While ds1 does his archaeology 'thang' (i.e. digs a large hole in some woman's large garden in Surrey) we have six hours to do 'something' in the area before picking him up.
A friend suggests taking them to the cinema.
Spending £20 at the cinema for one-and-a-half-hour's entertainment is an obvious suggestion when that's how you regularly occupy your kids in the holidays, (along with playschemes, skiing lessons, weekends at Centreparcs...you get my drift)
Being on the fraying end of the financial shoestring this month, it's not a sensible option.
No! I thought. I will battle to save that 20 quid!
As anyone with kids knows, occupying them when the sun is shining is a doddle.
Does the sun shine?
Does it heck!
So off we go with macs, wellies, leggings, bikes, a smelly (and later wet, dirty and smelly) dog, a dog blanket for wiping dirty hands (cos I forget to take the towel), felt-tip pens, drawing pencils (various varieties), notepads, paper, a board to lean on when drawing on paper, books (read-alouds and read-yourselves) a game of Uno, two Nintendo Ds's and games, an educational CD on famous scientists, a folder of my revision work, exam papers, several tedious books on literary criticism that I will probably only read when deprived of all other reading matter, changes of clothes, and more spare socks, a pair of walking boots (cos one child might complain about the wellies), drinks, more drinks, sandwiches, bananas (quickly crushed to a pulp and I forget to bring the fruit cake), the dog lead, dog poo bags (which as you see come in handy later), an umbrella, my camera, the kids' cameras because I think my memory card and batteries may be coming to the end of their life, and [deep breath] a life-time's (or hopefully 6 hours') supply of Tesco Value Chocolate bars.
Yes. I can fully understand why the option to throw your kids in the car in t-shirts and trainers, drive to the cinema, spend 20 quid on cinema tickets, followed by another 30 quid in Pizza Hut, is very appealing. As I frequently find, resourcefulness takes up a lot of space.
So, we get there and do a bit of this :
(I make them do an hour with lunch as the incentive. This is Wet Weather Bootcamp, you know.)
Followed by some of these:
Then onto the bikes:
where ds2 discovers that his bike seat is rather too hard for going over large bumps:
More of these:
Then a quick repair of a pedal (using those very handy dog poo bags - I was a girl guide, you know) that waits until we are a mile away from the car before choosing to break.
And yes, my kids did wonder why I was taking a photo of this. For the blog! For the blog! I say. They don't understand is that mothers get very bored too and have to find motivating ways to occupy themselves for six hours in the rain.
Then some more of this:
More of these:
More of this:
While I do some of this (under an umbrella):
And eat more of these:
And then an hour of playing on their Nintendos sitting in the car in the carpark waiting for ds1 to arrive, while I receive some bad news on my phone (very sad, very sudden).
And then 2.5 hours moving approximately nowhere at a "I'm bored-I'm hungry-He's taking up all the space-He hit me!-Will someone hold onto the *!%**! dog before he ends up under the brake pedal" pace in a tailback on the M25. At which point
we run out of these:
and we resort,
first to Radio 4, where I learn all about Solomon (whether I wanted to or not),
and then to
The Educational CD on Famous Scientists, for entertainment.
I feel, after being educated for an hour, that I should know all about the bible and science and who Solomon is and why Copernicus was a bit crap and why the other blokes after him were a bit better.
But all I can remember is something about telescopes and a spectacle maker and that I should have bought two packs of these:
Then ds1 pipes up from the back:
'Oh. I think I might have left my trainers behind.'
Yes. In someone's garden. In the rain. In Surrey.
I keep my temper. I do. Honest.
So he has no trainers (i.e. no shoes at all) one day before he has fencing practice (I swear I would send him in slippers) and two days before a fencing competition (when not even I would be mean enough to send him in slippers) and he will definitely need A PAIR OF TRAINERS.
So, on arrival home, I drop two wet children and one rank dog off, race out with ds1 to the nearest late-night-opening sports shop and we find him a new pair of trainers.
At the handsome price of £23.99.
Thank you Oh Wondrous Higher Being.
Thank you for rewarding me for my frugal 20 quid-saving endeavours.
You know what. This goes to prove it.
I always knew you weren't a woman.