Wednesday, 19 April 2017
A Day Out
I wasn't actually particularly planning on having a day out today. Sure, I expected to leave the house sometime (the reason why will become shortly), but I didn't expect the day to turn out quite as it did.
So, my wife was at work today (which is particularly bad planning on her part bearing in mind that it's her birthday) and as our son is off school this week I had the day off to entertain him.
Now, one recent change to our lives is that we now have a regular house cleaner. Once a week, on Tuesdays, we leave the house its usual state (that is to say, not quite bad enough for the Disasters Emergency Committee to begin running commercials asking for donations, but not far off) and we return to a beautiful and sparkling clean home. I find this somewhat unsettling, and end up frantically tidying and wiping counters before the cleaners arrive, so that they can spend their time doing the more in depth cleaning that I am able to ignore, like cleaning under the sink or sandblasting the external brickwork.
Usually we're all out of the house by 8am so we don't ever see the cleaner, but with school being off, we found the day didn't start quite as quickly as the norm, and in summary the cleaners found me asleep in bed at 11 in the morning, my son laid next to me watching the childhood tale "The Gingerbread Man" for the fifteenth time, in what I assume is an effort by him to watch all of the different animations of this story that can be found on YouTube.
Allow me to assure readers that I had indeed awoken some hours before, but my son had had a minor accident and was somewhat upset, so had retired to my bed for a brief "chill out" session, and I joined him to make sure that he was okay. Once in bed of course I noticed a Bill Bryson book that I hadn't read for at least three weeks and started flicking through it, before succumbing to the temptations of an illicit midmorning nap.
Anyway, once awoken by the cleaners coming up the stairs, we quickly left the house without a clear plan of where to go or what to do - at least I didn't have a clear plan, my son probably did, but as it would probably involve running at moving cars whilst eating chocolate I wasn't convinced that he would have the best idea of how to spend the time.
So, we found ourselves at the Humber Bridge Country Park. The country park is sited in an old chalk mine on the bank of the River Humber, and when I was young I remember visiting the park any number of times to prick myself with a nettle or fall down a steep wall or something. I'm pleased to report that my son promptly climbed up a massive and steep face, and then commanded me to join him. He didn't fall down anything either, which was an added bonus.
I do like the Humber Bridge Country Park, even though at the entrance it has a box full of leaflets that you can take to learn more about the park, and the park administrators have felt the need to put instructions on the box explaining how a leaflet can be safely obtained. At the time of our visit, some local do-gooder group (The Holderness Annoying Young Persons Society, perhaps) had brought a dozen death-seeking children of indeterminate ages to the country park, all of which immediately launched themselves at every hazard they could find, hanging off railings, dangling legs off the tops of bridges, and bouncing inanely on play equipment. My son didn't hesitate to join them, leaving me to chase ineffectually after them, and between periods of heavy breathing occasionally mustering just enough energy to shout at him to stop touching whatever he was touching or to not jump from whatever dangerous place he was onto the row of metal spikes directly underneath him.
We ended up staying at the park a good four hours or so, by which time we were both exhausted from a very enjoyable time running around. In fact we were there so long, that by the time we got back home, I decided to invent a new meal - Tunch.
Aficionados of Brunch will recognise Tunch as a new fusion meal, where we take the "snacky" aspect of lunch (sandwich, crisps, yoghurt, perhaps a piece of fruit) and give it the "quantity" element of Tea. Tunch for my son was essentially all the items mentioned, plus another yoghurt, and some sort of biscuit on a stick that he coerced me into buying at the supermarket after the country park (four hours of running around a park will weaken your defenses somewhat).
I attempted to apply the other aspect of Brunch, that is that by having Brunch you don't get to eat Lunch, so I did my best to take Tunch sufficiently staunch as to avoid the need for a separate tea meal. This didn't work of course, my son seems to be able to eat constantly, except when asleep (and if he slept in a food preparation area I think he could continue eating even then) so the idea of skipping a meal just because he'd had a separate meal an hour beforehand was obviously unreasonable.
All in all an excellent day. Now please excuse me while I sort out some supper.