Ted and Lola are cousins. He’s 2 and a half years old and she is 4 and from time to time they meet at family events. Recently various family activities contrived to lodge them with grandparents for a weekend. Ted’s parents had been due to fly to a spa hotel in western Ireland. Icelandic volcanic dust had them grounded and in the end after a thorough internet search Ted’s mother booked into a Country Club/Spa Hotel just down the road from their home. With wonderful weather enabling plenty of sun-blessed relaxation they could have been 1000s of miles away.
Lola’s father drove his family to Godalming and then he went on to north Dorset with his brother where they attended the memorial lunch for their late cousin Max, who captained North Dorset Rugby Club. They watched an excellent match afterwards where NDRC beat the estimable Sherborne team 17:16. £2,500 was raised at the lunch which included a raffle. This will be donated to Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). After the match a ‘party’ at the clubhouse lasted late and £5500 was taken at the bar!
Lola’s mother and sister Ruby (2) spent Saturday with the rest of us before catching a train to London at the end of the afternoon. Ruby has her own engagement on Sunday. It was a perfect spring day. The children made fairies out of beads, pipe-cleaners, scraps of ribbon and lace: trimmings that have been waiting in the wings for decades in the certain knowledge that they would be useful one day.
They played outside running up and down walls using planks as ramps and bridges. They investigated the woods with Grandpa, played on the neighbour’s climbing frame, collected a sample of tadpoles from the pond and watched them devour pieces of bacon. A toy cooker, formerly rescued from our local tip by Nick, was the focus for a dollies’ tea-party.
At bed-time Lola and I hunkered down with Ted for a post-bath ‘Charlie and Lola’ story. There was a bit of argy-bargy over the fact that Ted was allowed a large beaker of milk to settle with, Lola had had her milk earlier. One of Nick’s instant customised stories for Lola sorted that one out. Before she settled for the night Lola had managed to extract a number of promises and concessions for the following day, chief amongst these being an undertaking to give Ted and her access to the attic, whose trap door is tantalisingly placed immediately above the bunk bed she occupies.
They woke and joined me in the morning. Rooney obligingly jumped up and allowed himself to be ‘softed’. He normally gives the children a wide berth but Ted and Lola’s technique is sufficiently low-key that he does not need to escape. After breakfast Nick compiles a simple picnic then we load up for Bockett’s Farm. We were last there in December with Lola and Ruby. At that time Santa was in residence, this time we are on the tail end of Easter attractions.
Again, there are newborn lambs, a second crop. We buy pellets to feed the sheep and goats but their salivary yaffling technique is too much for Lola, who finds it all just so yucky. We are sufficiently early in the day that we have been able to park in the lower carpark near the farm entrance. This is a plus, as is the fact that the soft play areas are practically deserted. We enjoy a brief animal handling session which includes a Chinchilla called Charlie. This animal is so SOFT – no wonder their pelts have been exploited to make fur coats for rich ladies. But how could they?
We eat our picnic piecemeal, seated at a table in the extensive playground area. Ted is Lola’s shadow, imitating her. This is the sincerest form of flattery! They explore the small maze but have to box and cox as to who should be in the lead. At one point Ted becomes exasperated. “I’m yost!!……Yoya, where are you?”
Late in the day we discover the large inflatable Jumping Pillow. Lola and Ted skip back and forth, at the mercy of much larger children who create waves of unconstrained movement across the surface of the pillow. Ted who is nimble and light as a feather is wafted this way and that, until he drifts towards the tipping point, and teeters and tumbles down the slope causing great merriment.
We have to drag the children away and they sleep in the car going home. This is not the cleverest time to nap but we cut Ted’s sleep short, in time for him to be just about awake when Charlotte and Ryan come to collect him. So then there was one.
After supper and before bed Lola and I fill the bath, tip in bubble stuff and turn on the jacuzzi. As the white foam rises and envelopes all but our heads we have a confidential gossiping session. By the time I get out Lola has floated the opinion that boys are stinky (I don’t think she includes Ted!), and pink is the best colour in the world.