Monday, 4 July 2011

5 things I want to do this summer - Listography

The Reluctant House Dad is hosting Kate Takes 5 listography for this week, '5 THINGS YOU WANT TO DO THIS SUMMER'. So, here are mine:

For the past 13 years, my job has been to plan the whole 6 weeks of activities like a military operation, in consultation with other Entertainment Captains and the Met Office, and with the aid of the equivalent of the national debt of Greece. September would find me spent in more ways than one. So this year, I'm hanging up my hat: the DDs are going to amuse themselves the old fashioned way. We had a taster of it at half term. After outgrowing her previous bike, DD1 refused several offers of a new one on the grounds that it was 'so lame', then she acquired one by accident (thanks, Aunty H!) and I couldn't get her off it. She was gone for hours each day, punctuated just once by a teary phone call that she'd fallen into some nettles and knocked her chain off the gear mechanism miles away from home (mum's Emergency Services and her big car boot came in handy that day.) The eureka moment came for me when she took DD2 with her. Deep breath from overprotective mummy and off they went off like a couple of Enid Blyton characters with lashings of ginger b... ok, water bottles, cycled for hours, stopped off at the park and the library, and returned home sweaty, scuffed and grinning. And very proud of themselves. All for zero expense. Priceless. It's time.

No, not tanning.  But when my kids make a pit stop from their adventures with a pile of equally ravenous friends, I will make sure I always have a home baked cake or biscuits to hand (as well as the ubiquitous freezer full of ice pops). That way, I get the therapy, and I can guarantee they will make it home at some point.

By the beginning of the school holidays I will have finished my first draft - I know where it's going and how to get there and it's currently hitting the page in all its messy glory before the really hard work starts: editing. So while the intrepid explorers are out and about in the sun, I will get my new baby into a form fit for human consumption.

Like many, we can't afford a holiday this year so are thankful we live five minutes from the beach, with woods, farms and castles all within a ten minute strike. And, we are doubly thankful for the lovely friend who has invited us to her holiday cottage in Suffolk. Last time, we went crabbing at Walberswick, prom strolling in Southwold and toy boat sailing in Aldeburgh. And the now legendary 'Strawbelly Jam', as the kids labelled it, was made after an afternoon picking our own weight in strawberries. I'm thankful for old fashioned, low-cost, lazy summer days.

The DDs will be spending the first and last weeks of the holidays with their dad. In the two previous years, I have dreaded them going, hated the silence and spent the week thoroughly miserable. This year will be different. As they grow in independence, so must I. I already have a party invitation, a promise of a bottle of wine with a friend, and our annual grown-up girls weekend at my friend's house in Suffolk. We'll go for walks, wander around antique centres and silly gift shops, make regular cuppa and cake stops, and in the evenings the odd bottle of alcohol may even get a look in. Ok, so we previously discovered that Cava and popping candy in the same mouthful make your nose run, and how, by rigging straws through the face hole in a massage table, you can enjoy several hands-free Pina Coladas whilst being pummelled (ahem, massaged...) On reflection, perhaps I already get the hang of this grown up thing.

Happy summer, people!

For more '5 THINGS YOU WANT TO DO THIS SUMMER' see The Reluctant House Dad's blog.


  1. I love the way you write. Very funny. So you've got a novel on the go, eh? I wrote one last year (more lad lit than housedads lit) but never found an agent. Best of luck with it. This time next year, Paula, we'll be millyonaires! Great stuff, and thanks for joining in.

  2. Thanks for the lovely comments! Yes, taking a bit of an unintentional sabbatical to get it finished, so no pressure. Good luck with yours too. Millyonaires? Mange tout. Mange tout.

  3. I hope you have a wonderful summer. I love the photo of your yummy looking cake.

    I am always impressed

  4. great list, how old are your children? I remember many many fun filled holidays off riding my bike with my sister and my my friends going no where in particular but always having the most amazing adventures good luck with your writing too :D

  5. A Farmer's Wife: Thank you! I hope you have a terrific summer too!
    Saramumof3: My girls are 10 and 13. I had great adventures too and I know I need to let them go a bit. It's hard.
    (Oh, and sorry for the delay - I had to change the setting so comments get approved as I was getting spam, then forgot to check - oops!)