Dom Joly: Water toys have got blown up out of all proportion

 

Share
Related Topics

This year, on my annual Canadian lakeside holiday, I'm on Lake Rosseau, one of the three connecting lakes – the others being Muskoka and Joseph – that I fell in love with 10 years ago and have been summering in ever since. We have driven up from Toronto in a rented enormo-car, which is parked and scarecely used again, as we go everywhere by speedboat. For three weeks, our life becomes water-based, with the car used only to transport the various inflatable toys we have bought over the years. Inflatables are quite an industry up here – every cottage has its own assortment bobbing up and down in front.

When I first started coming here, there was a limited variety. Posh cottages would have huge yellow floating trampolines and a couple of doughnut rings that could be dragged behind a boat. My first purchase was an AquaGlide, from a company where I've now spent so much money that I should be on the board. It's a large inflatable platform that you can either moor offshore like a little island or tow behind the boat.

My kids love it. In fact, they love it so much that I've had to buy three of them over the years as they keep getting torn or punctured beyond repair.

Then, AquaGlide brought out an inflatable slide that attached to the platform. It was another huge hit with the kids, and our shoreline was starting to look like a floating shanty town. Finally, I purchased a Sea-Doo, a sort of inflatable sofa with three seats that you can pull behind the boat while keeping your kids in relative safety. The choice of things to drag behind your boat is now insane: one-, two- and three-man rockets, sleds, bananas... the choice is endless.

This year, there are some new buoys on the block and things have really moved on. For a thousand dollars, you can purchase the Barf Ball,a huge see-through hollow sphere that your child climbs into and then tumbles about in like some limp rag as you drag them behind the boat at high speed. But it looks more dangerous than a summer holiday in central Libya and I can't see too many takers for it.

The big one this year is the Iceberg, an enormous inflatable mountain about 25ft high, with what looks like a climbing wall on one side and a flat wall on the other, so your child can hurl him/herself off it having reached the summit. It's quite a piece of pneumatic engineering and I thought that it would only be found in the huge water park at Clevelands House, a hotel over the lake from us.

That was until I zoomed past Millionaires' Row, a series of cottages so grand that they really can't be called cottages any more, being more like the Kennedy compound in Kennebunkport. There were three Icebergs proudly floating offshore, with some of Canada's most spoilt children clambering up the sides.

Most people up here already have huge boathouses that sit on the lake, serving as secondary buildings, and it won't be long until someone comes up with an inflatable cottage that you simply deflate during the long harsh winters before blowing it up for the summer. This would at least be far preferable to the other sort of blowing-up of holiday homes, seen in places such as Corsica, where certain local people resent the presence of rich second homeowners and occasionally take violent action.

My kids have startd learning to water-ski. Hopefully, if this is a hit, we can reduce our pneumatic annual luggage and get a more sensibly sized vehicle to bring us here next year. One can only dream.



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

RE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: A Level Chemistry Teacher - Humb...

NQT Secondary Teachers

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is actively r...

ICT Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ICT Teacher - Scunthorpe This r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Cameron's unexpected tax pledges give the Tories home advantage

Andrew Grice
President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Secret Service agents to Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2014.  

Obama's Secret Service has become sloppy with its delusions of Hollywood grandeur

David Usborne
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence