BRIAN

So...pumpkin picking. It sounded fun. Facebook was full of pictures of how fun it was last year. The weather was great, although I did pack some waterproofs and wellies just in case, and into the car we all got. We knew it was an hour away and was going to be hard to find, but who needs to worry about that these days, we all have sat nav. Or do we...turned out the Bee had posted an acorn into the cigarette lighter the day before. Grizzly removed the acorn, but we no longer have a working socket for sat nav...the ramifications of this are yet to sink in, frankly.

Anyway, I found the road atlas, and the village in Kent we were heading for (which, needless to say, was situated exactly where two pages with a huge gap and spiral binding met), and started navigating like it was 1985 again.

Happily the radio has yet to be screwed over by the kids, so we were able to listen to the ten songs Heart FM play on repeat, interspersed with severe weather warnings and suggestions that perhaps it might be safer not to drive in Kent if it could be avoided, as Storm Brian had made landfall.

Finding remote places without sat nav is actually very hard, particularly as there is an assumption every vehicle has one that is working, and proper directions are no longer necessary. Our first attempt to leave the main road was a disaster. I tried turning sat nav on to see if we could use the residual battery power long enough to at least work out which direction we should be facing. It was unable to locate any satellites. Eventually Grizzly decided to take a tiny road that clearly only went to a church, and was very clearly signposted 'Church'. I started seething from the back seat and was mid-rant about him wasting our time and fuel when, against all the odds, en route to said church was a sign for the pumpkin field. They're quite a sight, it has to be said, and the Bee announced pumpkin picking was her best thing ever.

The skies had started to darken, and I thought it would be prudent for everyone to wear their waterproofs. By the time we were ready, it was hailing sideways and the Bear had been blown over twice while standing next to the car. In the extraordinarily long time it took us to get the 50m from the car to the field, he'd been blown over again. In fact a large teenage girl was also blown over, landing right at our feet. I think it was being whipped with icy rain whilst unable to stand that really did for him though.

We got to the field, chucked 4 pumpkins into the wheelbarrow, then battled our way to a disabled Portaloo I spotted by a distant hedge. Once we'd managed to prise the door open against the wind, we all sheltered. For a few seconds it was silent. Then the Bee declared 'Mummy, I never want to come pumpkin picking again'. I began to wonder if the five of us were enough to keep the Portaloo on the ground if a gust suddenly caught it. And I also began to wonder whether I had truly ever been soaked to the skin before, because now I really properly was. Grizzly and I made a plan that I would try and get back to the car with the kids, while he paid for the s@dding pumpkins, which I was assuming by now they would just give us out of pity. They didn't.

By the time we had all thawed out enough to stop crying and put our seatbelts on, I suddenly noticed the sun was out, and there was the merest hint of a breeze.

In case anyone is wondering, pumpkins are available in all major supermarkets.


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