Friday, 29 July 2011

Other People!

You know what it’s like. You flop along for ages with nothing to say, then along comes a whole ton of things you want to get off your chest.

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.


  1. The trouble is that if you say something about kids' behaviour these days you're likely to get a mouthful of abuse back. Some parents seem to think their children can do no wrong, and if you criticise them then you're the one that's in the wrong.

    My current 'other people' moan is about shoppers who leave their shopping trolleys abandoned in the middle of the supermarket aisle. More than once lately I've had to move an apparently owner-less trolley so I can get through, only for someone bustle over in outrage as if I'm interfering with their shopping. A little thing in the great scheme of life, I know, but wouldn't it be nice if there was a bit more consideration for others?

  2. Grrr what is it with some people!! Well, if nothing else, you should have got some good ideas for an excellent short story about "bad manners"! Caroline x

  3. Thank you, Joanne - and I so agree about the trolley abandoners. I had one in Tesco the other day, shoved her trolley (complete with baby) right in front of the display I was looking at then went off and looked at something else! Bah!

    Thanks, Caroline - yes, I should do something positive with this shouldn't I?!

  4. Elizabeth McKay29 July 2011 at 19:33

    Agree with everything you say, Teresa. It's such a shame that a few badly behaved kids (and adults) can spoil things for the others. But as Joanne says, if you speak out you're more than likely to get a mouthful of abuse back. Maybe not so bad if you're on your own but it would probably just upset your grandchildren even more. It's scary to think that there are children who don't even know their own names. Oh, and I definitely don't do ladders or heights.

  5. How maddening, Teresa. I can't understand why adults won't behave like adults (i.e. tell children what they should/should not do) - and in this instance the adults in charge were obviously doing nothing. I read that about kids starting school not even knowing their names, too - unbelievable. One young mum was quoted as saying that as her 2 year old didn't talk to her, she didn't talk to him!!! WHAT?!?

  6. It's a shame these people spoiled your picnic. I suspect some people just do whatever they feel like and it never occurs to them that their actions have an impact on anyone else

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  9. Sounds like you had a great day out despite the 'other people'. I agree that it's not worth saying anything. If people are that ignorant in the first place then they probably won't listen to reason.
    I like granddad's sense of humour.

  10. My father, who loathed bad behaviour and poor manners, always said, "What we ALL acted without consideration for others?"
    It does make you wonder what the world would be like, but at least we can be thankful that most of us know how to be kind and thoughtful. The trouble is, I always well up whenever anyone is nice to me and restores my faith in human nature!

  11. I must admit the ladders all had good strong rails to hang on to, Elizabeth otherwise I'd have had to be carried down too!! When my kids were small I probably would have said something to those people, but I wouldn't dare now!

    It is so sad isn't it, Olivia - at an age when small children are so eager and willing to learn and talk that they are being ignored. It just comes naturally doesn't it when you have a baby to chat to them. However hard it is getting to grips with nappies and sleepless nights etc, the talking to them bit is easy!

    That's it, Patsy, they don't think of anyone else at all. Unless it was their cunning plan all along to get the park to themselves!

    It was a lovely day out, Keith and the other people in the park gave me a reason to blog so there was even a silver lining to that! Grandad is always coming out with things like that - usually they cotton on straight away, but I have to admit it did look as if it could be dinosaur poo!

  12. Your father had a very good point, Joanna! Me too - it's strange isn't it how someone being nice can affect you so deeply. I think most people are nice and decent and kind - I just hope it stays that way!

  13. Entirely agree with everything said and I really like your new photo, Teresa!

  14. Thank you, Beryl :-) I thought it was about time I put a new photo up. Had it taken last week for a magazine article.

