organisers of this even have ever seen ‘Wallace and Gromit’ but they’re fairly even in height due to the latter walking on his hind legs for a lot of the time. The kids that were hugging and posing for photos were fine with the arrangement; not a single one asked to speak to the manager or had some quiet words with a member of staff. It was clear that we were in the minority so we slipped away and discussed our respective disappointment over coffee and cake.