Archive for July, 2014

Beach trip

With the hot weather forecast to move on, I proposed to Robin and Eliza a trip to the beach. To Gabe, I presented it as a fait accompli, knowing that he would argue against it, but that once we were there, he would enjoy it as much as the others.

Eliza and Robin ran across the Ainsdale sands to the water, found it warm and stripped off. They barely stayed still long enough for me to cover their exposed bodies with factor 50. We paddled up to our knees. They skipped over waves, searched for shells and fish. They dried off and dug a hole. We played beach cricket. Then a mini-Olympics, with standing and running long jump, sprints and limbo. After a snack, we tried to fly my kite.. and failed.

Barring a short essay at beach cricket, abandoned because of the unpredictability of the ball’s bounce, Gabe remained in the car, on his tablet: a picture of teenage disaffection.




Gabe has a girlfriend. This was vouchsafed to L by text, while they sat across the room from each other. And the ‘going out’ status, it appears, was also secured by text. But details are thin. She has been spotted when picking Gabe up from her house. When I asked him some deliberately unthreatening questions, like “What’s she into?”, he said “Normal stuff”. L has encouraged him to ask her to visit us. Gabe declined as we’re too embarrassing.


Robin is put out by Gabe and I going to Test cricket together. He made me promise to take him to a cricket match and so we went, as a whole family, to a T20 match at Old Trafford. Everyone found it pleasant, helped by a beautiful warm July evening, if lacking in drama and, to Gabe, inferior to Test cricket. We spend the second innings at the top of the upper stand at the Statham End, looking down on the ground. Robin was uncomfortable with the height and the steepness of the stand’s pitch, but settled as much as an excitable 8 year old can.


Eliza has found some reward for her dedication to music. She practices willingly – not just pieces, but scales, too. At the year 6 leavers assembly, she was appointed leader of the recorder group for next year. It is perhaps not the grandest of the musical jobs (orchestra leader?), but one she will fulfill conscientiously.

Loom bands and Lord’s


It began with bracelets, which became increasingly ornate and has moved onto animal key rings. Eliza has embraced the loom band craze, without progressing to whole outfits made of the tiny, coloured rubber bands. She has a plastic frame on which the bands are stretched and arrayed in complex patterns. YouTube provides the source of guidance on how to combine and twist the bands. It’s a healthy pastime, except for the tips of
Eliza’s fingers that get pinched sore by the taut bands.


Gabe came with me to Saturday of the Lord’s Test, where we met Grandad and spent the day together. The day was hot and sticky and Gabe worried over visible sweat marks on his shirt. He had overdosed on pizza and coke at a party the night before and felt delicate. This was his diet during the day: croissant, coke, crisps, chips (with too much salt and ketchup), hot chocolate, grapes, slice of pizza (rejected after a bite) and then toast when we got home. But he sat patiently through the day, including a very slow afternoon session.


Robin’s desire for back garden football has altered. He still wants to play. But rather than shooting with me in goal, he wants to play one-bounce where we work together to exchange the ball with it hitting the ground no more than once between our touches. It’s fun working co-operatively and he gets to practice his skills and control.