Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Birthday, a Trip and a Mountain Goat

The Duracell Bunny is clambering, sure-footedly, over the rocks on Barry Island's beautiful sandy Blue Flag beach. He is just like a mountain goat, I tell him admiringly.

Morgan is not amused at my whimsy. He is not a mountain goat, he tells me sternly, he is a Mountain Power Ranger. Oops, my mistake!

It's only mid-morning but already we have crammed a lot in. James, the Birthday Boy, has opened lots of birthday cards, painstakingly reading out ( or, should I say, trying to decipher) the loving messages scrawled inside. I have made a mental note to write really, really clearly in Young Ones' birthday cards in future. I suggest he counts the number of kisses in the card from my sister and her fella - eight in all, one for each year of Young James's life plus "one for luck." Sam and James say they have already worked that one out. Arguably the prize for the best decorated card should go to Morgan (aka The Duracell Bunny) who has covered every inch of white space on the front of his home-made card with stickers of crocodiles and other beasties.

There is just enough time to open a few presents before it's time for the Rush to School. James pins his "7 today" badge on his red school jumper. Let's face it, if there is even the tiniest chance of preferential treatment on account of it being his special day, it's worth a try.

With the bigger boys at school and their mum at work, The Duracell Bunny, his Dad and I head off to Barry Island so that I can see for myself the regeneration which has earned a place on the short list for a national planning award. It is, indeed, impressive. The Duracell Bunny, at three years old, is not too bothered about a multi-million pound regeneration scheme - but he does love scooting along the wide promenade and traversing the climbing wall spelling out YNIS Y BARRI (that's Barry Island to all we non Welsh speakers) in colourful seaside motifs. I admire the beach huts, brightly painted in red, blue, green and yellow. My Boy and I have a conversation about what an excellent addition a beach hut would make to every Family Beach Day.

At the far end of the prom we find trampolines, a slide and a roundabout. The Duracell Bunny bounces, slides and revolves to his little heart's content and mine. On the roundabout he chooses to ride on the stagecoach, driving the horses. His father and I yell "Yee-hah!" every time he passes us and he grins back at us, forgivingly. Another couple of years and we will be An Embarrassment but that's one of the good things about three year olds: they are not easily embarrassed. I am delighted to note that there is an interloper among the galloping horses on the roundabout - a solitary elephant. Was he put there on purpose or did the roundabout manufacturer run out of horses? I can feel a story coming on...

We eat in a charmingly different sea-front coffee shop called Bay 5, which used to be the old Lifeguard Station. On the window-sill next to the table where we are seating is an apparently true tale about tramps who used to come into the station to rifle through false teeth which had been handed in to find a set which would be a good fit! I may be Mrs Gullible, but I see no reason to doubt its authenticity. My Boy and I eat bacon ciabattas while the Duracell Bunny demolishes three wraps, a packet of teddy-bear shaped crisps (not all with legs and arms intact) and something called a Barney Bear cake, washed down with juice. I tell him that he must have hollow legs because his tummy clearly can't be big enough to accommodate all the food he has eaten. He contemplates his legs for a bit, then says he doesn't think so.

Before we head home, we spend a happy hour in Toys R Us where My Boy had been charged by various aunts and uncles with buying presents for the Birthday Boy. The Duracell Bunny and I amuse ourselves by pressing the buttons on all the toy Minions and trying out for size all the battery operated toy cars. Morgan is torn between the Range Rover and the red Ferrari.

We are home just in time to head off to pick up the older boys from school. More present opening then it's a pub meal for eight as we have been joined by James's other grandparents. We are a Merry Crowd. And finally, the cake, the Blowing Out of Candles, the age-old Happy Birthday song.

All that happened two days ago, on Wednesday. However, I am one of those people who doesn't simply live in the present but likes to look back to the past and on into the future. So I see my Sweet James as a new-born who arrived several weeks early as if he couldn't bear to miss out on any of the fun. So very tiny, so very fragile, so very precious. Now he's confident and loving, enjoying being part of his football team (especially as his Dad is "Coach Steve".) Facing the camera, he likes to strike an attitude, arms crossed, inscrutable expression on his bespectacled face. He is the image of his Dad at the same age. I speculate on what he will be like in twenty, thirty years.

My James. Who started so small and has grown so tall. Seven is, indeed, a Magic Age.

One to be enjoyed. Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute.

James knows how.




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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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