Day two of our holiday and I swear there is a parent manual that states lie-ins are mandatory after a long journey the night before. Our kids woke up like they had been drinking energy drinks all night, and were jumping up and down furiously like they had been fully caffeinated for hours. My lovely wife took the kids downstairs and by the time I had got downstairs in what I thought was a few minutes later, the kids were apparently on their second breakfast and claiming a famine!
I felt really guilty that my wife had got up first so I volunteered to take the kids to the games room, and took my coffee with me to help wake me up. Ping Pong was interesting when my little girl announced she would serve and hit the ball harder than a fully professional tennis player. I was expecting grunts as the ball hit another stratosphere! Once I realised that my son was intent on sending the ping pong ball even further into space, I decided nothing could go wrong with a game of pool. My kids picked up the cues and swung them round so fast I had to duck and lose half of my coffee to avoid my head being taken off, I asked them to watch Daddy do it correctly. I demonstrated as best as I could slowly using my hand to rest the end of the cue, and gently knock the ball into another. This was translated into ‘I will send the ball into another county then use my hands to push the balls into the pockets.’ By the end I had decided that my pool teaching days were over and surely I had done my bit for king and country? We packed lunch and set off for a huge period house, and I cannot tell you where, as you will realise later.
My kids arrived, grabbed a clipboard and were told to find things on their way around. Now I was a nervous man, as my kids were still jumping up and down on the spot to wear off energy and here I was in a house with over 200 hundred years of history. I fully realised my credit card would not cover any damages. As I got through the door I had to laugh as I was still holding our picnic bag with left over food and was told to lock the bag up, and hold the key tight. I was then escorted to a vault room with various lockers. I had to chuckle because seriously, who was going to steal my sandwiches? Was there a hungry bear on the loose and we were not being told the truth? As I locked up my sandwiches I felt the breakables around the house should be more protected with my kids than my sandwiches, but hey ho. As I joined my family I helped find objects around the house for my kids who had a clipboard and a pencil. As we went around I found my son with one of the items of property carrying many years of history, and a model with period clothing now wobbling like a jelly. As an intake of breath went around the room, it did not take long to realise one of my kids was at the bottom of it. I put the item back, and saw the relief on the official’s face. As we went around the corner my little girl was now holding the pencil near two hundred year old wallpaper, and I managed to get there just in time to save the wallpaper.
Now not only were my kids jumping but I was also moving, but mine was more a nervous shake. We came to the end of the tour, and were left in a playroom in one of the oldest parts of the house. Literally two minutes was all it took, before my son used a plate as a frisbee and a crash followed by another family giving an intake of breath that would have made a harrier jet engine sound tame. Millions of bits were now on the floor and in my mind I was already remortgaging my house, and handing over my car keys, until I saw an IKEA label on the bottom of the plate. Phew, it was just playing plates and not two hundred year old heirlooms. As we confessed to the crime, the staff were lovely and handled it so nicely. I was not handling the shock so well, exited and stated I needed a fully caffeinated drink, and a large one.
Coffee drank and two happy kids got into the car. They grabbed their magazines to read, to which surely I was in the clear and nothing, but nothing could go wrong. I was almost in a calm and serene place when my little girl announced “Daddy you had better look what Captain Breakable has done.” To my horror darkness had fallen over the back of the car and a sticker the size of sandwich plate was now attached to my windows. As I peeled off the sticker, I wiped my tears as I was now weeping because the sticker was tearing and I could not get it off even with my finger nails. My son, then on entertainment duty, complained that “Daddy’s ruining my sticker!” Sorry son, for a minute there I thought this was my car, and windows were there for letting light in. As we arrived home my indicators decided to give up, and the headlights on my car decided to follow suit. My kids then asked could I help them build their magazine toys. Sorry kids, Mummy is peeling the sticker off the car windows while Daddy’s pretending he knows how to fix the car. After around 30 minutes the car was fixed and I was contemplating hiding under the bonnet for much longer, as the peace was wonderful, and oil and grease had never looked so good. How long could I give it before I claim the car is done? I think another cold drink and twenty minutes at least!