No, it’s not about the chair. She doesn’t ask for much in life except food, walks and cuddles so I’ve decided Tilly can keep the chair.
We had a planned day out yesterday, but because one of the kids was sick – oh boy was she sick, poor little thing – we changed plans and I took the two eldest out to different places on my own leaving Grandad with the poorly one (who was feeling much better, but not up to a day out).
The day was largely unplanned, but we had fun. I packed a picnic and we set off on our adventures. There was the animal sanctuary (I could write reams about that wonderful place and maybe I will, but not today), then the play park.
It’s quite a new park, all lovely wooden structures and playthings and it’s out in one of the villages miles from anywhere. So you’d think “other people” (I am trying so hard not to use bad language here) wouldn’t be a problem wouldn’t you?
There were a lot of people on the park and I counted eleven cars including mine (you’d have to drive there as it’s only within walking distance of a few houses). Not a problem.
They wanted to go on the zip slide (well so did I if I’m honest, I’ve always fancied having a go on one, but too many people about) and queued up with the other kids, taking turns, passing the seat thing back to the next person.
It was a lovely display of sharing. On the big wooden climbing frame a little boy was lying down blocking the wobbly bridge and Imogen was waiting to pass. The little boy’s grandad said, “Move out of the way and let the little girl pass.” Imogen said a ringing, “Thank you!” as the little boy moved as soon as being asked.
All very nice don’t you think? Kids and adults behaving beautifully and considerately.
Then they declared they were starving – “Starving to death,” in fact. Both picnic tables were in use so we moved a short way from the play area and sat on the grass at the edge of the adjoining field.
I hadn’t unsnapped the lid of the lunchbox before two cars pulled into the car park and discharged a load of adults and kids. They had the whole field, but they put out their blankets near us. It’s like in car parks isn’t it – you get a whole empty car park and you park and you always get someone who has to park right beside you, so close you can’t get your door open.
Okay they weren’t right beside us, but they could have been a lot further away!!
Anyway, the kids were all of the larger variety, 10 and upwards I imagine, and the boys started a game of football and it seemed to me they were using us as goalposts! A man walking nearby with a toddler told them to be careful. Did they take any notice? No. They kicked the ball even harder. The man with the toddler moved away.
The girls in the group weren’t much better. They went off rampaging round the play area.
When the ball whizzed past my head so close I felt the whoosh of air, I packed up our picnic and said we’d move on elsewhere – to the beach maybe.
It would have been one thing if the field had been small, but there was a huge area unused they could have kicked their football round in. I’ve got nothing against older kids having fun and playing ball games, but they need to take care around smaller ones.
Just over a week ago we went to my youngest granddaughter’s belated 1st birthday party at one of those soft play areas (six hours of non-stop fun!). There were several older kids there, 9 and upwards and they ran around like kids do BUT when they were with the littler ones, they couldn’t have been more considerate or helpful. Watching them with the toddlers, helping them climb and getting them out of the tricky corners they’d got themselves into was amazing.
They didn’t have to be told to take care. They just did.
Anyway, we were going to go back on the play park after lunch, but it was so overrun by these kids now, barging all the smaller kids out of the way and not letting them get near stuff, there seemed little point. We weren’t the only ones packing up and leaving.
You wonder if such behaviour is deliberate to get rid of everyone else. Well it worked! Then again, in a week when it comes out that nearly 900 children are suspended from schools every day for attacks and abuse and there are children starting school who don’t even know their own first names – well it doesn’t bode well for the future does it.
You know I thought it was pretty bad when we got Tilly and she thought her name was “Naughty girl” – but to think of four year olds, some not even knowing they HAVE a first name. Well it makes you want to weep.
When I worked as a classroom assistant over 20 years ago, one of my main jobs was to talk to the children. “Sad fact, some of them just don’t get talked to at home,” one teacher told me. I knew some started school unable to use cutlery or dress themselves. But that was then and things are worse now.
In the grand scheme of things a few inconsiderate kids aren't that terrible and now I've written this I'm thinking that maybe I'm just too far gone into Grumpy Old Womandom. Most kids seem well behaved and able to have fun without spoiling it for everyone else don't they?
My husband said I should have said something. I know I should. But would you? What would be the point? It doesn’t change the behaviour of these people.
It wasn’t until I’d packed up and we were moving away that I realised one of the fathers was playing football as well and it was probably a kick from him that had nearly had my head off (oh I know, but I’m a writer, I’m supposed to exaggerate). Sigh.
So off to the beach, watched tiny crabs in the rock pools, found some interesting green stones with red spots. I wish I’d taken a photo. I’ve lived here all my life and I don’t remember seeing them before.
Lachlan picked up a large lump of something that looked as if it might once have been metal. We’d picked up Grandad on our way to the beach and he asked him what it could be. “Fossilised poo,” he said. It was only when I looked back and saw the lump of whatever-it-was on the sand and Lachlan staring in horror at his hands that I told him it was a joke.
We went in search of ice creams and found the LV18 – the lightship used in the film “The Boat that Rocked” now in its permanent berth off the Ha’penny Pier – so we went aboard.
Fascinating. And scary! Going up vertical ladders with a 6 year old and a 4 year old is worrisome. We went right to the top deck which feels really high once you’re up there. (The photo was taken a couple of years ago - I had my hands too full to get my camera out yesterday!)
Coming down wasn’t so easy. Imogen was scared (and who could blame her – unlike the park there was no soft landing here if you fell) so I carried her down, backwards. “Don’t drop me, Grandma,” she said as I made my slow way down, “or I will die!” I should say I don’t do ladders, I never have, but I didn’t even think about it. I was more concerned about getting her down safely.
We went down into some of the living quarters below decks. We gave the galley and other cabins a miss. Perhaps we’ll go aboard another time for a proper look round.
Oops, went on a bit there didn’t I and my name isn’t Disgusted and I’m not even from Tunbridge Wells, although I have ancestors in my family tree who were. And that’s not everything I was going to rant – er I mean talk about.
But I’m going to crawl back into my corner and shut up now.