No Bag Thanks, I’ll Just Wear It. The Sequel.

Bag

I saw it coming of course.

I even warned of it in the blog back in July.

It was on my mind for a long time before that and interestingly my post on Carrier Bag Etiquette has been the most commented on since I started.

I would like to say that I have fully embraced the whole new way of shopping since this post.

Iron Man saw it coming too.  Not only did he see it coming but this happened while we were on holiday.

Man carrying bag

He’s never shown any signs before now but I guess this latest bout of carrier bag shenanigans is going to bring out the Roy Cropper in all of our men.  First the man bag and now this.  Although I have to say that Iron Man skipped the man bag stage and went straight to this hot trend on holiday.  He has always been slightly ahead of the fashion game and is now able to carry off the look to perfection.

Aside from this small concern, I have many others regarding the whole 5p bag charging scenario.

Firstly, my concerns lie fairly and squarely with the Cashiers and the Security Guards.

It is clear that these people are going to become the ‘front line’ in terms of delivering the message and the policing of it.  I pity them because there are a lot of rules and exemptions surrounding this new system.  Ambiguity is going to be a problem.

There are rules of course.  Things that qualify for a bag – things that don’t.  It would seem that there are rules about what you can put in and things that you can’t.  In fact there is a whole website page on the subject.

Free bags will still be provided for consumers buying uncooked meat, poultry or fish, prescription medicine, certain fresh produce such as flowers or potatoes and unwrapped ready-to-eat food such as chips.  Goldfish.  Seeds.

Irony (no bag intended).

Goldfish

Pity the poor Cashier who has to dig you out when you try to put your spaghetti in with your gladioli in the free flower bag.  It makes sense.  It fits – right?  Same shape bag and all that.

Nope – not allowed.  Mixing is unacceptable apparently .

For this one it would seem that you have to walk away with it in your hand – a bit like you’ve pinched it.  Then put it in your bag when you get outside.

This is where I feel for the Security Guard.

Under the old rules, for those that wanted to have a good old ‘thieve up’, hiding the item was safest – under your coat or snuck in your bag.  Now it would seem that just walking out with it in your hand will be just fine.  No smoke and mirrors required.  Not only that but you may also get a little cheer for not using a bag.

So it’s a win-win if you are a shoplifter.

Not so for the Security Guard who will quite simply not know whether he is coming or going.  Although ‘going’ would seem the more favourable word as produce passes his eyes Generation Game style.

It’s not just the supermarkets.  Maybe you got caught on the hop when buying clothes like I did last week?

Two pairs of leggings in Next – £9.05.

I felt for the Cashier as she sheepishlessly asked if I would like to buy a bag.   No doubt this poor girl, amongst others, has probably had to attend a training course on this very subject.

Then again I don’t suppose the IT Department or the Accountants are having a party either.

As always there is a solution to the clothing bags.  Wear them.  I see a whole new side to ‘layering’.

‘Would you like a bag for your suit Sir?’

‘No thanks, I’ll just pinch wear it’.

You may then strut out of the shop like Mr Benn – doing jazz hands at the same time.  Because you can.   Jazz hands I mean!!!!  In a suit!!!!

Mr Benn

I can see the changing rooms.  It scares me.

‘Can I search your bag Madam’? will be replaced with ‘Show us your Bra’

By far my biggest fear though is who is going to get my name in the Christmas draw this year.  Supposing it’s the tight one.  The thought of my lovely present ending up in the same bag as their bit of cod is really worrying me.

I just don’t think I can chance it so this year so I’m going to play safe and just say ‘Jo Malone’.   That should keep things simple.

So lots of money has been thrown at this to make it a success.  We all want the same thing for our environment.

Iron Man and I disagree on the facts but ultimately there should be less bags.  I hope so.

Personally if I were making the rules, I would have thought it sensible to do away with the bloody bags – isn’t that the general idea – if they are not there you can’t use them.  Bags for Life only or your own.

I see a can of worms (without a bag).

What do you think? Will it just become part of our daily life or will it cause more trouble than just doing away with them altogether?

Bag

My Random Musings
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Twinkly Tuesday
The Blog Centre Showcase Tuesday

We Saw The Whole of the Moon

Child with binoculars
Child with binoculars
Through the eyes of a child

As adults, we spend a lot of our time telling our children that we wish we had paid more attention in school and listened more in some subjects.

