Eighteen years ago, when I was 12, almost every Saturday had the same routine.
First I’d wake up after a lie-in, enjoying not being woken for school, and I’d watch a bit of Saturday morning kids’ TV, usually Live and Kicking.
Then I’d pack some swimming shorts, a towel and my Lynx Africa in a bag and head with my friends to the Pyramids in Southsea.
We’d spend all day in there racing on the blue and green slide and the snake slide, which I think had the official name of The Sidewinder Flume.
Then we’d head over to the big pool where you’d wait to hear the loud klaxon, which would signal the wave machine was about to kick in.
After a few hours we’d jump out of the pool and head to the food section to tuck into burger and chips.
Ignoring the sign that said you should wait at least 20 minutes after eating before swimming, we’d jump straight back in.
We’d be there until closing time and get home just in time to see Pamela Anderson running in slow motion on a beach in Baywatch, followed by someone getting gunged on Noel’s House Party.
That was almost every Saturday during my early teens. But of course things change and Saturday morning children’s television has been replaced by cookery programmes with celebrity chefs and Saturday night television has been taken over by Simon Cowell with shows like The X Factor.
But one thing hasn’t changed and that is the Pyramids in Southsea. My partner Serena and I recently took our two daughters there, hoping they’d have as much fun as we did when we were children.
Apart from a new entrance (you now walk down the stairs instead of up to get into the place), it was like I’d stepped into a time machine and gone back to being 12 again.
Almost nothing has changed, the klaxon still sounds before the waves appear and you’ll always win the race if you choose the blue slide over the green.
We went on a weekday straight after my daughter finished school and it felt a little bit deserted, but it was nice to have the whole big pool to ourselves for 15 minutes before more families arrived.
It was a shame the snake slide and the pool underneath it was closed the day we were there, but that didn’t stop my daughters Caitlin and Alyssa enjoying themselves and they’ve asked if we can go back.
I know over the past few years the Pyramids has been a controversial topic and has been subject of a lot of debate. It’s obvious from my visit that the place needs updating, but I hope it does stay open and is refreshed to provide fun for a new generation of children.