Just Me and Mini

The Picnic Chariot

Thursday 6 Sep 2012

Monday was Midi Minx’s first day full-time in school.  Both me and Mini were missing her dreadfully, rattling about this quiet house on our own.  So we decided to do Mini’s favourite thing: go on a picnic.

I’d been threatening to go out cycling with Mini for a while, so The Boss had checked my old bike over, pulled out helmets for us both, a neon-bright bag cover, waterproofs and extra packed-lunch boxes.  Blimey, you’d think he didn’t trust me to find them myself!  Then again, maybe he’s frightened of the mess of the garage if I’d gotten frustrated looking for something in vain?

(I wonder if it’s under here..? I’ll just put that carefully over there… Nope. What about under this?  I’ll put it on the pile… Nope. Hell. What about under here?  I’ll just chuck that over there… Nope. Bloody hell!  Ok, let’s throw that stupid thing over here, and that pointless thing over there, then I might be able to see… Argh! Why is my life so cluttered?! I’ll just kick that pile over… Oh that feels better… I’ll go stamp on that… Grrrrr! I’m so ANGRY!! Why can’t I find a stupid bicycle pump?! NggggAAARGH! <crunch, rage=”” stomp,=””>)

Although I could chop up scabby dog, add a boiled egg, call it ‘picnic’ and the minxes would eat and enjoy it, I made a bit of an effort today: tuna sandwiches, little BabyBels, tiny bottles of water, cherries, “stobs” (strawberries).  And boiled eggs.  Add a change of clothes, a few nappy changes, a ton of tissues and we’re ready.  And we’re not… back to get Mini dressed a bit more warmly – it may be the start of September, but that breeze is nippy!

Happy Tummy!

We cycled the 2 miles to Roseisle with Mini complaining bitterly the whole way about how bumpy the ground was.  Talk about Princess and the Pea!  My bike is a Cadillac of a big old bike; I rode on the smoothest bits of the path; Mini was wearing thick trousers and a nappy.  Hmph!  She had some fun stomping around when we got to the beach, but the tide was in and I’d stupidly not put her in wellies – her little Doodles would be pointless in wet sand.  My idea of walking about barefoot didn’t appeal to her, and I didn’t fancy her hanging around too long beside an area that a previous toddler’s lazy parent had left a used nappy at (there are hundreds of bins and a few skips not 50 yards away.  If someone is too lazy to take a nappy to a bin, I wonder what else they’re too lazy to do?)

We checked out the playground just back from the shore, as there were a few new things.  Predictably, Mini was only interested in climbing up the cargo net and whooshing down the slide. And again. And again…

After half an hour, it was time to go home.  It was fine, until I realised that I’d missed my turn-off.  My (crappy) navigational sense told me that I could nip off any of the tracks to the right to eventually hit the main 60mph road into the village, or I could go straight ahead to finally end up down by the caravan site.  But would any of the tracks go over the old railway line at a bit I could cycle over?  Or were they all tiny, rough, and for people on foot only?  I decided to go on to the caravan site.  And brave all the sand across the track that helped me do some alarming, crazy skids.  Mini thought they were a lot of fun; I didn’t.

We popped out much later at the caravan site, squeezed through some posts either site of the path with barely an inch to spare, up past the school, which Mini waved wildly at, and home.  Where she completed failed to have a nap :/

I dare you to click on this to see it larger, and count all the caterpillars…

Tuesday was a write-off because I had to finish a knitting order, and with winds gusting over 50mph, I didn’t fancy dragging my littlest minx out in it, other than for a short half-hour caterpillar-cull in the brussels sprouts, cabbages and broccoli (I’m still squashing 40 – 50 every 2 or 3 days, in a piece of ground 4ft x 4ft).

On Wednesday, I decided that Mini’s cold was better enough for us to go swimming and start getting her used to the pool again.  Well, after 15 minutes of her prancing around at the edge of the pool, I tried to get her more engaged.  How about splashing Mummy?  Nope.  What about watering my blue swimming cap?  Nope (I need to wear a cap at the pool because my hair is newly blue again and I don’t fancy leaving a river of blue semi-permanent dye everywhere I go…)  What about the chute?  The floats?  Armbands?  Your float vest?  Watering can?  Nothing.  Until Aqua Aerobics started, and suddenly Mini decided it was a lot of fun to leopard crawl on her belly to surreptitiously spy on the old ladies, then slither back to the little pool to bounce up and down in the water in time to the music.  Ah, well – it’s a start!