I really do wish I had listened more carefully in some lessons, others I just didn’t care for.

What I do find now though is that I find it more interesting now that my daughter is learning the same things.  I like nothing more than browsing her school books and homework or just listening to her wax lyrical about a current topic.

There are many things that I have a great passion for and to hear my daughter speak with such passion about a subject makes my heart sing.

One such lesson where I really didn’t do very good listening was Geography.

Since starting in Year 5, my daughter has been learning about the Solar System.  She is really enjoying it and has voluntarily made up songs and a poem and drawn some wonderful pictures and chatted happily about the planets.    I love to see this genuine interest and I’ve listened earnestly to her knowledge and she has in fact taught me much that I didn’t know.

On my school trip to the Planetarium in Baker Street back in the day, I spent the whole time wishing we were next door in Madam Tussauds.  The solar system was not floating my boat back then.  I found it boring.

As we live fairly close to Greenwich and it is one of our favourite places, I decided that there was no time like the present to book a show at the Planetarium.  There was also an ulterior motive as we were craving some of the fabulous food that they sell in the market.  Two birds and all that!

We saw two shows, the one most relevant for all ages was ‘Meet the Neighbours’.  A lovely lady made the show really fun and invited participation from the audience whilst the room was in total darkness.  This meant that the more reticent among the audience could simply shout out their answers in the dark without fear of having to put up their hand in front of everyone.  It was great because all of the children (my daughter included) really got involved and shouted out quite comfortably.

Fortuitously, it would seem that all of our stars were aligned yesterday as not only did we experience the delights of the Planetarium but we were told that we were also to be treated to a Lunar Eclipse overnight.

Whilst there was no setting of alarm clocks in our house, as luck would have it The Kid woke the household at just the right time needing a drink.

Amusingly, we then spent the next thirty minutes all scrambling round the bedroom trying to get a look at the red moon.

Quite unprepared for the event, my husband and I were like Mr & Mrs Wobbly bumping into and bouncing off everything and each other and knocking things over in the way that one does when they are woken from their slumber.

Of course, on such an occasion batteries fail and phone cameras declare there is insufficient memory but we did manage to pull it together and get a couple of shots.  Astronomers we aren’t but it was great fun.

A distant moon
A distant moon

We have a keen astronomer in the family and I wonder how he would rate our efforts!

Blood Moon
A telescope would have come in handy!

The highlight being my daughter foraging in her toot box and producing her binoculars that she has had since she was 3!

Star Spotting
Star Spotting

The greatest thing to come from yesterday apart from having great fun together was that I was also able to give my daughter a real life example of how I’d wish I’d listened more at school.

I am sure all of our children get fed up with hearing us telling them how important it is to listen and what we would do if we had the opportunity again but I do feel I have been able to go some way towards substantiating this well worn record.

I really do wish I’d listened more to a lot of things as a child but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I wonder does this resonate with you at all?  Have you learnt something new from a child?  Maybe you’ve had a similar experience where you wished you’d had the wisdom to listen more carefully to something when you were younger?

Would love to hear your stories.

Nicky
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Dear August

Overcast day
Picture of diary pages
The last week of August

Dear August

You and I need to have a word.

It’s been playing on my mind for a couple of weeks and I’ve realised, quite frankly, that I’m not too keen on you.

This may come as a bit of a shock to you and I have thought long and hard about why I feel like this.

I really don’t want to hurt your feelings so I want to explain why I feel like this about you.

I guess what hasn’t helped our relationship is that I returned from holiday at the beginning of your month and I couldn’t help noticing a few changes while I’d been away.

Overcast day
Looking a bit grey

For a start, I noticed that the evenings were shorter than before I went away.

Also, your weather temperament has been a little unpredictable.

Rainy day in August
Rainy day in August

You’ve made me feel a couple of times like I want to put my onesie on and crank the heating up and this has left me feeling very confused.

I’ve also had to get the umbrella out several times. I don’t mind this too much but you’ve caught me out in my flip flops on more than one occasion in the last few weeks and I really don’t want to have to think about shoes just yet.