  15. Its a good lesson for the kids to see that the world is full of arrogant people - Lachlan seems to think that its only some of the children at school, he needs to know its the world at large!! And as for children not being talked to - there are people I see regularly, and Imogen will chatter away to them, and they will not talk to her at all - they talk over her and look uncomfortable, its as if they don't know how to talk to her! I know she can be a bit of a chatter box, bless her, but she isn't that hard to talk to - but I have to assume that they probably don't speak to their children either :o( Personally I would rather chat with children - they make far more sense than most adults! Thanks for taking them for the day, Noah and me got some seriously good chatter in ourselves, although sadly I am one of those adults that don't speak a lot of sense so not sure if he benefited from the experience.....

  16. What a lovely day out you were having, Teresa! It's so sad when undisciplined children ruin it for everyone else. I always think it's an indication of how the poor kids are brought up at home, with no respect for anyone else. No wonder teachers have so many problems by the time some children get to school!

    Probably wise to just move away, especially if there was an adult with them - he might have been worse then them had you said anything. I like your photo!

  17. It is funny Lizzieoaks - when you were a child you preferred talking to adults :-) But I know what you mean about kids making more sense. Lachlan and Imogen were very happy chatting to the people running the sanctuary about everything from rats to knicker-eating-puppies and school!

    I think you're right, Romy - it comes down to upbringing a lot of the time and I must admit the adult looked scary!!
    Thank you - thats a new photo of you too isn't it? I like it!

  18. It may just be me, my age, and that (like you, I was only a child in 1984, in fact, I'm not entirely sure I was even born then) but it does seem that people (in the UK anyway) do behave a bit oddly to each other compared with how they used to. The other day I was in an exhibition and went to have a cup of tea. A buggy with a baby in it was placed so it blocked the route to the only free seats.

    None of the people seated nearby seemed to have anything to do with it but there was enough room to squeeze past if I moved it about 5 cm. So I did, and squeezed past and was just about to sit down when a woman rushed up and snarled "Couldn't you have managed to WAIT to sit down, so I could move the baby?" then she grabbed the buggy handle and stamped off.

    Weird, eh? I assume she must have had post natal depression or something but it was not a very pleasant experience and definitely put me off my cup of tea!

  19. Sounds quite typical I'm afraid, Jenny. You'd think a "Sorry, was that in your way, I'll just move it," would have been more in order! Or not leaving it blocking the way in the first place. They don't think!
    No, not pnd - well not my experience of it - more likely just ignorance :-(

  20. Oh dear! What a shame. I'm not good at confrontations either, but would "I wonder whether you'd be better off playing over there, where there's much more room for you" might have worked?

    No...maybe not.

    I love the new photo, too!

  21. I just hate it when people park like that and then invade your space. It's just so inconsiderate.

    It's the same when you're in a cafe and there are lots of free tables but they always come and sit right next to you and talk at the tops of their voices.

    And in supermarket queues when people stand right up close - as if that's going to make the queue move any faster! - and then they hover over you while you pack and put your card in the card machine.
    God, how I hate people like that!!!

    Well said Teresa.

  22. I really hear you on this, Teresa. Other people really annoy me. I'm kind of glad my teenager's spent her entire holidays (we're half way through the summer holidays up here) in the house with the curtains closed (to stop glare on the computer screen), because it means I don't have to deal with anyone else. Well, nobody apart from work colleagues, but they're a blog post all on their own.

    I'm so sorry they chased you away from your lovely outing.

    Love your gorgeous new photo.


  23. I doubt it would have worked, Frances. After the young guy with the toddler asked them to take care, they got worse.

    I call them Space Invaders, Gail - if I had my way I'd have my own little Personal Exclusion Zone :-)

    Thanks, Suz. It's funny isn't it - a few years ago teenagers were deafening everyone with their windows wide open and music blaring out, now they're all sitting in the dark in font of computers :-)

  24. I don't think I could have made it up the ladder with the kidlets. Although, there's probably a greater chance that I would fall ;-) I hope that your little one is feeling a lot better now, Teresa!

  25. Thanks, Lacey! She's absolutely fine now :-)