Ken the Gardener turned up half an hour early yesterday. He had been consulting the weather forecast, he explained, and reckoned he could just about fit in his two hours of mowing, weeding, digging and delving before the
rain came down. His reckoning was faultless - when he knocked on the front door to hand back his empty coffee cup and receive his well-earned wages, the first drops were just starting to fall.
The Middle of the Darling Daughters had also consulted a weather forecast when she decided that Wednesday would be a better day than Thursday, weather-wise, for our weekly Holiday At Home Day. All I can say is, she can't have
had access to Ken the Gardener’s crystal ball.
It was, indeed, Rainageddon on Wednesday. My daughter arrived on the doorstep, drenched through, despite having
only run from car to door. She was singing: “Rain, rain, we don't care…” a new song which will probably never make it into the charts but rather summed up our afternoon. We have had two wonderfully sunny days so far; it was time our resolve
to enjoy ourselves whatever the weather was tested.
Many years ago, when the Foursome were but littl’uns, we enjoyed what became known ever after as the
“Bingo Holiday”. Faced with the prospect of long hours grounded in our caravan in North Wales, Mr B went out and bought a game of Bingo. We played it every day - two pence for a line, 5p for a full house. The kids went home with loadsamoney and
we had the cheapest holiday ever.
The Rascal and the Twinkles are a little young for Bingo, so their mother and I came up with a different kind of Game Plan.
Soft play, followed by a Happy Meal at the home of Ronald McDonald and a showing of Despicable Me 3 at a local cinema.
Why is it called “soft play”,
I wonder? It seemed like hard work to me. The Middle of the Darling Daughters kept emerging from the melée looking totally exhausted while the Trio rampaged around having a fine old time. The noise level was beyond description, Lilia somehow escaped
from the soft play area despite “maximum security” (further proof, if proof were needed, that her middle name should be Houdini) and The Rascal discovered a whole new game involving steps, a slide and a large, green, cylindrical cushion. It was,
in short, Great Fun.
Eventually the Middle of the Darling Daughters persuaded me to leave the area for four year olds and under where I was thoroughly enjoying
myself and we headed off to the Trio’s Eaterie of Choice. When I say “headed off” this is something of an exaggeration as I couldn’t exactly remember how to get from where we were to where we wanted to be, it being several years since
I last travelled to the Land of the Happy Meal. The Middle of Darling Daughters kept her cool, despite the distinct Lack of Positive Navigation from the passenger seat and the fact that Lilia, in the back, had once again removed her shoes and socks, presumably
all the better for paddling through the inevitable puddles when we finally made it to the car park.
The Happy Meal was a very, well, happy occasion for all despite
the rather disturbing (at least to me) pictures of merrily clucking chickens decorating the walls of the restaurant. The Trio’s mother reassured me that her little ones were unlikely to make a connection between the pictures on the walls and their chicken
nuggets. We each nursed a very welcome cup of coffee and steamed gently in the heat as our clothes started to dry out.
What can I say about Despicable Me 3? I
mean, I don't want to spoil anything for you. Suffice to say the main character Gru finds he has a twin brother, named Drew. “Hope the Twinkles don't pick up too many ideas from them,” I worried but my daughter reckoned Tala and Lilia could probably
teach Gru and Drew a thing or two. After all, was it not Tala who, asked by the gender-conscious Health Visitor if she was a boy or girl, retorted: “No! Tala is a tiger!” Attagirl!
So to the end of another Happy Holiday Day. The Trio and their mother drove off, all three of the little ones blowing kisses at me from the back seat. The rain was easing off - tomorrow, treacherously, would be a better day
as far as the weather was concerned. But, really, there was no way a bit of rain - or even rather a lot of the Wet Stuff - could dampen our spirits or quench our enthusiasm.
“Rain, rain, we don't care…”