The Long Road Home

12 August 2012

Time to pack up and go home. The Boss and I spent hours fighting our inner “stuff it in the boot and worry about it later!” demons and meticulously tidied, cleaned, wiped, folded and packed carefully. Just in case the tent doesn’t make it out again this year. We needed something to distract the minxes so we gave them a bottle of bubbles each. They blew them over the couple from the tent nearest ours who were eating breakfast a few feet away. The minxes surrounded them like gypsy violin players, enveloping the pair with bubbles instead of sweet music. Rather than be irked, they seemed charmed by it. I guess that’s the main reason why the noisiest family in the world (us) weren’t given a slow hand-clap as we left.


We were so sad to be leaving, so stopped a little along the way at a reservoir for a leg-stretch. Reservoir? Looks like the sunny side of the moon!

…or near side of the moon?

We had to stop in Inverness, unfortunately, because it suddenly struck me that the girls needed school shoes, and with one week to go I was pushing my luck! Clarks measured Maxi and Midi Minx’s feet while I crouched down to play with Mini. I literally fell over when I saw Midi’s measurement: 9.5 H. But she was measured as an 8H only 6 weeks ago! How could that be? No wonder the poor child had been moaning about wearing her shoes and trainers – I’d just assumed that she was being fussy. Oops… <guilt, guilt=””> The assistant breezily waved away the fact that they didn’t have anything in the girls’ sizes, but hauled out that old chestnut of being able to go down a width measurement if you go up a size. Riiiiiight… I used to be polite, but nowadays I figure that it is my job and my duty to do the very best by my kids as I can, and to hell with my own popularity. So I second-guessed everything she did after she got their sizes mixed up AGAIN and didn’t notice. She asked my 4 year old how they felt and was happy to leave it at that. I don’t ask 4 year olds nebulous questions; I tell ’em to skip, hop, run, jump and take big strides around. I watch for slipping heels and bulging insteps. One pair of shoes she said fitted I disagreed with and showed how easily they slid off Midi’s skinny little heels (she has feet like a duck – really hard to fit). Eventually, we had 2 pairs of shoes that fit well enough. I was sucking my gums like a lemon-face because although they were black patent leather, they had red flashing lights and shiny bits. On school shoes?! Terrible! But beggars can be choosers. Next time I’ll get the shoes more than a week to go!*

*Incidentally, I found lots of more suitable pairs of school shoes in the right sizes on the Startrite website. Seriously speedy delivery, but alas absolutely none fitted: with Startrite a wide toebox = wide heel. Shame, because they were simple, robust-looking styles. No thin soles or bloody flashing red lights in sight!

What Maxi does instead of sleeping in the morning

Before we got home, Maxi let out a whoop – on the drive back she’d finished her Anne of Green Gables book. Aye – the book that caused consternation in our house when she asked, “Mummy, when will you teach me how to say my prayers?” She’s now moved on to Huckleberry Finn. Oh boy, I wonder how long it is before I’m summoned to the school to explain her

How to dodge helping pack up camp

language…?! I don’t know whether to forewarn her new teacher in case Maxi innocently repeats some words that were in common usage 150 years ago but are now considered worse than swear words. I don’t want to look like a pushy, proud, Mother-Of-A-Genius type, though. Och, I’ll just keep schtum and go on asking Maxi about what she’s been reading. Besides, I bet I can distract her with Heido, or something more innocent!

When we got home we refused to give up that holiday feeling, so ate an early dinner then legged it to the swing park. We had a lovely hour dodging the swarming flying ants and squealing on the seesaws. I knew fine that the flying ants wouldn’t hurt little Mini, and I’m not generally squeamish (I pick caterpillars off my cabbages for the birds and used to let spiders run down my face to freak out my sister, for goodness’ sake!) but my disgust at them waggling in my baby’s hair was visceral. Even Mini eventually tired of sliding down the chute to squash hundreds of them with her nappy, each time.