In this respect, you are a bit of a tricky one because you signal the end of the summer and the start of autumn.

The most painful part for me though August is that you make people start talking about the new school year and worse still Christmas and this just makes me feel sad.

Being a parent, my calendar tends to run by the school academic year and this makes September feel a little bit like a new year.

August & September
September is on its way

It also means that the fun of the summer is coming to an end and while I may have moaned about the The Kid from time to time, I absolutely love the school holidays and I will miss her.

I also love Christmas but I get very worried that the year is almost over when people start discussing it in your month. You may be a little fed up about this too.

What really worries me is that I haven’t done all of the things I said I would. A bit like I’m running out of year.

I guess July is a hard act to follow and in some respects I may be making you feel a bit like January feels about December. A bit like the poor relation. Everyone has a good old moan about January because they have had such a great time in December. I have to say I’m a bit of a weird one here though because I love January and I know not many people do.

Anyway, enough about me.

I do understand how you may feel about being sandwiched between July and September. I can’t imagine all this talk of autumn and winter is doing much for your self-esteem and maybe that is why you have cried so much this month.

What Season Am I?
What Season Am I?

This makes me feel even sadder. Equally, you may feel like you haven’t done all of the things you wanted to do this year.

In my attempt to make you (and me) feel a little better, I have taken a look back at what I set as my priorities at the beginning of the year. All of my and my little family’s wishes for the things that we wanted to do this year that make our hearts sing.

It’s these things that provide all the memories and giggles that go on our Memory Board each year on New Year’s Eve.

Our Memory Board
Our Memory Board

Unfortunately, it’s all too often these things that get overlooked when busy living and other priorities get in the way. Often these ‘priorities’ have a habit of getting in the way of the things that we really want to do and our ‘little things’ fall by the way side.

Maybe you feel like this too and haven’t had the chance to shine as much as you usually would.

I’m going to make a pact with you August. It’s my way of saying that I’m giving you a second chance.

I am going to go back to my list and I am going to do all of those things I promised myself I would do for me this year. As a family, we are going to do as many of the things left on our list that we haven’t yet done. Last but not least, I’m going to make sure that I see all the people I’ve been wanting to catch up with and I’m going to see more of those people that just make me smile.

That’s my part of the deal.

Your part of this deal August is to try to last a little longer and to dry up those tears and start shining again.

Sunset
How I Imagine You Might Look

I do think we can work together on this and we can welcome September together knowing that we have done enough and are back on track.

What do you think?

PS It might be worth asking September if you can carry some sunshine forward if you do run out of days

PPS The shoe thing was a real problem today!

Raincoats & Sandals
Raincoats & Sandals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twinkly Tuesday

Crop Over 2015 – Barbados

Carnival Bands

When we chose to holiday in Barbados this year, we did so with no expectation at all – more that we wanted to experience something a little different.

We certainly haven’t been disappointed.  In fact we have all fallen in love with the place.

What we hadn’t bargained on was being there for the biggest celebration of the Bajan calendar year – Crop Over.

Man dressed up for Crop Over
Crop Over 2015

We give grateful thanks to the wonderful Bajan staff in our hotel (Tamarind by Elegant Hotels) who shared so much information with us about Crop Over 2015.

What was staggeringly apparent throughout our holiday was the warmth and sincerity of the Bajan people.  They genuinely want others to share in and enjoy their culture and will do anything they can to help achieve this.

The Crop Over festival has been around since the 18th century at a time when Barbados was at its prime in the production of sugar cane.

At the end of the sugar season, there would be a huge celebration to mark the end of the successful harvest.   A King & Queen, the ones with the most successful harvest of the season were crowned.

From the array of events on offer during our stay, we chose to attend the Pic O De Crop final and Grand Kadooment, the carnival itself.

Grand Kadooment

Grand Kadooment 2015
Grand Kadooment 2015

Grand Kadooment is the name given to the carnival that takes place on the Bank Holiday Monday.  This year the carnival comprised of some 22 large bands dressed in costumes that depicted their various themes.  There are various ‘Monarch’ prizes at stake on the day for the various bands, song, designs and many more.

