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.

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