Friday, 10 August 2012

Tripping out...

Spent the day basking in the glorious summer sunshine.
If it's possible to bask whilst repeatedly inflating a gigantic paddling pool with a foot-pump. Which of course it isn't.
In between pumpings I had to lie with my head on the side of the pool - like a paramedic - listening for the telltale hissing of escaping air. By midday I had found two pinprick holes and a centimetre long slit in one of the seams. Since I fixed them with Uhu, plasters and electrical tape, the pool is still deflating - and I suspect that to add water would be naively optimistic.
In any case, both boys refused to leave the house - even as far as the garden. They are suffering from a surfeit of day trips. 

Sir Nine-alot preparing for battle. The rest of us are in hiding for we fear him.

Husband has been feeling guilty about not being able to afford another holiday this year and so has announced that this shall be the Summer of Day Trips!
'But we don't like day trips!' chorused the boys.
'No, we don't like them at all,' I added in support.
But it was to no avail.
So far we have visited Cattle Country, the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Bristol Aquarium, Snowshill Manor, the Roccocco Gardens and the lakes at South Cerney. It feels as if there may have been more, but my head is an exhausted blur of old manor houses, meercat enclosures and zipwires.

Hide and seek in a hayfield
The least enjoyable day out so far was our ill-fated trip to the (unspeakably shite) Snowshill Manor. It was a very long walk from the entrance kiosk (where we paid £35.50) through the grounds (muddy track bordered by nettles) to the manor house itself. The walk was enlivened by strategically placed plastic animal faeces for us to find and identify (in fairness, the nine year old thought this was great, but he's nine - and nine year olds are stupid!) By the time we reached the house it was beginning to rain. We were greeted by a rude old man (at least two hundred years old) who refused to grant us admittance to ye olde manor house because we hadn't been given a ticket at the pay desk (now miles behind us). We showed him our free guide to Snowshill, our Pamphlet of Poos to Spot and our two receipts for £35.50, but no, his job was to stop people trying to get past him without a ticket and he was damned well determined to do it. He made us wait outside in the (now driving) rain, while he went off to grill a woman about whether her handbag was a rucksack (it wasn't) and whether she was happy to leave in in his charge (of course she wasn't, you fucking nitwit).
After a while, a less insane old man turned up and apologised for the rudeness of his colleage. 'He's a volunteer,' he whispered. 'I'm afraid we have to take what we can get.'
'But he's so old his brain has melted into some sort of cheese!' I pointed out. 'I demand my money back this very minute!'
I didn't say that really, but I wanted to quite a lot. We were all pretty wet and grumpy after that. Snowshill Manor was dark and dirty inside and it did not smell good (the five year old dashed out of Charles Wade's bathroom with his hands clapped over his nose!) None of the 'Collection of Curios' was labelled and the guides were all fucking morons. An unbelievably loud alarm sounded intermittently and no one seemed to know how to turn it off. On our way out we got drenched again.
But still the day trips continued...

Brass rubbing at Burford
One good thing was that all the day trips following our Snowshill Manor visit, seemed like lots of fun in comparison. 'At least we're not at Snowshill Manor' the boys cried whenever the rain came pouring down on us, whenever there were no free tables in the cafeteria, whenever the queue for the little train was three miles long or whenever we had to watch one of the larger Siamang gibbons biting the little baby Siamang almost to death!

Running downhill at the Roccoccos

Today, the boys pleaded for a day of lounging and I was more than ready for it.
What they don't know is that their father has made an actual list of Family Days Out and we are but halfway through it. Bristol Planetarium, a day out at Weston-Super-Mare, the Cotswold Farm Park and Coughton Court are all yet to come.
I'm thinking of hiding the list.

Here's the nine year old being taught how to handle a deadly weapon.
 (Obviously the rest of us are hiding again for now we fear him more than ever!)

I've been squeezing some writing into the evenings and weekends and my wordcount is over 102,000 now, which I'm proud of (whoohoo!) but also a little dismayed at because I still have another chapter and a half to go and I wanted to stop short of 100,000 this time. If I'm going to submit it as YA, I think it ought to be somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 - and I'm useless at chopping.
What's more, my friend HH is ready to submit her own YA novel RIGHT NOW - so I'm also feeling a bit frustrated at always rushing to catch up with someone else in my writing group. If I'd managed to stop at 80,000 I'd be ready too, but oh no, I have to go banging on for another 30,000. Why can't I shut the hell up?

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