Trouts Go Brambling in Moray

Normal people decide to go brambling, set off, pick brambles, have a nice time, come home. Not us…

It took us a whole hour to get out. Well, 2, really. Straight after breakfast I recognised the signs of a sluggish family on go-slow, so suggested to The Boss that he go shower, get dressed, get the kids dressed, get the bikes out, and in the meantime I’d dive into town and do a grocery shop. It took me 45 minutes. When I came back everyone was mostly dressed. Ish.

I chivvied and nagged and they were ready to go after maybe half an hour. Then Mini Minx decided that she hadn’t had a tantrum in, ooooo, an hour. Perfect time for it. She didn’t want to wear her bike helmet. She wanted her bike. She didn’t like the rule ‘No Helmet, No Bike’. She didn’t want to wear a hat. She didn’t want to wear mitts. She didn’t want to go on my bike. She did want her bike. She didn’t want her helmet, still. She did want to go to sleep in her buggy. With her helmet. And her bike. She wouldn’t go in her buggy without them. She didn’t want to hold Evil, End-of-her-Tether Mummy’s hand. She’d hold Daddy’s hand if he begged. Well, he had to notice her, first – up till now he’d been staring vacantly into space, hoping that I’d organise everything and everyone. She decided that she would walk after all. So she did.

With a long line of neighbours tutting at the windows, we did the Walk of Shame down the road, a full 20 minutes after shutting the front door, Mini still sniffling, me gnashing my teeth. Foster Cat decided that it was all a disaster waiting to happen, and followed us. We spent a fruitless 5 minutes trying to shepherd him back home, eventually giving up and just plodding / walking beside the bikes the half-mile down out of town, across a few roads, to the coastal path. I even got to do my now-traditional “Slow down, you moron!” yell and hand-signals at a speeding orange car. Go, me…

I got 3 kids, 2 bikes, a sulky adult, an old cat (and a partridge in a pear tree) safely across the road, down the hill, and straight onto some of the shiniest, juiciest brambles I’ve seen in a long time. Brilliant! We abandoned the bikes, jackets and cat, and picked and picked. With a 1kg fruit jar full, we decided to cycle on down the path a bit. Foster Cat got nervous and started to miaow-cry. Poor old boy! OK, let’s set off back for home. Foster Cat bounded off happily, shepherding Mini and slow-coach Midi along the path back up the hill. Till we came across 2 big black labradors…

Exorcist Cat

I yelled to Maxi and Midi to stop cycling and wait. Mini clung to The Boss. The Boss glared at Foster Cat. I shooed the dogs away. I guess the dogs have heard Exasperated Old Bag before, because they obeyed me! Get out of town! So I lavished some Good Boy! praise on them till their owners caught up. Foster Cat decided that this was boring, so arched his big back till he was bigger than the dogs and spat at the biggest one: “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough, Fleabag!” The dog was having none of it, so bounced at the cat. The cat made a  faux-pounce at the dog. The dog yelped. Mini burst into tears. Maxi and Midi got bored and started to cycle around. I lunged at crying Mini to scoop her up. The Boss lunged at the cat to scoop him up. The cat obviously wasn’t in the mood, so turned tail and sprayed cat-diarrhoea straight at The Boss, and bounded under a gorse bush.

Maxi and Midi were now out of sight. The Boss was staggering around like Shaggy out of Scooby Doo moaning, “My eyes! My eyes! He got me up the nose!” Mini was near hysterical. The dog owners were saying: “You took your cat for a walk…?” I ran up the hill to call the elder minxes back. I ran back down the hill to dab at The Boss’s face. I ran back up the hill to drop Mini off with her sisters. I ran back down the hill to coax Foster Cat out of the bush and frog-marched him back up the hill. We set off for home, Maxi proudly yelling to anyone who’d listen, “This is the first time EVER that my Mummy’s let me cycle on the pavement by an actual road!”…

We’re now safely home. The cat peeled off as soon as we hit the outskirts of town and went for a browse in one of the big, posh, manicured gardens. I hope he returns soon; The Boss doesn’t. Our dog-poo strewn shoes are in a big pile outside the front door, humming gently in the sun. The bikes are a big pile of metal alongside. The Boss is going for his second shower and the minxes are lying in front of CBeebies, exhausted. Me? I need gin. Lots of it…

“We’re not going on a bramble-hunt again!”

(Till next time…)