Sunday, 16 November 2008

In which the promise of Sundays is rained out

It's Sunday. This day held so much promise. It was a blank canvas upon which we could paint any number of happy family memories. But son 2 is sick again (now that son 1 is on the mend). I'm definitely poorly but ignoring it (I don't really get a choice in the matter). And our options as to what we could do were always going to be limited.

So without much of a concrete plan but feeling we really ought to do something, we decided to try to teach son 1 how to ride his bike without stabilisers. Given his temperament this was never going to be an easy task. And it wasn't. He refused to leave the house. Then once we finally got him to the park, he refused to get on the bike. Then he refused to put on the helmet. We eventually got to the point where he was riding his bike with me running behind him, holding on, putting my back out, coughing up my poorly lungs and breathing out through my ears. My son felt it was far more interesting to watch the passers-by than the path ahead so kept overbalancing. I never even got close to taking my hands off him. Then husband had a turn. Pretty much the same success rate, except that he - who is supposedly far fitter and healthier than I at the moment - also returned clutching his back and breathing through his ears.

We decided to break for lunch (i.e. let aging parents sit down and breathe). As son 2 had been largely ignored during all of the bike riding he was allowed to choose our lunch destination. We suggested pizza. He said: 'chicken and chips'. Which means KFC. He's only been there once but it obviously made a big impression on him as he's been nagging to go back ever since. So in we went along with other fraught families, people with weight issues and many people who looked as though they'd just got in from a heavy night out.

It was vile. Son 1 pronounced: 'this food is revolting. And it's not healthy. (well done son). I don't EVER want to come back here again.' My husband was very quick to agree, given that he's lived on a diet of salads and cereal for the better part of a year and the shock of vast quantities of fat and salt wasn't sitting well with his digestive system. Husband said: 'Everything's so full of FAT.' 'Well yes,' I said. 'There might be a clue in the name Kentucky FRIED chicken.' He harumphed. We left, all feeling a bit sick.

We were busy tossing a coin as to who was going to run behind boy on bike trying not to bring up our deep fried nastiness when a large cloud decided to loiter over Newbury, turning the day into a grey, wet, mizzle-tastic misery. We convinced the boys that it would move on and tried to pass the time browsing the toys in Woolworths because that's as exciting as you get on Newbury High Street. We're trying to get an idea as to what Father Christmas can get for them, but they just want everything. If you ask them to narrow it down to one or two things, then nothing's good enough to make the list. Personally I don't want anymore plastic crap in the house so don't feel like getting anything. But that would be cruel (yet cost effective).

So having pushed every button on every mutant alien, lightsabre, combat vehicle and rescue chopper we headed outdoors again in the hope that we could continue the bike riding experiment. But the cloud had decided that Newbury was rather a nice place to empty itself on. And so we came home. Husband seems thrilled at the idea of lying on the sofa watching a kids cartoon. I am less ecstatic. For almost a month now we've had someone poorly. We've had TV on 24/7. My heady is foggy from radiators and the melodic strains of cbeebies. We are in dire need of fresh air.

I don't want to be indoors. I want to be having a good long stomp across the fields but given that I'm not altogether well and that it is very wet out there, I'm not sure it's a cunning plan. And so I'm here, typing this. Debating whether to plan my Christmas lunch menu now so that I can get my order in with Ocado, and thus secure a good delivery slot before they're all gone. But even for me that seems a bit anal.

On the subject of Christmas, I am pleased to report that I did 80% of my Christmas shopping this weekend - half of which came from two stores, the rest done online. I was almost masculine in my shop, choose and leave approach. It was the scorched earth policy of Christmas shopping. I've bought my Christmas cards, have my paper and tags and could probably spend the afternoon wrapping gifts to post to the far corners of the earth. It's just not really what I had in mind for today.

I think I might go put my wellies on after all and turn my mild, irritating chest cold into flaming influenza and be done with it. I'll write again from my sickbed.

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