We’re not big fans of fans

At breakfast this morning…

THE LOVELY MELANIE: What shall we do today, girls? Shall we go to The Fan Museum?

GIRLS: ???

THE LOVELY MELANIE: You’ve been making and decorating lots of fans lately, so I thought you might like to see a whole museum of old fans.

GIRLS: Um. OK.

ME: There might be ones that were owned by princesses…

AMBER: OK!

THE LOVELY MELANIE: Or…wecouldgotothebouncycastlesinthepark.

GIRLS: What…?  What did you say?

THE LOVELY MELANIE: Mumble…bouncy castles…mumble…park.

GIRLS: Bouncy castles! Bouncy castles!!!

THE LOVELY MELANIE: Really? Wouldn’t you rather see the Museum?

ME: Bouncy goddamn castles!  Oh, wait… I’m at work. Damn. 😦

GIRLS: BOUNCY CASTLES!!

THE LOVELY MELANIE: Sigh.

GIRLS: Bouncy castles!!

Seriously, my love, did you really think the Fan Museum might beat a park full of bouncy castles?? 😛

The last of the summer…

The girls are back from their last “holiday” of the school holidays – a couple of days at Grandma & Grandad’s in Hatfield, which they seem to have enjoyed very much (certainly they squealed their excitement down the phone at us both nights when they rang!)  They’ve made paper chains (25 links!!), a varnished stick (with tissue paper!) and “Do Not Disturb” signs like those we had in our hotel in Spain.

Bexley Summer Reading ChallengeThey’ve also got their annual medals from the Bexley Summer Reading Challenge for reading a certain number of books during the holidays; these golden discs were proudly displayed to me when I got home from work today, along with the last of the scratch’n’sniff stickers you get each time you go to the library (it was “cake” this time – much nicer than last time’s “magic potion”!).  I made a fuss, but to be honest the girls didn’t do any more reading than usual, they’re inveterate readers anyway – just like their ma and pa.

Nor are they back at school yet.  For some reason school doesn’t start until next Wednesday, so the Lovely Melanie has Monday off work and I have the Tuesday, then it’s all back to the barely controlled panic of the regular school days: getting them awake, dressed, fed, washed and out of the door on time, every time.

I guess we’d better make the most of the next few days!

As usual, I find myself wondering: where did the summer holidays go?  No doubt the girls themselves can barely remember the distant, long-ago days of getting up for school, but for me, it seems to have flown by!  Again.

No doubt Christmas stuff will be appearing in the shops very very soon.

Dirty D by Fuxa
Cover of Dirty D by Fuxa

And on an entirely unconnected point, I bought three new CDs today: La Machine’s Phases & Repetitions, The Orbserver In The Star House by The Orb featuring Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Fuxa‘s Dirty D.

Before opening the cover of that last one I couldn’t decide whether it was a very expensive cover that actually wobbled or just an optical illusion.

The girls were just as confused as me: “Is it moving?” I asked Amber.

“Yes,” she said.  “Er, I mean, no.”

So I asked Millie: “Is it moving?”

“What?  Is what moving?  Um, yes.  Maybe.  No.”

Thanks, girls. 😛

Trial by train

Still full of post-holiday cheer, I set off back to work this morning, catching the usual 7.56 train to London Bridge.

That good cheer was tested a little when the driver stopped and announced there were problems at Hither Green: a fire on a train, apparently.

It was put under further strain soon after when he apologised for the delay we now faced.

But it was only when the train went into reverse and started to head out of London altogether, eventually returning to the capital an hour later, that I felt like I was being properly tested.

Bring it on, Southeastern!  I can take it!

Ibiza

Ahhhhh… I find myself filled with fine thoughts and good intentions, all brought on by our gloriously relaxing week spent in the quiet resort of Es Canar in Ibiza.

Carter family in IbizaNo, seriously, I do!  A week spent lounging by the pool/sea, reading, playing, eating and occasionally exploring is remarkably therapeutic – it’s been so long since I had a holiday like this I’d almost forgotten.  Thank you so very very much to my parents for giving us this opportunity: it was a truly wonderful week and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. 🙂

I’ve just finished going through all my photographs and have uploaded quite a few to Flickr.  Do feel free to take a look – although, be advised, my swimming attire goes somewhat against the fashion for voluminous shorts!

Amber Carter with waterIn fact, the week was so lazy there isn’t an awful lot to report here.  The hotel was half-board, so we didn’t eat out (and thanks to the all-you-can-eat breakfast, which included bacon and American-style pancakes, I’ve probably gained at least a stone).

