I’ve spent an intolerable percentage of being a parent sitting in soft play centres. We only had hard play when I was a child. Hard being the type of fall you had when you fell out of the tree you were climbing or the wall you were balancing on. Today children can play “safely” in a world made of padded scaffolding, banging into millions of other children running in the opposite direction, screaming loudly while tired, sweating parents chase around after them banging into areas so low you have to walk like a chimp to navigate them. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there are soft play birthday parties now where your child can run about and get sweaty with all their school or nursery mates before sitting down to a vile burger and chips and a lovingly bought Tesco birthday cake. I’m sick of them, but I know my children get lots of enjoyment from them so, for the immediate future at least, I’m going to be seething – er I mean sitting – in more of them.