A Visit to Santa’s Grotto

World’s End Garden Centre in Wendover always has an imaginative Christmas grotto with just the right number of twinkly lights, cute animals and film references to keep Ellen amused.  One of the (very few) bonuses of Ellen having a day off in the week is that we can visit such attractions ‘off peak’ as it were and avoid the long queues.  At £1.50 each for a walk around the grotto I wanted us to get our money’s worth (£7 if you wanted to include a trip to see Santa but luckily Ellen never really wants to see him face to face).  I don’t think she missed anything either as I saw one little girl rather sadly clutching a dismal-looking plastic dolls bath.

This year the theme was Wizard of Oz meets Wind in the Willows.  The Wizard of Oz part was definitely the best and it was almost like they ran out of ideas three-quarters of the way around and had to then put something else in.  I’m assuming the last quarter was Wind in the Willows because it contained toads but my knowledge of the book is too hazy to know if one of them is famous for washing and drying up – as per the grotto display, so it could have been just a collection of random animals.  Certainly there were swans and moles and rather excitingly – a tiger in a cage – hanging right over our heads!


This afternoon Ellen was acting the part of a super-villain.  Super-villain is a character from one of Ellen’s Backyardigans DVDs and as far as I can tell he spends his time either covering people with goo or making them very small.


Super-villain and the reindeer

Super-villain and the reindeer


The first time we walked through the grotto ‘super-villain’ ran ahead and got through the whole thing in about two and a half minutes.  Luckily because it was so quiet we got to have a second look round. I videoed part of it for RDI purposes and tried very hard to concentrate on ‘experience-sharing’ language and to use gesture more and speech less.  It was pretty successful as these things go, Ellen talked about the wicked witch being ‘melted’, asked questions and covered a polar bear and a crocodile in figurative ‘goo’.

Afterwards we had a look around the Christmas decorations shop.  We haven’t actually gotten around to putting any decorations up at home yet, and I fancied getting some indoor lights, so I told Ellen we were going to choose something.  While I was trying to find the box of ‘snow-flake’ lights (they’d sold out) Ellen was obviously off perusing the shelves.  She came up to me clutching a large box containing a rather garishly bright Penguin.  For some reason it also had 25% off.  I can’t image why!  The combination of the discount and Ellen’s expectant expression and the time of year I suspect made me cave in.  I wonder what hubbie will say when he comes home from Barcelona on Friday to find a large blue penguin lighting up the kitchen.  Compliments all round no doubt….

Christmas Penguin

Christmas Penguin


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