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When you are: October 2010

31 October 2010

Happy Hallowe'en from the world's worst dad

There's been a lot of coverage in the press this week about how much of another American import Hallowe'en is becoming, with one victim of this being the very British festival a few days later that is bonfire night. Elf an sayftie have a lot to answer for the demise of our ritual burning of the poor Guy Fawkes as we British, as a nation, take part in our favoured pastime of honouring failures.

But, when in Indianapolis…

Last year the big fella had a skeleton mask and t-shirt, both of which have been worn throughout the year. The mask is nothing more than printed card with a thin bit of elastic cord tied round the back. Amazingly, given it's been in his bed, thrown around our own local landfill site (his bedroom), and generally had a good hammering it's in pristine condition.

School had a Hallowe'en day on Thursday, so in he went in the t-shirt and mask. Home he came in his t-shirt. The wind caught his mask while they were outside and, well, let's say after a bit of wind and a drizzle of rain there's little hope for it.

"Not happy at losing my mask"

Poor fella was gutted. I listened to this on the phone in the afternoon. Not "Hello, Daddy" or anything normal like that. Straight on saying has was not best chuffed.

I spotted my chance. I left work a little early, called in a couple of shops, came away with a full cloth black hood with white mesh face with a black skeletal face painted on the mesh. Brilliant! And only 49p too! Appealed to both the Dad and tight-fisted miser in me. Arriving home I awaited my normal greeting. Alas, it was not there.

"Not happy at losing my mask"

OK, son, take a look in my jacket pocket. The excitement was there in his face. His eyes opened, the pupils dilated, I could even hear a heartbeat across the kitchen. Go on, pull the zip. The excitement built, he reached in, pulled it out, opened it up and… I pinpointed the exact moment when it all went wrong. From there the heartbeat went back to normal, the eyes closed, the frown came out.

"Want my other one, the one that blew away"

I have well and truly had my first lesson in how all dads are a disappointment to their children. After this it gets easier to take, that's what I'm telling myself to get through it.

Thankfully the big night itself went better. My first ever pumpkin carving was quite good - the big fella compared it with a neighbour's pumpkin and gave a fair critique, and one visitor did say it was the best they'd seen that night. With a new full skeleton suit for both boys we scared the neighbours good and proper. He even learned a couple of skeleton joke for good measure.

Why did the skeleton cross the road? Because he was going to the body shop.
What musical instrument do the skeletons play? The trom-bone

A few kids who came to our door went away scarred (that's two "r"s there) for life after seeing MOTS with her mask on. What's that, you left your mask in the kitchen? Ohhhhh….

In the true spirit of things our next door neighbour parked his car across his drive such that the front was hard up against the hedge at one side and the boot against the hedge at the other. Nobody, but nobody was getting through there. Skeletons and ghosts, however…

25 October 2010

A Premier Week

We’re back home after a week away in Yorkshire and straight away we’re looking through the Premier Cottages brochure to see where we can go next. Well, strictly speaking that’ll be to see Steve & Vicki, but we do appear to have liked being away again this year so it might be the start of two weeks away with one of those being at A. N. Other place.

With a shorter drive than usual it was a much slower start to the holiday. Stopping near the Tyne Tunnel for lunch hardly made it feel like we had gone far, especially when in walked one of #1’s pals from nursery – his family were heading in the same direction.

With another stop along the way for a coffee, a time kill, and to feed the little ‘un, we arrived to find the cottage clean, spacious, and welcoming. Is that a disaster up there though? We’re on the first floor, the boards creak a bit, are we going to be upsetting anyone below us? I hope there’s nobody downstairs this week...

Disaster averted – our first floor cottage at Old Oak Cottages in Little Thirkleby (just how Yorkshire is that for a place name?) extended over the back end of the swimming pool, spa, changing room and sauna. So nobody downstairs to upset when the baby elephant was stomping around, which was just as well given we were actually staying in a sanctuary run by Born Free, or so you’d have thought given how often that baby elephant came past.

So what have we been up to?

It’s late October now, so things are winding down for winter. Which means special timetables, reduced opening hours, and compromises on weekend only activities as we only had one weekend day to go at. The winner for our Sunday trade was Lightwater Valley. Alton Towers it is not, but with the majority of things being OK for the big guy to go on it was a worthwhile trip. MOTS was kind enough to let me have a shot on a couple of big boys things so I had a couple of adrenalin fixes. We have decided that Alton Towers is well and truly out of the question until both boys can go on most if not everything, we just don’t want it restrictive for them.

Food featured along the way too, with cracking fish and chips (even I failed to finish them) in Whitby and the best sausage rolls I’ve ever tasted from Hunters of Helmsley – that place looked to be a goldmine. We are sadly lacking any sort of deli-come-baker of this calibre near home.

Not that we needed any more, we brought a new mouse into the house. A wooden one from the Mouseman in Kilburn – sadly not on the telephone desk that I liked or the craft desk that MOTS liked. Lottery win still absent, which is why our mice are also absent. No, just a small mouse for #1 son.

York – and in 2 separate locations we saw #1’s nursery pal again. I’ve heard of walking holidays but not stalking holidays! The NRM went down a storm, big trains, going on trains, looking under trains, playing with trains. Even crashing trains (yes, there next to the signalling exhibition is the crashes exhibition – not that the two are in any way linked, SN109…)

And back to the pool – as we did numerous times. #2 son got his first shot in the water, he lasted quite a while and had some serious underwater time going on. The big boy decided he was too big for his arm bands and so ditched them, in favour of the Ben 10 ring that was there. That did get ditched too, so completely unaided he managed over the course of one day to swim over 6 widths of the pool with no assistance at all. He’s got no chance of ditching his bands when we’re back in the wave machine at home, so I’ll expect a few strops there!

All in all a good week, a couple of firsts, some revisits to places I haven’t been for decades, and some other stuff we as DINKs used to do, but now with a family hat on instead.

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