I had told both Charlie and Abi that we had come to Chessington not to win, but to have fun. I didn’t ever for a minute expect to win and i didn’t want to set the kids up for a fall. The speech i gave them sat in the room prior to going downstairs went pretty much like this:
“We have been given an amazing opportunity, lets not get carried away though. The other families are probably here to win and will spend so much time trying to do everything right that they will forget the reason they are here. We are here as a family to have a good time. Lets make the most of the opportunity we have been given and forget about winning. Lets just be us and have a great time doing it”
We had a private high five and went down to the lobby.
The other two families hit it off immediately, both were typically mum, dad and kids. Both were from the South and it wasn’t long before the North/South divide was as alive and well as ever. (That said i did get to know both families and both ended up being amazing, friendly and fantastic people)
The first clue was to find Nick Baker. Both the other families legged it, i knew Abi’s tiny legs weren’t up to much so we just strolled and lost our first points.
The first challenge we had was to do the Penguin Presentation. We had about 30 mins to learn everything there was to know about the little black and white wanna be birds and present it to about 60 members of the public.
Ryan – An employee who knew more about Penguins than David Attenborough gave us the low down and it wasn’t long before Charlie was wearing a cowboy hat, Abi was feeding Penguins and I was spouting absolute bollocks about Penguins. The microphone died, it started raining and no one laughed at my jokes. It was a bad start.
The next few challenges were based around clues hidden throughout the park, amazingly one of them ended up with us feeding Bintarongs 🙂 It was amazing and whilst we sat eating our lunch it didn’t occur to me that we were still as we had arrived – Alone.
The morning had been fantastic and after lunch we all had challenges to ‘face your fears’
Me: I had to put my hand into 3 separate bags to feel what bugs were in them. I guessed 2 out of 3 – Meal Worm and Crickets. I got Locusts wrong.
Charlie: He had to have a Cobra wrapped around his neck and the ride the amazing Kobra ride without closing his eyes or screaming – He did more than that, he even held his arms up throughout 🙂
Abi: She had to have a Tarantula walk over her hands. Abi has a huge fear of spiders stemmed directly from her mother. She was in tears and hysterical. It was the last challenge and i whispered to her “It is the last challenge, we have done everything so far. If you can do this you will make me so proud, but if you can’t it doesn’t matter I am so proud already” Whilst considering what i said to her Charlie said to Abi “If I hold your hand we can do it together” Abi agreed and Nick Baker let the Tarantula walk across their hands. Still crying Abi clung to Charlie’s hand and suddenly every pointless argument they had ever had was irrelevant, every time they had got each other into trouble didn’t matter and I stood and watched them both experience a closeness I had never known. I was so proud.
As the day drew to an end we had a quick chat with Nick Baker and a few minutes later we were crowned Britain’s Most Adventurous Family.
I know people say that they didn’t expect to win, but we really didn’t – Genuinely.
We were told that we won because of the unity we had as a family, we didn’t delegate and did everything together, it seemed that we had come to have fun and simply had done everything just as we always would and for that we had won. Though I say ‘we’ the reality is Charlie and Abi won it. They were the ones who put up with 40+ degree heat in the Far East, 30 hour train journeys, crossing 12 time zones in one day, having 20 hour days without sleep and now coming to Chessington and showing the same determination and resilience they had on our trip – That was what won it.