“If you have time, meditate for five minutes, if you don’t have time, meditate for ten.”
I like that.
“I need some inspiration for my blog,” I said to him as I nearly trod on a dead rabbit, “Arrrgghh,” I screamed and snatched up Puppy-Face so he wouldn’t sniff it, (that’s a nose that goes right in my children’s faces), “Oooh yuk, a dead rabbit with solid white eyeballs.”
“Perhaps, you could write a piece about going on a dog walk and finding manky animals,” he laughed.
“Thanks you’ve been a big help.”
However, it did get me thinking back to the night in the summer holidays. We were on a staycation, basically, we had two nights at our house and two nights at our friend’s. The children are all similar ages and get on very well, and we have a dog each. We put everyone, including ourselves on a digital detox, no gadgets, no phones, just each other for company to allow the good times to roll, and roll they did. On the first day we took the children swimming to an outdoor pool, the sun was roasting, the dogs sat under our sun loungers until they could be bothered to play and we past the day very amicably. If you added up the combined distance the four children swam, I think you’d probably get across the channel. The beautiful warm weather lent itself perfectly to a BBQ and a couple of glasses of vino. The children went to bed late.
“Our dog sleeps downstairs,” said my friend Hazel.
“Puppy-Face sleeps in his own bed in the corner of my room usually,” I said as we both looked around for our dogs. There was no sign. I crept upstairs and checked the bedrooms only to find my boy Blue asleep on an airbed on his friend’s floor literally covered in dogs. Puppy-Face was nose to nose with Blue, breathing the sleep of an exhausted dog into his face, every now and again Blue’s nose would twitch at what is surely one of the most horrid smells puffed across his face, a smell that is filled with more power than a bowling alley shoe. Wrapped around the top of Blue’s head was Hazel’s dog, again breathing heavily but this time down the back of Blue’s neck - all of this on one of the hottest nights of the year.
“Did you sleep alright?” I asked Blue the following morning.
“Yes, lovely thanks,” he smiled in the way only my boy can.
“Perhaps wash your hair this morning,” I smiled back.
“Na I’m fine,” he said as the tight ringlets of dog breath hair stuck to his scalp.
He wandered out to the garden in only his stripy boxer shorts with not a care in the world, exactly as a boy should be.
As Puppy-Face and I continued on our walk this morning, I laughed out loud at the memory of Pinkie trying her first oyster. We went to Whitstable for the Oyster Festival in late July, a friend had rented a cottage and there was enough room for a couple of cheeky airbeds in the lounge for a night or two.
Again, the weather was incredible and we were able to plot up on the stoney beach and watch our children crabbing on the boat ramp directly in front of us. There was plenty of whooping and cheering, splashing and swimming and general merriment. At tea time I wandered off to get bags of chips for the fisherfolk, not intending to indulge myself, but the smell was irresistible and I soon returned with chips for all and a bottle of cold Chablis. It was one of the finest meals anywhere ever.
“Can I try an oyster?” asked Pinkie as the queue at the oyster shed quietened down for the first time in hours.
“Absolutely,” I declared and we wandered off barefoot to get her one.
“You’ll have one too won’t you Mummy?”
“Of course,” I said nearly sincerely.
We both took hold of the shells and poured it back. It was quite nice in all honesty, the after taste that is, not so much the mouthful of seawater snot. I looked at Pinkie who looked wild eyed.
She stared at me, mute. She held me there for seconds, not one, multiple seconds.
“Are you ok?” I asked.
Her whole face cracked into a huge smile, “I like that,” she declared and I began to laugh. Pinkie is a child that is game enough to try an oyster and as it transpires like it. She will eat houmous, mussels, stilton and mustard (not together obviously), but has never tried a glass of orange squash, fruit juice of any kind, or jam; all of these items are not good to look at according to Pinkie.
“Would you like anymore?”
“Yes, just one please, to go with my chips”.
I had to kiss her, my funny little contraire girl.
As we rounded the bend to home a black cloud loomed over us, as if to say, the summer has actually gone. We really did have the time of our lives (and more picnics than Yogi Bear), the weather was great pretty much throughout the school holidays and Pinkie and Blue were my children again, not small people to be scheduled every minute of every day.
“Homework, dinner, teeth, lights off, get up, bus repeat.”
I would love them to have a gap year from school, a year off at the age they are now, when we can go to museums and be in awe at the size of a dinosaur skeleton, or we can spend a day crabbing with nothing but a net and some cheap bacon, or when I can give them £3 each in 2p’s to play with at the seaside arcade and it is still the stuff that makes me, and I quote:
“The best mum in the world ever.”
We were so wholesome we could have been in a glossy magazine making home preserves with gingham lids, and yet here I am cursing under my breath as I have to run a forgotten PE kit to school and gather rogue dirty socks from under the sofa. Still it’s only four weeks until half term, not nearly as good as the long summer holiday but better than nothing.