Carnival Floats
Floats lining the route to the National Stadium

With The Kid in tow we were advised to take in the action at the National Stadium where all of the ‘bands’ parade before the judges prior to taking to the road.  This gave us a birds eye view of all of the wonderful costumes.

One of the important phrases to learn in Bajan culture is ‘jumping up’.  Jumping up refers to dancing as in Calypso and Soca style.

Grand Kadooment 2015
“Jumping Up”!

Each of the bands are made up of various sections for example ‘Marine Life’ – was made up of various types of sea creature ie (Flying Fish).  The colours and the costumes are a sight to behold.  The work  that has gone into creating these wonderful designs and the ideas for the costumes is nothing short of amazing.  I have tried to include as many pictures as I can to try and recreate what we saw – short of actually being there.

Man wearing fish carnival costume
Marine Life
Man dressed up in fish costume for carnival
Flying Fish Costume

If you can imagine Soca & Calypso music playing while drinking Mount Gay Rum then you are pretty much there in spirit!

Carnival Bands in their beautiful costume
Carnival Bands in their beautiful costume
Lady in Carnival costume
WOW

For this bank holiday, the rain came and it poured and still they danced.

Dancing in the Rain
Dancing in the Rain
Dancing in the Rain
Poor feathers!
Dancing in the Rain
“Jumping Up” in the Rain

And then the sun came back out …

Carnival Bands
Beautiful in orange feathers
Grand Kadooment 2015
More colours …

As the parade in the stadium drew to a close, we took in a little of the street carnival to soak up some more atmosphere on our way back to the hotel.

Carnival floats
On with the parade!
Revellers taking to the streets
Revellers taking to the streets
Carnival items
Our ‘Loot’ – Carnival Leftovers

As we walked along street we saw that many items had been discarded and many feathers shed and we collected them from the floor.   We were subsequently told that this is not unusual and that usually by the end of the day the carnival revellers will have de-robed of most of their finery. IMG_3868

I mentioned Monarchs earlier and one of the specific prizes on carnival day is the ‘Road Monarch’.   This is when songs are judged on their popularity and the response from the revellers by judges along the route of the parade.

This years winner was unsurprisingly (even to us) Peter Ram with Ah Uh We (means All of Us/We Are One – that kind of thing).  It was the song of the holiday and had such a catchy tune, it just made you want to “jump up” every time you heard it.

Have a listen it will get you jumping too!! The chorus line is towards the end of the clip. 

In fact, that is precisely what the entire Duty Free did in the airport when it came on – staff and travellers alike.  It’s not often you have that much fun at the departure gate.

If we do nothing else this year, it won’t matter. This will have been enough.

Experiencing this wonderful island and its beautiful people is the stuff that memories are made of.

This one will certainly be going on our memory wall.

Lady in Carnival costume
Such beautiful costumes

I will talk more about the Pic O De Crop Final in my next blog.

Would love to hear what’s going to be going on your memory wall this year x

The Twinkle Diaries
Packing my Suitcase

SPF on the Beach

There probably isn’t a person in the world that enjoys applying sun cream. There are probably even less people that enjoy applying it on others – particularly when the ‘others’ happen to be children.

Applying sun tan lotion
Applying the stuff

Anyone watching our sun tan lotion performance pool side (or anywhere else come to that) will probably need to go for a lie down.It takes that long.

A conservative tot-up would be that about two days of our annual holiday are taken up in family sun cream applications.

Those of you with children will know that if they are very small, they will slide through your hands and leg it.   If you are very unlucky they will scream the resort down.

Those of you with older children will know that there are generally a list of 20 things that your child needs to do first if you mention ‘creaming up’.

If you have a daughter, you will likely hear at least one of the following during the act :

  1.  “you didn’t have to put it in my eye”
  2. “ouch, stop pulling my hair”
  3. “Why do you always have to hurt when you do it”
  4. “Stop”

You will see the connection in the following  book title and sun product and realise that the two are not mutually exclusive ……..

Dork Diaries and Nivea Suncream
Drama Queen & Nivea

If you have applied sun cream correctly, you will probably feel like you have completed your entire menopausals’ worth of sweating in one go and you will also want to go for a lie down with your fellow bathers.

SPF 50 has never been known for its blending qualities after all.  It’s a bit like trying to rub lard into a mirror and expecting it to be smear free.