That night, the entire Trout household was snoring earlier than any other night that entire summer holiday.

Our Neighbours Love Us Lots and Lots. Honest.

They didn’t learn to bath ‘babies’ like that from ME!!

Apart from the adventures of Foster Cat, what else has been going on with us today? Mostly annoying our neighbours 😀

After dropping off Foster Cat at the vets, we got home, had enforced pee breaks, then set off on the 30 minute walk to the hairdressers. The minxes were bribed to sit still for an hour and they received their reward of a ChuppaChups Lolly right afterwards. For a change, it wasn’t pouring with rain or howling with wind, so we detoured to the swing park.

“Mumma, help me onto the swing!” yelled Maxi.

“Mummy, heeeeeeeeelp!” cried Midi as she got her legs stuck in a baby swing.

Mini, meanwhile, said nothing at all but got on with trying to kill herself on the chute. Those minxes like to keep me on my toes, attention split 3 ways…

On the loooooong dawdle back up the hill, poor Mini was helping push Midi in the buggy, tripped over my feet, and made a perfect prat-fall. The wee soul grazed her little knees right through her leggings and dress. Midi felt so sorry for her that she let Mini sit in the buggy for a whole 20 yards before turfing her out, again. Unlike her sisters at 2, Mini’s a bit short of spare flesh and padding, so the bash on her knees must have really hurt. I plastered it in germolene for the local anaesthetic and put a suitably enormous graze plaster over it, but she still limped every time she remembered to.

After lunch, with Mini safely napping, Maxi and Midi were shaping up to having yet another grouchy, yell-y, crotchety day. So I decided it was time to role-play Snow White, Cinderella and their Wicked Stepmothers, and set them to do some terrible chores. The Boss is trying to sell our old car, so I started them with some little buckets of water, a splash of Fairy liquid, 2 brooms and the plastic boot liner of the car. After 20 minutes, even I was impressed with the job they’d done. I’d even added to the atmosphere by urging them to brush harder or they’d not get any gruel and dust for dinner. I think Midi thought that sounded more tempting than the reality (Butter Turkey Curry). On a cleaning high, they then set to work scrubbing other big plastic furniture things that sit mouldering in our garden.

The sun popped out; it got hot. I decided that it was time to have some fun, and we bathed some dollies. Midi got overexcited and tried to immerse herself in the basin. My own inner minx is never far below the surface, and so I fetched some towels, dry dresses, dry underwear, and stashed them somewhere safe in the corner. Then I got a big watering can of freezing cold water, decanted a little into a bucket, and got the girls to act as moving targets. They quickly stripped to their pants and screamed their little heads off.

Now, I should tell you that I have a good aim. I win prizes at carnival shooting galleries. I’m not at all bad at instinctively assessing the trajectory of a wriggling minx and throwing a nice wide arc of water to meet said minx. However, when it catches her right smack in the chest at the perfect sweet spot of the water-arc, it even caught me by surprise. Maxi cried hot tears of indignation, Midi hooted at the sight of her sister being drenched, and I couldn’t breathe from being doubled over laughing. Poor wee soul! She was cross because I’d caught her unawares. So we spent a happy half-hour of them racing back and forth and me emptying the watering can cup by cup. The neighbours weren’t impressed at the shrieks and squeals: one loudly shut her window in disgruntlement, and another lurked loomingly at the window. Till Midi whipped her soaking knickers off and raced around nude, yelling, “Yippitty-yay! Yippitty-yay!”. He vanished pretty instantly. Well, I guess attack is the best defence, and all that.

We watered the entire veg patch, picked some barely ripe peas, talked to the bees and just had a really fun afternoon – not too much angry yelling, lots of nice sisters-helping-each-other. I think tomorrow I’d better give the neighbours a wee break and take the girls further afield. I’ll save breaking out the paddling pool, BBQ, bubble-machine and boogie box till the next day, eh?