STONES OVER SWIMMING

Sunday morning. When the children started waking up I had been in bed for precisely 5 and a half hours. You know those questionnaires that the weekend papers put to famous people, with questions like 'what's the last thing you ate?' or 'when did you last cry?', I remember one question being 'what single thing would improve the quality of your life?'. For me it's very simple - not having to go swimming on a Sunday morning with the children. Three children, two of whom can't be left to their own devices, and two adults, one of whom would rather put pins in their eyes than get in a pool cooler than 35 degrees (me). It's around 27 degrees usually. So this morning I jumped on the fact one had an earache and one had a dodgy tummy, and canned swimming in favour of Bedgebury [National Pinetum, near us].

The Bee and I planned it all out - we had a Secret Stone to hide (random FB craze), and a new map to help us find the Gruffalo and other animals they had hidden around the forest. They'd clearly had SAS recruitment in mind when they had hidden them, rather than small children, and a backlash was developing as people began to despair of ever finding them all, or any. A new map was an exciting prospect.

Grizzly returned from a tutoring session, delighted to hear there was a change of plan. And then he uttered the immortal words 'I know, let's take the bikes!'. The last time we used the bike rack we had a Polo, no children, and no time constraints. 'I’ll be 10 minutes, you start lunch.' An hour later the rack was fitted. Then Grizzly began making and eating lunch. The Secret Stone had been ‘hidden’, and was now lost somewhere in the house. By the time we found it again it was raining.

After we had all admired Daddy’s bike, and got into the car, we discovered the S@dding Stone was still in the house, and the helmets were still in the shed. By the time we actually got to Bedgebury the weather was reminiscent of a cold November afternoon. This time last week we were basking in tropical conditions, so obviously I had no hats, gloves, waterproofs or will to live. I endured an hour and a half of shivering around the play areas before demanding we all left again. An hour after returning to the car the bike was back on the rack and we were ready to leave.

So in answer to the other questions, the last thing I ate was left-over shepherd's pie as I was turning the heating on to thaw everyone out, and the last time I cried was at Bedgebury this afternoon when I realised we were probably going to go swimming next week.

Here's the stone.


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