Sun tan lotion evidence is also problematical for a 9 year old.

I’ve wondered on this holiday whether The Kid is of the age where she should really be doing it herself. This comes with an element of risk in so far as, we are responsible for the welfare and any attendant burn of said kid – the fault will lie clearly in our court irrespective of the applicant.

Hiding and nothing spring to mind and if a little charring occurs, it could potentially bring about the demise of the holiday.

Applying Nivea Sun Tan Lotion
Self-Application

I would liken our beach side shenanigans to that of a travelling circus.  The only difference being that there is no charge to witness our little spectacle and we would probably knock juggling and stilt walking into a tin hat.

Floating in Swimming Pool
Starfish

At this stage, I would like to make it clear that if anyone was offering to put my sun cream on, I would take their hand off and adopt Starfish position immediately.

No complaints from me – not one.

Can I go in now?

A Cornish Mum

Towels on Sunbeds – The New Rules

Beach and Sunbeds
The Sunbed Scenario

This weeks blog comes directly from the front line of the beach and swimming pool right here in our holiday resort.

Of course, being on holiday lends itself to a little reflection whilst laying on the sunbed.  This coupled with a good old stare up behind the sunglasses and book (people watching as it is fashionably referred to these days) is going to give rise to some gentle musings.

My little thought pattern is in over drive.

First up though has to be the towel on sunbed behaviour.  A behaviour which I’m sure has been covered tenfold but I bring this report directly from my privileged front line location with real time information.

For those who have no idea as to what or whom I refer, it is of course the past time that seems to have been adopted worldwide – that of placing towels on sunbeds in order to ensure that no one else uses them. I have to say the Brits seem to be among the worst culprits for this.

How on earth did this happen to a normally reticent race who are generally very happy to extend courtesy before comfort.  In fact, the only other time I’ve seen this behaviour exhibited quite so blatantly is when IKEA in Edmonton were knocking out cheap TVs on Black Friday.

So, when we are told that our hotel has a zero tolerance policy on reserving sun-beds, I feel a sense of relief.  The fact that it is also in writing – well say no more.   I do love a rule!

This rule sees ‘offenders’ articles politely removed and stored at Reception.  I am really liking this rule. They have Beach Ambassadors here, I assume for this very reason.

Picture of sunbed
‘Reserved’

You see, I’m not one of life’s natural sunbed baggers. I find it very embarrassing and aside from anything else it’s unnecessary.     I have never been able to lay down a towel and just walk away. I have to go through the motions of sitting on the bed for a reasonable amount of time before leaving.

I prefer to casually wander off, trying to look as though I’ve forgotten something even though i know I’m really going to breakfast.   It is hardly surprising therefore that I am looking forward to playing by these rules.

I have eyed up the prime bed spots and am looking forward to them becoming available.  Front row on the beach is where I aspire to be when it’s my turn under these new rules.

Well, I’m afraid I’m going to have to somewhat disappoint you now, as to my surprise, I have discovered that the rules are being broken.

I can report from my front line undercover location that not only are the rules being flouted but no one is politely bloody removing their stuff.

This leaves with me with the dilemma of whether to do a large scale ‘dob-in’ or grab a trolley and politely remove offending articles.

Prime Spot
Prime Spot

I do neither. I feel duped.  Duped that I’ve played fair by these rules.  Duped that I thought it was a good idea.   So the gloves are off, it’s Day 5 and there is no more playing by the rules.

Front row, ocean side seats 4-6, we’re coming to get you.  The fact that we are in this wonderful country with its beautiful people makes my little musing so much more palatable.

The Kid and ‘the hunk in trunks’ (as he wishes to be known on this vacation) are fully engaged in life here and my next little sunbed thought should now be whether I might grab a t-shirt and become an undercover Beach Ambassador.

It would be rude not too really ……………

Mummascribbles

Carrier Bag Etiquette

Is it just me or does anyone else begrudge paying for carrier bags?

In fact, not only do I begrudge paying for them but I try to do the most ridiculous stunts not to pay for them and I really don’t know why.

I imagine I am going to be in the minority here on this one given that I am going to appear like an anti-recycling campaigner – although this is not actually the case.