Actually, we did eat out one night, at a beautiful beach called Cala Benirrás.  We had planned a trip to the famous Cafe Del Mar in San Antonio, but were concerned that it might be full of drunken twats, so diverted to Cala Benirrás instead to catch the sunset and the drummers.

It was beautiful and peaceful (and devoid of twats) but unfortunately was also cloudy!  Not everywhere, mind: just the western corner of the sky.  Sigh.

Cala Benirras, IbizaNever mind.  My parents had generously agreed to look after the kids that evening so we still had some delicious seafood, got a little drunk and listened to the drummers.  I was so taken with the “hippy” atmosphere that I stripped down to my pants and went night swimming (WARNING – links to photo of wet 41-year-old man in his pants!)

The girls were perfectly happy playing in the pool all day every day, and had braids woven into their hair by a local lady.  By the end of the holiday Millie in particular looked like she lived on Ibiza, so brown and tousled was she.

Millie Carter in IbizaBut even Amber, our little English Rose, has come home with a tan (and an interesting variety of temporary tattoos, free with the local crisps).  She’s also picked up some freckles, leading me to think she’s going to look like her mother when she’s older.

I went exploring around the coast one day, when I fancied a little time to myself.  Not far, just away from the beach, where the land is surprisingly rocky and sharp.  There I found an idyllic little tidal pool and spent a blissful hour floating in the cool water being nibbled by tiny fishes.  I took my dad, brother and Millie back there the next day, but it wasn’t the same…

We also visited the “Hippy Market”, which was about as “hippy” as I am, to be honest, but still a fun morning.  Amber bought a little handbag which she then carried everywhere for the rest of the holiday; Millie got an ocarina and a plastic “diamond”.

Evening entertainment at Hotel Miami IbizaAnd finally, there was the evening entertainment: a weird mix of Chinese and African acrobats, falconry, “Crazy Kids Disco”, Irish dancing and Hi-De-Hi-style amateur productions by the entertainment staff.

It was…unusual, and always featured one of the staff impersonating a woman with two balloons stuffed down his top.  We were a bit baffled, but some people found it hilarious.

As the plane came in to land at Southampton Airport we were treated to a spectacular sunset (which made up for the minor disappointment at Cala Benirras) but by the time we reached the runway all was darkness and rain.  Good old England, eh? 😉

Still, we were tired but happy, so managed to laugh about this as we home from the station with our luggage.  A fitting end to a fabulous week away in the sun. 😀

Abroad

image

Being abroad is hard work – just ask these two happy but exhausted campers. Hardly surprising though, since they’ve been in the pool for the last eight hours!

Amber, in particular, is having trouble dealing with the heat – not the temperature, as such, but the effort of just being awake and active all the time. Exhaustion is creeping up on her, but both of them are a bit fractious and tearful (when they’re not screaming with delight).

O!

Each time I casually mention to the girls that it’s only (insert diminishing amount of time here) until we go on holiday both their eyes and mouths open wide.

Every single time.

😯

To be honest, I’m cruising downhill at work today, just holding on for tomorrow and seven glorious days in Ibiza.

I guess that’s what part of what it means to be a child though: to live always in the present, seldom thinking about what just happened or what is about to happen.

Memory and anticipation turn children into adults.

Holidays are GO!

In 48 hours we’re off on holiday to Ibiza.  And – thanks to the amazing generosity of my wonderful parents – the whole family (almost) are going.

That’s me, the Lovely Melanie, Millie, Amber, my little brother, his wife and their little girl, as well as (obviously) my Mum and Dad.

To say I’m looking forward to it would be an understatement.  But my enthusiasm is dwarfed by that of the girls’ like a planet is dwarfed by a star. 😀

The girls have never flown before, and have only left England twice in their lives (both times to Wales).  Remembering my first trip abroad at Millie’s age (8) I can’t wait to see their reactions to flying and to being in Spain.

That’s going to be half the fun for me.

I’ve packed two books, my new swimming trunks and sunglasses – and in my head the holiday goes something like this…

Arrive.  Go to beach.  Sit down with book.

Millie and Amber announce “This is brilliant!  We’re going to play in the sea!” and run off.

“OK” I say, and settle down to read my book, only stopping to swim in that sparkling clear sea once an hour with my wife – who is looking sexy as hell in her new bikini. 😉

Six hours later the girls scamper out of the sea, sun-kissed and tousle-haired, and say “We’re hungry!”

“Hello, beautiful children,” I say, and kiss their wet heads affectionately.

We go for some food, engage in witty dinner conversation with other adults, drink some wine and then sleep.

Repeat till end of holiday…