Service stations, and other shit places that seemed like wonderlands as a kid

THE world is a magical wonderland in the eyes of a child. Even these places you now know to be awful seemed amazing.

Furniture shops

While your parents argued about which couch to get to replace the one mauled by your elderly, incontinent dog, you were free to explore DFS to your heart’s content. An entire warehouse in a Sheffield industrial estate full of sofas for you to jump all over, you were in heaven. Until you were sworn at for the first time by the floor manager.

Service stations

For your father, a service station was a necessary toilet break on the drive to Pontins so he wouldn’t shit himself. For you it was Narnia on the M1, only better because Narnia didn’t have a Little Chef next to a playground covered in broken glass. Plus that faun prick Mr Tumnus was nowhere to be seen.

Garden centres

In adulthood, garden centres are nothing more than a convenient refuge from your imploding marriage. As a kid though your imagination transformed them into prehistoric jungles where a velociraptor could be hiding behind a display pile of compost sacks. Sadly, one never did leap out and eat your parents, no matter how hard you wished.

Pet shops

When you were young, pet shops were essentially zoos where you got to watch rabbits and guinea pigs scamper around for hours on end. Now you’re older you notice all the shit pellets lining their cages, and the whole place feels like a battery farm. Pet shops keep kids entertained for free though, so they’re not all bad.

A giant supermarket

The supermarket was a sensory overload for your tiny brain as you got pushed around aisles of beans and bleach from the comfort of your trolley chair. That’s why you let out unending screeches of joy until your parents bought you some chocolate. As an adult you’re resigned to screaming internally as you pick up a chicken tikka masala ready meal for one.

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Six ways the cost-of-living crisis will affect your weekend

EVERYTHING costs more but you’re bored. How will rampant inflation bugger up your attempt to enjoy a typical weekend?

Saturday morning

You’re awoken early by the kids. They’re bored because you cancelled Netflix last night to save money, and in your words ‘there’s less on this f**ker than Channel 5’. You head downstairs for own-brand cereal and no heating.

Saturday afternoon

It’s nice enough so you decide to head out to a National Trust site, not that you’re members anymore but there’s one where you can park for free and sneak in. Except there’s billions of cars, it takes 40 minutes to find a space, and they’ve closed that loophole.

Saturday evening

The family snuggles under blankets for movie night on ITV4, and for warmth. When they’re in bed you cook a simple meal of Sainsbury’s cheap-brand microwave rogan josh, and you really can taste the difference. It’s foul.

Sunday morning

After using way too much petrol yesterday, you walk your son a mile to his football match and back, him whinging all the way. Once there you go to buy a tea and a pie to warm up and it costs nearly eight quid, eliminating any saving.

Sunday afternoon

You finally find time to go furniture shopping to replace your broken armchair, and they want how f**king much? All these bastards were £200 less a month ago. Even DFS? Ridiculous. You drive home in a fury and Google ‘armchair repairs’ while the kids play in the garden like it’s lockdown.

Sunday evening

Having had no fun at any point, you grimly face another working week by hastily ironing shirts like there’s a meter running while the family gathers in the heat of the steam. Tonight you have a nightmare about rising interest rates.