It would probably be helpful if I pointed out at this stage that I am just not a Bag for Life kind of woman. The hessian and plastic ones do nothing for me I’m afraid. I wouldn’t go and buy a handbag with a ladybird or an apple on it so why would I do my shopping in one.

'Self-Checkout'
‘Self-Checkout’

This behaviour does carry a certain amount of shame with it. This is particularly prevalent when one comes to the till and there is not a bag in sight. There is always the cashier that asks very accusingly “Do you need bags?” Shudder. “Yes please” I say feeling like I’ve got 10 oranges stuffed down my bra hoping not to pay for them. Worse still is when they don’t say anything. There is a stand-off silence as your weeks shopping flies down the conveyor belt and it’s like the cashier is daring you to mention it. When you do ask you generally get two bags, just the two and then like a fool you try to stuff everything in them.

And then of course comes M&S. He who dares to be the market leader in charging 5p for a bag. Now in the great scheme of things what is 5p when you are spending £25? Peanuts really but it’s the principle as far as I am concerned and every time I get to the checkout, I remember and off I go all indignant because I am not paying for a bag. Why, what is wrong with me – it’s 5p for god’s sake but no I am going to single-handedly try to pack all that shopping into the small free bags. Now that really makes sense, for me and for them because I’m sure 7 small bags cost more than a 5p one and what about the recycling of that little lot. I would rather they put their prices up to take care of the 5p or ditch the bags altogether.

The Offending Article
The Offending Article

In fact, I’m so over the whole 5p separate transaction scenario. If you go to a self-checkout you even have to tell the computer which bag you are having. This really beats me. Especially when there are no bags in sight and you have yet another reason to need the assistance of a member of staff and hold up the express queue.

My recent stunt really took the biscuit though. There I was with 5 Sainsbury bags when suddenly I realised I needed food from Marks & Spencer. What a perfect situation! I am prepared, I want for nothing, I need NO bags. Wrong! In typical fashion, I couldn’t get everything in. The very helpful assistant asks if I would like a bag, “no thanks” I say whilst at the same time putting the remaining tin of Tuna in my handbag. I really couldn’t believe I was doing this. But I did and lo and behold the very next day I reached into my bag for something and pulled out a tin of Tuna. Who in their right mind puts Tuna in their hand bag? Me, it would seem!!!

So we’ve done the bags we have to pay for, so who gets the award for the worst bag you have to pay for, with the most cheek to boot? £48.00 spent in W H Smith and you have to buy a bag whose handles are so thin they snap immediately and if they don’t, they do a very good job of slitting your wrists before you have made it home.

Maybe France has got this bag thing right. If you don’t bring a bag, you’ve had it. Annoyingly we did have the bags but unfortunately they were in the car and I was on my own. Even more annoying was the fact that you can’t take the trolley out of the supermarket. Now even I have to draw the line somewhere and there was no way I was going to load myself up with cheese and wine “Crackerjack” style and wobble out of Carrefour like Carmen Miranda.

The Struggle
The Struggle

If you have read have read my experience of providing samples in France https://notjustthe3ofus.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/how-to-do-a-sample/ you will understand my reluctance to try to attempt too many stunts during one holiday.

Is anyone with me on this one?

Nicky x

The Twinkle Diaries

Not Cycling

Can I just say before I begin that I don’t think I’m getting this cycling lark.

Now it may be perceived that I’m slightly biased, bitter even as no bikes were allowed at Chez Victoriana (childhood home) – too dangerous!!   Even if they were, there wasn’t the money. We did have a shared trike though which saw us through the years, a rusty contraption that we used like a scooter, riding around the garden on the back. I have fond memories of the trike.

That’s not to say I haven’t embraced the whole cycling thing.

Tour de France
Tour de France, Woodford

I was there partying in the streets on the day of the Tour de France. Indeed I even got on a bike for the first time in my early 40’s, had a cycle lesson and passed by my mid 40’s.   I was good apparently and egged on by The Kid and Mark (Iron Man as he is now known in the bike department), I found myself the proud owner of a nice lilac bike.   We don’t do things by halves in this family.

In hindsight, I’m not sure whether I should have been slightly more verbal about the choice of bike and colour. I’m not sure if the other two thought I was being a bit wussy from the get go. Being described by The Kid as looking like someone from Call the Midwife on my bike is I feel, to put it mildly, a bit of a cheek.

