Summer Treat

21 07 2011

It’s hard to know sometimes how best to entertain the troops during the summer holidays. My three are a lazy bunch, so I feel obliged, occasionally, to shake them out of their slumber and force them to have fun. What could be more fun than exploring the haunts of my childhood?

They were very grateful, therefore, when I piled them into the car and took them to the small Ayrshire seaside town where I grew up. When we arrived, I decided that this was a good day to visit the aviary. I reminisced about the vast quantities of birds, the mina bird which repeated everything you said, the owl, the parrots, the large fish pond with large fish in it, the Hansel and Gretel House at the bottom of the gardens… the list is endless. These kids were about to have the time of their lives.

Just as I dragged them screaming from the car, to go into the aviary, someone called my name. My next-door-neighbour of 40 years ago – the one I played Cowboys & Indians with, the one who cut all my ringlets off on one side, leaving me half bald. It took us about 90 seconds to catch up (our lives are quite different and he’s the bald one now) and I continued to march my appreciative offspring into the treat of the year.

Gone were the fish, the parrots, the house and the owls. There were three canaries, a lovebird and some fan-tailed pigeons. Total. Now my kids think I make things up, just like their grandmother. She remembers when we had three months of unbroken sunshine all summer, every child was well-mannered, and trips to the seaside were fun.

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