Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Garden Excursions

It is heatwave season.  This means a number of things.  Firstly the Daily Express gets even more shrill about weather than it is the rest of the year, seriously just click on the link above and I can pretty much guarantee that one of the first two or three stories will be about the incredible heat, or the possibility that next week we will be struck by an 'icy blast' from somewhere.  Secondly it means I write a blog post complaining about how hot it is.  Regular readers will now that I have a particular view about hot weather, which boils down to, it seems that lots of people seem to enjoy it, I don't and I would rather that it be somewhere else, anywhere else really.  However, this year will be different, this year I am not going to complain but instead I am going to regale you with a quick tale that will both entertain and instruct, well, maybe one of them, and probably the only instruction you will take from this is the obvious, if important, lesson that you should never leave your children under my supervision.

The weather being what it is N's first question whenever I get home from work at the moment is, "Daddy, can we go in the garden?  Please? Please? Please? Please?".  To which my answer is often, "Nunngh" because I've just walked home and I'm hot and not really in the mood for running around outside.  Once I've got over that though I realise that life is more than just letting your legs have a bit of a rest and go out with her.  We are almost always joined by S who will hear N asking then run around the house bellowing 'garden' before bringing me an item of entirely inappropriate footwear.  I didn't even know we owned a pair of size 30 clown shoes, but S can find them and will insist that they are the only shoes to wear in the garden.

Once we have found a proper pair of shoes and N has had her moment determining which shoes she will be least unhappy with (though her collection is not quite as extensive as Imelda Marcos' she probably agonizes over it for longer) we are ready to go out.  Playing in the garden generally involves me pushing them around on one of the wheeled toys we have, fast on the grass and slow on the path, better safe than sorry.  S prefers the scooter, I think because there is a much higher chance of him falling off that and he is nothing if not a little daredevil.  N is much happier either on her bike, which she is just starting to pick up some balance on or S's tricycle which I am also a fan of as it has the longest handle which means I have to do less back-breaking than with the others.  Once this thrill has worn off we move on to football, which is little more than me kicking the ball around while N and S do all they can to make me fall over.  And believe me, you haven't been tackled until you have one small child hanging off your left leg while the other has grabbed you round the waist and is throwing themselves around like this is their mission impossible and they will stop at nothing to bring you down.

Once this has ended, with me on my back and N and S at on me giggling at another triumph, we break up for a bit.  I go on a wander of the garden and try to imagine the weeds away.  This doesn't usually work, alright, it never works, but one of these days I'm sure it will, and so I end up on my knees pulling at weeds whilst the kids play with various garden things until it is time for tea.  Up until the last part of the garden adventure it has been fairly easy to keep an eye on both of them, and I'm sure for any semi-competent parent even the last part would prove no challenge at all, at least to ensure that both children were safely in the garden.  This is not the case for me unfortunately.  I can usually tell you exactly where N is at any given moment just because she is the loudest child I know and no amount of ninja training will ever get her to the point where she could sneak up on me.  She must have the heaviest feet in the world.

S, on the other hand, well he is a different story.  S was born with the ability to melt seamlessly into the background and walk unseen amongst us ordinary mortals.  He can slip through a crowd unnoticed and will suddenly appear at my side with something he knows he shouldn't have when I hadn't even known he had gone.  I am, however, aware of his stealth-like capabilities and have learnt that he needs a close eye on him at all times.  Turns out I have again underestimated one of my children.  I am sure that he stayed in the garden this afternoon, playing with N's scooter and her tricycle, and trying to pick all the unripe strawberries.  I know he was there because I kept having to stop him from stuffing probably poisonous fruit into his mouth (I don't know if unripe strawberries are actually poisonous, but I don't know they aren't either and why take the risk?) So imagine my despair this evening when I got back from my run, once the children were in bed, and B casually dropped into conversation that whilst I was keeping my 'close eye' on the boy she had found him upstairs, wellies firmly on, with a rubber in his mouth.  I am a little ashamed to say my first thought might have been, 'at least it wasn't an unripe strawberry' but that was quickly followed by, 'how did he manage to scale the wall, pry open the bathroom window and slip in upstairs, all with his wellies on and I didn't notice?'  I have to admit I was pretty impressed, until B pointed out he probably just came in through the open patio door and wandered up the stairs.  I have to admit that is more likely.

That is, at least, only one blot on an otherwise perfect garden excursion, a fairly major one, granted, but one that ended well at least. Now I'm going to go back and grumble about the heat, enjoy your summers everyone.

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