This week has marked 41 years since my birthday. Last year, for my 40th, I had hand, foot and mouth – and so, thinks I, this year’s birthday can only be better than that.
Pre-children birthdays were extremely joyous occasions in our house, the birthday girl / boy, was waited on hand and foot all day, had a lovely meal and pudding made for them whilst they sat read / played on the Playstation / watched a film (maybe all three, not at the same time) and drank copious amounts of alcohol.
Post children birthdays are days to look back at pre-children birthdays and stifle a cry of anguish.
The plan had been to go up Haystacks, apparently Wainwrights favourite fell and where his ashes were scattered, and a fell I’ve wanted to do for a while. So I stupidly let myself get a little bit excited.
It rained. And rained. And rained.
Climbing fells with small children, as recalled in my post Fell Toddling, is hard enough. Doing it in the rain is foolhardy – and to be fair to them, sometimes, in my kinder moments (usually when they are asleep) I think we do ask a lot of them to climb fells in the first place, and so it really isn’t fair to make them do it in the rain.
They haven’t yet learnt my balanced view on fair and unfair though, and so the car journey away from the rain sodden fell consisted of them squawking “Don’t want to go home!”, “Are we on the A66 yet?”, “Are we going on the A66?”, “Why aren’t we on the A66?” whilst I sat in the front muttering, “It’s my birthday, I thought we’d have fun” staring forlornly out of the window at the clouds getting lower and lower.
Refusing to give up all hope of having FUN we went down to the lake in Keswick and the kids jumped in some puddles until they were suitably soaked.
Then we decided to go off to the Pencil museum, somewhere I’ve never ventured into during the 10 years or so of being a regular visitor to Keswick. This decision was perhaps a reflection of how very desperate I’d become to do something that we WOULD ALL VERY MUCH ENJOY. Or else.
It was closed.
At this point I gave up all hope of enforced fun, however my mood and the kids’ sugar levels, were briefly lifted by some delicious hot chocolates which we drank in the rain, well, three of us did – the girl child managed to spill hers all over herself, but fortunately we’d just got her a new puddle suit and so that took the brunt of it.
We then decided to head off to The Puzzling Place in Keswick which J and I had been to and enjoyed before, and it kept the kids amused for a couple of hours before we headed for tea (which the kids duly pushed about their plate whilst poking their fingers into mine and J’s dinners) before heading home.
In theory this will be the last year we’ll all be off for my birthday, and so next year I’m looking forward to packing everyone off to school and sitting at home, in peace and quiet and reading a good book.
I bet one of them will be sick.