One of my first jobs was stacking shelves at Sainsburys on the Isle of Wight for £3.06 an hour. We were called the 'Milk and Cookie Crew' because we weren't old enough or responsible enough to work on the checkouts. I planned a 10 minute toilet break into my two hour shift just to avoid the customers.
Still, it was worth giving up all my spare time for the weekly pay of £24.
One of my most familiar discussions with customers was where they could find the gravy which managers moved around the store like a mischievous elf on a shelf (end plinth, aisle 12 usually).
I was reminded of this at Tapnell Farm Park which we visited for the first time in a year recently. Like most Wightophiles, we were bursting with excitement a couple of years ago when we heard a new attraction was coming and have been returning sporadically ever since.
On our return, the hay bale slides had shifted across the play barn, the Tiny Tapnell bit for toddlers had moved to another building and a gift shop had appeared next to a new toddler area.
At Tapnell, I'm confident that this hasn't been done to confuse us but is to make space for new stuff. The go kart track has got bigger and better, there are dry sledges and a few other little additions.
On this trip my mother went off to get coffee, which often results in her spending 20 minutes getting to know the person serving her. This is a useful gift in life, unless there is a queue of people behind you.
Usually she returns to say that the person who brewed her coffee used to work with the grandson of someone she worked with in the 1990s.
On this occasion she returned with the news that the park had recently had its busiest ever day. The details became a little sketchy at this point with either 600 people or 6000 cars visiting in one day.
I fear the detail of the conversation wouldn't stand up to cross examination in court, but it's certainly heartening to see a high quality attraction growing each year and seemingly being rewarded with a full car park.
It isn't as vast as some similar attractions on the mainland but it's clean, well organised and priced about right in my opinion (around £10). It also has a realistic view of the UK climate, so there's a good mix of indoor and outdoor stuff.
It's also recently been added to a bus route, which will hopefully bring a bigger crowd through the doors over the summer.
We'll certainly be back, and hopefully there'll be even more new stuff for the owners to find space for.
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