Last weekend we headed to Devon to stay with the big brother’s very best friend, who used to live next door to us in our pre-Dubai days. The dates had been booked in the diary for some time and on paper, the weekend held great promise. 3 days in Devon, in June, at the end of the half term week. We envisioned sunny weather, lazy evenings in the garden catching up over a jug of Pimms, children happily frolicking in a paddling pool…
How foolish are we?
For those who watched the Jubilee celebrations on television, you’ll know full well that the UK is enjoying something akin to monsoon season. It’s become so bad that the water companies have even lifted their hose pipe bans, something that hasn’t happened in over 2 years in some areas.
However, not ones to be deterred from “having a good time” we pressed on regardless with plans for a day trip to Sidmouth beach. Sensibly kitted out in fleeces, jeans and hoodies, we marched the children along the sea front enjoying the bracing sea air. The little people played happily on the shingle gathering pebbles and driftwood, whilst the adults enjoyed a long overdue natter.
Exhilarated by the sea air it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to food and, being at the seaside, there was only ever one option… fish and chips, out of the paper, sitting on the beach.
After bringing the chip shop to a halt as an embarrassingly indecisive group of 9, “I’ll have sausage” shouted the boys, “or maybe fish?”, “do they have haddock?”; we finally collected our order just as the grey clouds began to gather.
Our friends suggested that maybe we should eat inside rather than braving the beach, but full of the enthusiasm of expats used to non-stop sunshine and rain falling just twice a year; twinsdaddy and I dismissed such a ridiculous suggestion, rallied the troops across the road and down onto the beach.
Even before we had chance to sit down, those lovely grey clouds decided to open, dropping big, fat raindrops on us as we attempted to unwrap the food.
In fairness, the three older children took it pretty much in their stride. The two Devon natives have clearly seen a lot worse, and the big brother revelled in the opportunity to eat like a savage and for once, get away with it!
The twins however, being of an age where every detail is observed and commented on, were utterly perplexed.
“Isn’t it fun eating on the beach”, shouted twinsmummy (volume adjusted upwards to compete with the squall).
“Why are we eating outside mummy?”, asked the blonde, “It’s raining”.
“And it’s cold”, added the brunette, with the hint of a shiver.
“But isn’t it fun?”, twinsmummy continued undeterred. “Isn’t it GREAT to be eating outside?”
“But my food is getting wet”, observed the blonde. The brunette nodded in agreement.
I squirted additional ketchup onto their chips expecting joyous thanks but was met instead by quizzical faces and silence.
“Mmmmm yummy”, I ventured, hopeful that my enthusiasm was contagious.
But I’m not one to give up at the first hurdle.
I’ll make hardy British kids out of them yet!