Archive for August, 2013

Shifting alliances

Across a day at our Menorcan resort, Gabe, Eliza and Robin arrayed themselves with and against each other:

Finishing breakfast first, Eliza and Robin went off to the playground together for swings and gecko spotting.

Tennis for an hour at ten: all were in action, but Eliza and Robin continued their alliance across the net from Gabe who was in antagonistic mood, frustrated that he wasn’t getting a match against L or I and making snide remarks about their abilities.

Into the pool and all three played together for a blessed period of harmony – raiding each others’ inflatables and racing.

Before lunch, Gabe took exception to a family joke and threatened not to sit with us. Eliza and Robin practised handstands and collected tiny shells from the earth outside the apartment. Back to the pool, with Eliza and Robin racing each other with and without inflatables.

Mid-afternoon brought the resort football tournament. Robin and Gabe in tight formation found themselves on the same side – the skins – and scrapped, ran, tackled and shot for a sweaty half-hour. Their bonding continued with them reliving their best moments, “Did you see when I…”

Down the road to the waterpark: three together, until Robin broke away to try the more adventurous slides. He drew Eliza to him and eventually, anxiously, Gabe. When the slides closed, Gabe and Robin re-connected in the wave pool, with races and challenges.

Back to the resort pool, where Gabe and Robin continued their aqua-alliance into the evening. Feeding off each others’ boy antics they competed and collaborated in and underwater.

Straight from dinner, Gabe and Robin took the iPad to the resort’s wifi hotspot to stare at BBC Sport’s Euro football page refreshing too, too slowly with promised updates on the Barcelona match, leaving them to fill the blank minutes with football natter.

The resort’s evening ‘animation’ drew Eliza and Robin who, in a break in the show, accepted dares to run across the stage, which sent Gabe away to somewhere less embarrassing. But all three were active in the audience for the Strictly Come Dancing show that followed.

We will rock you

L took the kids to London for three days, staying with aunt and cousins. On the train trip there, Robin was banished to other seats for shouting anatomical names, for which he got a thump from an embarrassed, ennervated Gabe.

London trips included to the musical ‘We will rock you’ and Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park where L & I married 13 years ago. Gabe and Robin played football and basketball with cousin D. Eliza hung out with L and Aunt A.

Internet shopping


Eliza saves up and finds the things she usually wants to buy – clothes – are bought for her. An MP3 player is a new departure. It’s a gadget that matches her activities: she’s self-possessed, reading, writing or creating and very often singing. L bought it for her and I collected it from Argus. She called me at work to find out when I would be home with it and she was waiting for me at the front-door. It’s pink and has a cheap fragile feel, but I hope it stays together long enough to repay Eliza’s investment.


Gabe played in the nets with a friend who had a fielding practice bat. Gabe’s kit obsession zeroed in on this object and he ordered one. It arrived while he was in London visiting cousins. He called me checking whether it had arrived. It may be a bit of a disappointment, not having the ping he thought it would provide.


Robin was required to wear some second hand trainers when his feet were seen to have grown at the start of the summer. But they haven’t fitted well and he got blisters. New bright orange trainers were bought on a school shoe shopping trip. So was a new City kit. Apparently it lacks a dark stripe featured on the senior kit. Gabe seems to be encouraging the idea of sewing on a piece of material to make it look more authentic.

Test match


Gabe’s interest in cricket has grown this year: playing for club and school; going to the nets with friends; an obsession with kit; learning to score (and being paid to do so for the senior teams); helping me with some statistics; and now he’s been to his first match.

We saw the fourth day of the third test at Old Trafford. He was very nervous about getting there. He changed seats a couple of times to get a clear view. He made a few enquiries about what I might buy for him, but otherwise was content to watch and exchange comments on the game. The Barmy Army set about their chanting in the afternoon, which bothered us both. But once that died down, other him having a nagging concern about getting on the tram home, we both could have sat there until the evening. The weather closed in, though, and we left in the rain shortly after tea. Gabe put down a marker, he would like to go back and go to Lord’s.

Eliza and Robin

L took Eliza and Robin to the Manchester Climbing Centre, which is sited in an old church. Both scaled 20m high walls, before pushing off and floating back to the ground.

At home, Eliza scripted a play based around a female Harry Potter type character – Harriet. Robin played Dudley, with a football up his shirt and a midget Hagrid. When I saw the performance, Robin carried his script with him, Eliza memorised her words, directed the show and was chief stagehand.

Commentary and replays


Playing a game with Robin, he’ll often pause the action so he can recreate the manoeuvre he’s just completed. Alongside his slow motion replay of the kick, save, hit or dive he’s essayed, there will be fragments of commentary, “did you see” ..”I whammed it”.. “with my foot over here”. I wonder if it’s something to do with the FIFA computer game where slow motion replays are at the player’s command.


Eliza has a funny self-deprecating act that she goes to when pretending to be annoyed. I think it stems from being told how she use to lose her temper when a toddler. She spins, while stamping and harrumphing in a high-pitched voice.


Gabe is enduring another period of bedtime fears. This seems to have arisen from him being sick – something he considers to be akin to being possessed – a few months ago. He starts worrying he is going to be sick, which makes him feel nauseous, which makes him anxious, which stops him going to sleep, which makes him more anxious. L has taken him to a GP to help him through it.