Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Our Day Out

Well, I am surprised I haven't woken up this morning riddled with pneumonia. In an act of what I can only describe as sheer lunacy, Andy and I decided yesterday to take Kayleigh on a trip to Leeds Castle. To be fair, it was a bit of a spur of the moment decision, forced by some intense staring between the granny and the grandpa over toast for lunch, and some intense 'twirling-round-and-round-and-getting-dizzy-and-falling-over' by the grand-daughter; not a good idea especially as she had just eaten a substantial amount of cheese and we have hard ceramic tiles on our kitchen floor.

So before we all went stir (or twirl) crazy, we piled into the car and drove off for a brisk walk, a look at the ducks and possibly tea and a bun at the restaurant, although we'd already had tea and a bun at our favourite cafe in town earlier in the day and I think that's what Kayleigh believes Granny and Grandpa do with their free time, drink tea and eat buns. Well, what else is one supposed to do on dark, cold, windy, icy February days, for heaven's sake? Something useful???

'It doesn't look very busy,' I said, as I reverse into a parking space. (Joke: what do you do when you find a spaceman? Park in it, man.)
'No,' said Andy. 'Especially as it's half-term.'

There was a reason for the lack of busyness, we realised, as we stepped from the car and a blast of icy, sleety rain lashed at our faces.

At this point, most normal people would have said, 'Let's p'raps not go on a duck hunt today.' But as history has shown, we are not most normal people. Andy likes Doctor Who for a start, and I am resolutely persistent in my personification of chickens.

'What's that supposed to mean?' says Mrs Pumphrey, who is swanning around in the back garden in a pair of love-heart covered hot-pants in celebration of St Valentine's Day.
'It means I give human qualities to animals or inanimate objects,' I say.
'That's ridiculous!' huffs Mrs P.
'I know,' I say.

Besides, the grand-daughter was off on a mission, for yea verily she had spotted a peacock and was in hot pursuit shouting, 'CHICKEN! CHICKEN!' Everything that is chicken sized and covered in feathers is a chicken to Kayleigh. Nine times out of ten she is correct because we have chickens in the back garden. Unfortunately, the one time she isn't correct is generally when we are in public and people look at her with pitying eyes like they did yesterday as if to say, 'Poor child - doesn't know the difference between a chicken and a peacock/ goose/ duck/ swan.' Of course, they never verbalise their pity, because if they did they would get very short shrift from me as I'd say, 'Look - she's not even TWO years old yet. What do you expect??' (I am very defensive of my grand-daughter. It's clear she is a genius and the sooner the world realises this, the better.)

Anyway, we were off, through the wind and rain and sleet and it was bloomin' cold. And when it is cold, one wants to walk at a fairly brisk pace to keep the blood coursing through the veins and the feeling intact in one's toes. But small children have other ideas. They have puddles to jump in, and wooden rails to run their mitten hands along, and much backtracking to do in case they missed something thirty seconds ago. They have far more things to stop and examine, because they are closer to the ground and they notice detail like twigs and pebbles and poo. They have to talk to every swan they see. They have to observe the world via the medium of zig-zag walking.

In a cunning plan, Grandpa Andy would swoop her up from the ground every now and then, shouting, 'Does Kayleigh want to be an aeroplane? Wheeeeee!!!!!!' and he'd run ahead with her a hundred yards or so. Or he'd say, 'Where's Granny? Look! There she is! Chase after her,' and I'd turn around and make my 'Eeek! There's a Bear after Me!!!!' face, and Kayleigh would find this hugely entertaining and run after me. And that way, we made progress. Just as well, really. If we went at Kayleigh-pace, we'd still be walking around the lake today.

At the restaurant, because if we'd be hesitant about indulging in a second tea and bun stop prior to the visit, we certainly weren't now, we had a minor cup emergency, whereby we'd left Kayleigh's beaker in the car, and the only drinking vessels available were a pint glass and a china tea cup. But she managed her 100% orange juice in a tea cup very well. No spills, no breakages. Even managed to stick out her little finger in an ever-so-refined way. I have to say, Kayleigh is a very civilised child to take to eating places. Except when she wiped a blob of gluten-free chocolate fudge cake up her coat. That was a bit mucky.

Despite the Arctic conditions, we arrived home safely and only a very light shade of blue.

And today the weather is noticeably warmer. The snow is gone, courtesy of some overnight rain. And my knees are warm, courtesy of a Pandora Kitten.

And in about half an hour, my tummy will be warm, courtesy of Andy who is taking me out for a Valentine lunch at a pub that does the best fat chips EVER!

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