Anyway, I’ve been on it three times now – once a year to be precise.   Last night being one of those occasions.

I’m a bit stuck without Iron Man though you see as I can’t get anywhere to cycle unless he’s around to take Lilac apart and put it in the car. I don’t do roads you see and I’m not really a take the wheel off kind of gal. Even if I were, I’d never get it back on again.

Putting a wheel on a bike
Iron Man in Action!
And so out comes Lilac (what a bloody performance that is) and the bikes are crammed in the car with The Kid sat in the back, face pressed against the windows next to the handle bars. Now that is dangerous!! I guess there is good judgement in the once a year thing.

Bikes in the back of car
How we travel
Of course it’s all very lovely the whole family cycling thing and the way the wind blows through my hair is just the stuff that dreams are made of but that I’m afraid is where it stops. I know I certainly stop should another cyclist come towards me – freeze in fact.

So there we are, a few laps round the forest, a nice splattering of mud and then back to the car to do it all again in reverse.   Happy days!

Last night’s escapade was a little more adventurous in so far as I fell off. What is it they say about pride coming before a fall? Of course, I got straight back on without a fuss and continued the circuit.

I suppose to be fair, I do quite enjoy it now and then and maybe on reflection, Lilac and I aren’t quite done yet. Perhaps we got off to a bad start and the best is yet to come.

How do you shape up as a cyclist?   Are you a fair weather rider like me?

Would love to hear your comments below.  You don’t have to have a blog to get involved and have a say.  Give it a go …… x

The Twinkle Diaries

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Quite a simple activity really – or so you would think?   Not so!

Why do simple when you can get really involved.

Now before you scrabble in your bag for a pen thinking that you are about to take part in a Jackie questionnaire, stop. This is no ordinary question in my household. Maybe not in yours either?

Let me explain.

The type of sitting down I am describing is only successful with children when dining out and it usually works best with the coming together of families for a social meal.

Greetings have been exchanged and you are shown to your table. The children will dive in first, intent on sitting next to each other and bagging the plum seats.

Children in restaurant
Sitting Comfortably!

This is generally in a line down one side of the table posing the question of whether the adults have to follow suit. If you choose this path, your best attempts to engage in conversation will depend on how practised you are at Chinese Whispers.

Panic not!

At some point one of the kids will declare that they want to sit next to their mum which prompts a whole reshuffle in order to make this possible. This could involve everyone standing up and shuffling round or perhaps for the sportier among us, a quick dive under the table. This is all carried out whilst the Waitress is waiting to give out menus and take drink orders.

Once shuffling has completed its first phase, you will receive a look from the Waitress that says “you are getting on my nerves already”.   It dawns on you that no one has actually spoken yet and your heart sinks because you know that today is not the day to ask for a different side with the chicken supreme. Any attempts at going off menu in this scenario will be met with resistance. Besides which, two kids now want to go to the toilet so it’s shuffle time again as they ask “Can someone come with me?”!!

The trick here is to say “I’ll go”, others will also offer but you need to be insistent. The seasoned among us will know that there will be plenty of  opportunities for the others during this fine dining experience.

So off to the toilet we all go. I say all because by the time you get up, every child in the party will also wish to join the toilet group and you all conga through the restaurant to the loo.  You will probably get back to the table 15 minutes later, depending on the amount of children.

With any luck the food that your partner ordered for you will be sitting on the table now and he will be tucking into his nicely, telling you how good the food is. No shit Sherlock!

Children will duly shuffle back to seats and noshing will commence.

Children sharing a dessert
Noshing!

You can now tuck in to yours, slightly lukewarm, but he was right, it is nice. Even nicer because you are now able to extol the virtues of having done the earlier toilet run because bless the little buggers bladders, someone needs to go again.

You may of course be one of the lucky (or unlucky) diners who happen to be with stimulating adult company sitting in our immediate vicinity.  You may have had the privilege of watching this travelling circus spectacle unfold.  My advice to you is to do as I would do if ever I find myself in this fortunate position.  Run for the bloody hills!!!!!

We’re coming soon to a restaurant near you ……………

Been there?