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I just couldn't believe my ears on Disney trip.

Byline: HelenLegh unplugged

ME and the girls went to Disneyland[umlaut] Paris last weekend. Just the four of us who've known each other since we were 10.

Clare, Miss Backpacker 1998, is settling down and getting married, so this was going to be a large mouse-themed weekend of rides and cocktails.

Now it has to be said, when it comes to big, scary rollercoasters, my knees turn to jelly and if I manage to pluck up enough courage to decide I will try one, I spend the entire queue (generally an hour) gibbering about how my head aches, I feel sick and really don't want to do this, before screaming my head off when on it, with my eyes tight shut.

Getting off the ride, I undoubtedly say "I'm never doing that again" before being coerced into doing it 10 minutes later.

Mind you, I do draw the line at some of them. One called the Rock'n' Roller Coaster, has upside-downy, twisty-turny bits and the sound of Aerosmith blasting through the speakers. No thank you. Death by electric guitar solo is not for me.

I held the bags while the others went on, and decided to have a little shopping trip, to get a gift for my husband.

Disneyland, while great at theming big parklands, really doesn't get it with the shopping thing.

What you want is a selection of unusual, Disney-themed boutiques, each selling a subtle and different selection of tasteful gifts to take home and put in a cupboard never to be seen again.

What you get is the same old stuff in every shop: Disney caps, mugs, pens, ears (naturally) and nothing, I repeat, nothing, that any self-respecting man (at least who I'm married to) would ever want to receive in the name of "present".

The "here you go darling, I got you an ice cube tray in the shape of a mouse head."

"Oh wow, that's the best present ever..." etc scenario is just not going to happen. But after a while, you get sucked in, hypnotised by the bright colours into thinking that a pair of plush Mickey Mouse hands would be really, really useful, maybe for vermin-themed, fancy dress parties we get invited to.

So you start buying. When my friends came and found me, I think I was cowering in a corner, surrounded by plastic bags containing Lion King cutlery sets, Minnie Mouse g-strings and Donald Duck cake moulds, begging for some help with my sanity.

I don't know what's more dangerous in these places, the wild peril of the Indiana Jones Runaway Mine train or the addictive pull of the merchandise.

They refunded my purchases and carefully, with a gentleness only found in people who've held back your hair when you drank too much ginger wine when Robert Foster told you he was dumping you to go out with skinny Kate from the lower sixth, can do.

Then we each bought a very sensible purchase for the men at home, under the guise that although they might not like it, it was at least "useful".

We bought them each a Mickey tea towel.

Then we went on the spinning tea cup ride and felt so sick afterwards that none of us had more than one glass of wine that night, and we were in bed before midnight, shattered.

If you add all the evidence together, it really is true: we are getting old.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 9, 2006
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