Posts Tagged ‘bicycle’

Christmas – twice over

Our first Christmas, at the correct point in the calendar, was at home with Nan & Grandad. On Christmas Eve, we visited the Bridgewater Hall for the sing-along carol concert. The kids were as content as they have ever been at this annual trip, enjoying the music and finding the singing amusing not annoying or embarrassing.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day passed in a pleasant fuzz of family chat, presents, food and drink. Gabe particularly enjoyed playing Jenga, which captivated Nan. Robin was delighted with his bike, and so we rode around the neighbourhood in the dark on Christmas evening (the bike’s brakes having been made safe during daylight by Grandad). Eliza sauntered in and out, her social circle never more than a few clicks distant.

Our second Christmas, happened four days later, at Grandpa’s, with Auntie S, Uncle S and cousin F. While in Scotland, Robin accompanied me on walks across the sand at low-tide, laying out the plans he has devised for his future: living in Edinburgh or Glasgow, teaching. Gabe joined Uncle S and me at the pub one evening, keeping the conversation always lively and keeping up his end with a pint and a half. Eliza was the moving force of an attempted indoor decathlon after our Christmas dinner, until we all flaked out. Most memorably she won the ‘standing on one leg’ contest, fighting off fierce competition.

Gabe, Eliza and Robin – I hadn’t spent so much time with them in months and they were a delight, making parents and I think grandparents, very proud.

Back in the saddle

Robin had been the keenest cyclist, but his road tumble meant that all three have stayed off their bikes for months.

But there’s been an upsurge of biking interest. First we went to the local woods by bike. There the kids held races along the path, ploughing through mud, sending it squirting it up their backs. Robin was flagged for dangerous riding several times as his weaving stopped him being overtaken.

Then they rode down the wooded slopes where they have tobogganed in the snow. Over jumps and after a few falls, challenged to go down one slope and back up the other side.

The following weekend we tried geocaching by bike. We found our first treasure, but the next two foiled us, despite concerted hunting. Between caches and when the thrill of the hunt faded, they raced each other and shrieked.

Gabe’s bike day at school had prompted the revival. The school letter included the line that children are advised to wheel their bikes to school. L or I mentioned this to Gabe, as it had amused us. We should have known better. For most of the 1km journey to school, Gabe pushed his bike, anxious not to contravene the advice.

99 red balloons


With the new school year, Gabe has decided to quit the choir, writing Mrs Q a resignation letter. He has remained under her charge though, as he has joined the school recorder group and orchestra.

So now he sings everywhere but the choir. His current favourite song has been learnt in German class. He sings the ’80s euro-rock hit, ’99 Red Balloons’, in its native language, in which the balloons aren’t red but airy.

album cover


Robin turned to talk to me when I came in from work. With his mouth full of carrot, I couldn’t make out what he was saying. ‘Yes’, L said, ‘he really did nearly die.’ Coming home from school, riding his bike, Robin had turned to wave at L and Eliza, lost control of the bike, ridden off the pavement and fallen into the road. Tyres screeched and he narrowly avoided getting run over. L said her legs were still shaking when I saw her over an hour later.


Eliza has the tidy gene. She keeps her bedroom ship shape. She folds her clothes before putting them away, returns books to the bookshelf and doesn’t allow toys to overflow their boxes. She even carries out missionary work, helping Robin tidy up his bedroom. It was only a valiant and uncharacteristic effort from Robin that stopped Eliza winning this week’s Strictly Come Tidy Bedrooms contest.