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No More Pimm's (in the Paddling Pool)


Summer’s end and with it a monster school shoes, uniform, pants purchase. The continuing sun is confusing me and I still feel like my head is half way through August but my body is sewing on name tags and forcing the children back into footwear and proper bedtimes.

When I wrote my last missive I was heady from late July fumes and felt the holidays stretching out never ending, full of promise. The reality was it was six weeks with only two official weeks off work, a fully booked B&B, and 3 children plus passing ones to entertain.  Doing the highlights, BAFTA style, I would have to rank sitting in a large paddling pool in Blonde Shelly’s garden with a jug of Pimms and a ban on children joining us as fairly high. Same goes for a variety of beach trips with and without additional friends and equipment but not the one where I lost the Curly Son for ten minutes and my heart skidded around my body. He was on someone else’s beach blanket negotiating use of their frisbee. There has been a lot of gin and nice pink wine and a family reunion camping trip where I wondered why we didn’t go camping more often and then by day 2 remembered. Plus a glorious trip to the North Devon surf and barbecued mackerel on the beach, caught by Eldest Son. It has been a halcyon type summer. The sort that has to fill a child’s memory and never leave, hazy, happy, the sun literally always shining. Computers and telly almost….almost forgotten. Amongst this we have seen countless holiday makers arrive and leave, run through our lists of Top Ten Local Things To Do/See/Eat, drawn them maps, adapted the breakfast hampers for those who are gluten intolerant, dairy free, must have cherry tomatoes, lent them beach stuff and seen the glow from the fire bowl at the end of the evening when they are outside in the dregs of the light. They have all, without exception, been a pleasure to have and I never ever thought I would be saying that after 6 long bed changing weeks. And it has reminded me constantly that we do live in a pretty fantastic place and we need to get out and enjoy it too. Which is what I said to the children on an almost daily basis. ‘When I was your age it took us 3 hours to get to the nearest beach and we only went ONCE a year.  Can you imagine?!’. Faces, ice cream smeared looking at me wearily, waiting to see if I would ever add anything new to the mantra. ‘And…and….we never wore seatbelts in the back of the car.’ Ha, that got their attention. I won’t begin to explain journey’s before computer devices. It would blow their little minds.  

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