I’m taking a gamble today trying the kids out at a new place. Always a risky choice with kids, deviating from the norm. Plus I wasn’t sure if the village I’d decided to visit had a park. I knew what would happen if I didn’t find one. That would be all I would hear about for a week. I saw promising signs on the way into the village, and pulled up at the local lake. Parks and lakes go together like fish and chips, right?
The kids were not initially impressed by my risky gamble…
Me: ‘Look at this, what a great view, all that fog’
Him: ‘It’s all white daddy, look! Everything is white!’
Me: ‘Yes, this is a reaction caused by the cold weather’
Him: (a rare moment of parental concern) ‘Will you be warm enough daddy? You don’t have a thick coat like us on, yours is thin, you might be too cold’
Me: (tear rolls gently down face and almost freezes on cheek) ‘It’s OK son, I’ll be fine, thanks for asking though’
Her: ‘Awwww….there’s no park here’
Me: ‘Yes, but there might be one on the other side, and look at all this fog, doesn’t it look great?’
Her: Blows air out of her mouth and makes a negative ‘Pfffffft’ noise that you would expect to hear from someone in their forties. This ‘Pfffffft’ effortlessly conveys and encapsulates her disappointment with the location, the scenery, the weather and me.
Me: (Looking up at the chateaux shrouded in fog and pointing it out to the kids) ‘What a great castle eh? Look at the height of the walls, I bet this was a good place to defend and look (pointing at ditch that runs along the base of the wall) I bet there was a moat here once too, what do you think?’
Her: ‘There’s no park here’
Him: ‘What’s that daddy?’
Me: ‘It’s where we put naughty kids’
Him: ‘Can you open it?’
Him: ‘Ha, ha! Daddy can’t put us in there, he doesn’t have any keys. Ha, ha!’
Him: ‘Why are you taking pictures of a toilet? Why daddy? Why?’
Me: ‘It’s just in such a great location, look at it, surrounded by all the trees and leaves’
Him: ‘Weecee, it’s a Weecee’
Me: ‘No, it’s a ‘WC’
Him: ‘What’s that mean’
Me: ‘I don’t know’ (I’ve remembered now, without the aid of Wikipedia, and I think it means ‘Water Closet’)
Me: ‘Come on, I’ll take a picture of you both under this little house’
Her: ‘There’s no park here’
Me: ‘There’ll be one round here I’m sure. Now why don’t you both get under the house for a nice photo for mummy?’
Him: ‘No, I want to hug a tree instead’ (Hugs tree)
Her: ‘Weeee! A park!’
Him: (disappears in a puff of air and reappears on the see-saw)
Me: (thinking: ‘Everything looks wet – where are the swings?’)
Me: (Now bored of the park – quickly done) ‘Let’s have a look over here kids, I think I can see something’
Both: ‘What is it?’
Me: ‘I think it’s….
Me: ….another toilet! And look, it’s got a little heart-shaped hole, how romantic’
Him: ‘I am getting really annoyed at you daddy, why do you keep taking pictures of toilets? Stop taking pictures of toilets daddy!’
After venturing inside and using the ‘facilities’
Me: ‘Why is the lock on the outside? How strange…and a little bit worrying’
Her: ‘Can we go back to the park now?’
Me: ‘Let’s have a look over here, I think I can hear something, can you hear the water?’
Me: ‘Maybe it’s a waterfall?’
It’s NOT a waterfall….
Me: ‘Well, it’s not a waterfall, but it’s close’
Her: ‘No it isn’t’
Me: ‘Let me take a picture of you in front of the foggy lake, and promise not to stick your tongue out’
Him: ‘OK daddy, I promise’
Me: (takes photo knowing exactly what will happen)
Him: (is seven-year-old boy, therefore sticks tongue out anyway)
Both: ‘What’s that daddy?’
Me: ‘It’s a little island, do you want to live on it for a couple of weeks and give me and your mum some peace?’
Her: (launches a series of physical attacks upon my person, primarily focused on the groin-area)
Him: ‘What are you doing daddy?’
Me: ‘Just taking a nice photo’
Him: ‘Shall we play a game? It’s where the first person to speak loses, so everybody has to be quiet’
Me: (nodding so eagerly that I develop neck ache later in the day) ‘Yes that sounds like a good game’
This is now my favourite game and one that is unfortunately short-lived, but lasts just long enough too get us back to the car, whereupon it’s business as usual and I drive home with what appears to the casual observer – and sounds exactly like – two wild animals in the back of the car.
It could have been worse though.
At least there was a park eh?