Faris the Rascal who, like his Nanni, is a sociable type, has palled up with a little lad in the paddling pool at Brooklands Park. I think part of the attraction might have been that Eliot had two rather exciting looking
toy cars in his possession but maybe I am doing my grandson a disservice.
I listen in shamelessly to their conversation. Faris indicates, with a sweep of
his arm, his sister Tala who is standing under the water fountain with a rapt expression on her face. “That's my girl!” he tells his new-found friend. He then looks around to see Lilia, arms wrapped around a large fish, modelled on that well-known
cartoon fish, Nemo, which stands on the side of the pool. “And that's my girl!” he points out. I find myself wondering at this sweet, but unusual, description of his sisters - then remember that his Daddy always talks about “my girls.”
In this, as in so many other ways, the Rascal is His Father’s Son.
It is the second week of our Holiday At Home Days and the Middle of the Darling Daughters has travelled down, once again,
to spend the day with me. I, remembering happy times past with the four older grandchildren before they became too grownup for such childish pleasures as swings, slides and paddling pools, have decided to recreate those far off times and introduce The Trio
to a different experience week by week. This week - Brooklands Park.
The Middle of the Darling Daughters was sure she had been there before but, as we drove
into the car park, admitted she was mistaken. She would, she explained, have remembered the car park. If I thought this a trifle strange, I wasn't about to say - I was just so excited to introduce her and her Trio to the charms of Brooklands.
Charm is a good word to use. Brooklands has a charm all of its own. No theme park this, with outrageous entrance prices, thriller rides and carefully managed signage and “corporate
identity.” There's no charge to enter, to enjoy the playground - complete with equipment for children with disabilities because “We Play Too!” - or for the paddling pool with the fountain in the middle. The Diddley train which runs all round
the lake costs £1.50 a person but it’s a good long ride; we didn't have time to sample the delights of the bouncy castle, trampolines etc but at £1 for fifteen minutes of fun it wouldn’t be likely to break the bank. Brightly coloured
paintings decorate various buildings including the station house.
In the playground the Trio forsake the equipment meant for children their age and go for
the thrill of tackling the climbing frame and slide for older kids, with its rope ladders, long slide and tricky bridges to cross. With three of them and only two of us, the Middle of the Darling Daughters and I have our hands full and our hearts in our mouths.
The paddling pool is shallow enough not to present so many dangers but I roll up my trouser legs, slip off my sandals and join my grandkids in the pool. Well, someone had to keep an eye on them...
After our trip round the lake on the Diddley train, we repaired to the Café where we delivered on the request for chocolate ice-creams, waved at the train as it passed by (“We are wavers!”) and discovered
a butterfly sunning itself on the fence. A perfect afternoon out.
After tea in the back garden with Grandad and Watery Mayhem at bath time, it was home time for
the Trio and their mother. My daughter did, however, leave me with something special - The Rascal’s “Learning Journal” from his nursery school. There, in a lever arch file packed with photographs and many coloured post-it notes, the amazingly
detailed story of my youngest grandson’s last year. Every picture, every post-it note has a tale to tell. Example: “Faris was playing a very extended game with Poppy. He showed her the camera, opened it and said ‘Needs batteries - Daddy has
The Learning Journal shows how Faris has grown from the somewhat wilful little lad who would never sit still during story
time to the confident and caring boy who “when a boy sitting next to him cried at home time because he didn't have any craft to take home, told him ‘Don't worry!” I am delighted to see that “Nanni” even gets a couple of mentions
in despatches. Aka post-it notes.
I thought the file was called a Learning Journey - but actually it's called a Learning Journal. To be honest. I think I had it right first time. Our Rascal has travelled such a very long way in a year. Like his mother, I am immensely grateful to the staff of Hook Village Nursery who charted his progress so lovingly and painstakingly.
It's been, indeed, a fascinating, fun-filled, action-packed Learning Journey. Now for "Giant School"!