Young Faris the Rascal positions himself and his street scooter in front of his mother and demands: “What are the rules?!” Tala and Lilia, the Rascalettes, stand by, listening expectantly. When, I wonder to
myself, did my Trio of Rampaging Rascals decide to adopt adherence to rules as an approach?
We are on the deserted tennis courts at Field Place (one of Worthing’s
many “hidden gems”) - three full-sized courts marked out in red and green with white lines, a veritable Scooter Heaven. We have already spent a happy time in the playground where we met young Olivia of the Infectious Giggle whose favourite lunch
box treats, she tells me, are the cheese sandwiches and raisins. (As you know, I do enjoy engagng in such Meaningful Conversations with the people I meet, young and old alike.) We had moved on at the suggestion of the Middle of the Darling Daughters, whose
arms were aching at having to push one twin after another on the swings: “Faster! Faster!” they cried. Repeatedly. The empty tennis courts next to the playground would be an ideal spot for the Trio to let off some of their fearsome energy, she
said. Hence - the Rules.
Rule One, she commands, is to scoot all round the tennis courts, without crossing any white line. Faris immediately sets off at a fair
pace, followed by Tala (elder of the twins by one important minute, you may remember.) Lilia the Contrary also sets off - but straight across all three courts, crossing white line after white line. Rules, it appears, don’t count for much as far as the
youngest member of the Trio is concerned. So it continues, through Rules Two to Ten. My favourite Rule is when they are asked to scoot to the furthest corner and do five press-ups before scooting back. I’m pretty sure both Faris and Tala only do two
press-ups rather than ten - it seems they are not averse to bending the rules when they think they might be out of sight. Lilia - well, do you need to ask?
home we return to the jigsaws I bought from the charity shop that very morning and the Tweenies book bag in which all the characters from that once popular children’s TV programme live, along with six story books plus Noddy and Big Ears for good measure
(and added Plot Potential.) As usual, everyone wants to be Doodles the Dog - but Rules Are Rules Which means taking turns to play Doodles. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters (yes, she has come too, she hates to miss out on anything. Just like me) takes charge of the jigsaws while I am in charge of the Tweenie Toy Bag. It seems a fair division of labour.
I’m enjoying the fact
that I can now hug my Rascals with two arms, having dispensed with the Robot Sling since I last saw them. You will not be surprised to learn that I made up for lost time.
We feast on my famous (though only in the family) curry which goes down exceptionally well. Pride, however, goes before a fall - and the jelly I have set in a rabbit-shaped mould refuses to turn itself out so that I am forced to present a Right Royal
Mess to my small fry, who are unfortunately expecting a “surprise” because that’s what I told them to expect. I forgot that rule about the perils of Raising Great Expectations.
There are, of course, all kinds of house rules which my Tremendous Ten grandchildren understand they are expected to obey when visiting their Grandad (known to you all as Mr B) and me. You will also know, because I have told
you before, that every one of them knows full well that anyone disobeying the rules will, of course, be loved and forgiven in the usual way...