Last Summer

Today I have been updating The Monster Diaries and so thought I would entertain you with the funniest story from last summer. After reading this you will understand why, perhaps, I am not too disappointed that we may not be able to go anywhere this summer, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

I decided it was time for a day out and so packed a beach bag, and we headed off to the coast with the Mother in law. Surprisingly Eldest Child emerged from the tree house and decided to come with us.  How lovely, a rare day out with all three of my offspring, is what I was thinking as we set off. It was not what I was thinking as we set off for the return journey!

The first incident was shortly after we had arrived at the beach, which was after we had first stopped off for a fish and chip lunch. Middle Child had brought her sliders so that she could wear them as she hobbled across the pebble beach down to the waters edge but they were, in no uncertain terms, for actually wearing into the water, as they might slip off her feet, be washed out to sea and be lost forever. Eldest Child, who has his own sliders but didn’t think to bring them, was the first to take his shoes and socks off and immediately put on Middle Child’s sliders and off he went down to the water. Middle Child became apoplectic, screaming and shouting at me to “tell him to bring my sliders back” and basically had a nervous breakdown. Mother in law had just sat down in her fold up chair, I hadn’t even got mine unfolded yet, and proceeded to look aghast at us all as Middle Child continued her melt down while I made myself hoarse shouting down the beach to Eldest Child to bring her sliders back. Of course, he completely ignored us and started splashing in the water with a look of pure glee on his face. Sometimes I do wonder if he really is nearly seventeen or actually seven.

After several minutes of screaming from Middle Child and shouting from me, back he came, kicking the sliders off and started ranting about how he didn’t see what the problem was. I patiently explained that the problem was that they were her sliders and she didn’t want him to wear them, but he had taken them without asking and if he wanted to wear sliders, he should have brought his own. There were then several more minutes of Eldest Child shouting and stamping about the beach, exclaiming that he didn’t see what the problem was, while I repeated what I had already told him and him shouting back at me, before declaring he didn’t understand why I was making an argument out of it! FFS!

It then all settled down for a while and the children actually played nicely together in the sea. It all went wrong again when they decided that they’d had enough of the water and were going to play on the beach. As I mentioned it is a shingle beach and at the top end, where we were sitting, it was covered with quite large stones. After a couple had been thrown towards the sea, and we had been given a look by someone who had been quite near to where one had landed, I firmly told them that they were not to throw stones. Eldest Child, however continued to throw several more stones, while my voice got firmer and firmer. He then picked up a stone that was part of the collection Youngest Child had amassed in her bucket, and which she had decided was the shape of a boot and therefore was very special. Of course, Eldest Child threw it so that it landed in the edge of the sea. Youngest Child started screaming and crying, Eldest Child started laughing and Mother in Law again looked aghast. I sent him off the find the stone that looked like a boot with the challenge that he would never be able to find it. Five minutes later he was back with the very same stone and repeated his actions, clearly thinking this was a great game, while the whole beach had to contend with Youngest Child’s screams because he was throwing her special stones.

Fortunately, Middle Child came to the rescue by suggesting that she buried Youngest Child in the shingle. This appeased Youngest Child and Eldest Child, now that his stone throwing game was no longer having an effect on anyone, soon decided to join in. When Youngest Child was almost completely covered in stones, Mother in Law, quite rightly, became concerned about her chest being covered with stones. Of course, Eldest Child aware that this was causing the adults some distress, proceeded to completely cover Youngest Child’s chest with stones. Mother in law was becoming increasingly agitated and we both told him, what felt like, 46 billion times to stop. Sometimes I do understand why his Food Technology teacher asked me if he had special needs, he never listens and seems to get pleasure out of annoying everybody. He has always been a bit of a pain in the arse but he is currently stuck in that stage between still being a child and being almost an adult and so swings from silly, childish behaviour to stroppy teenage angst, which I have absolutely no patience for. So, before I decided to bury him on the beach and leave him there, I decided it might be best to pack up and go for a walk on the pier.

Since we had arrived Youngest Child had been desperate to find a crab like she had done the previous year and so it was that when we got on the pier there were a number of people with crab catching nets hanging from the railings and of course she wanted to have a go. I purchased a net, a crab bucket and a packet of raw bacon (which apparently, I needed for bait), tied her net to the balustrade and sat back on a bench while she happily spent the next hour winching the net up and throwing it back in the hopes of catching something.

It was during this activity that Eldest Child decided that he was hungry. Now anyone with a teenage boy knows that they eat often and if their culinary needs are not met, then all hell will break loose. He had spotted a pizza stall on the pier and so off he went to purchase one. He soon returned without a pizza and I could feel the anger emanating from him.

“Didn’t you get a pizza?” I tentatively asked him

It turns out that there was a wedding reception on the pier, for which the pizza stall was doing the catering and so it was not accepting orders from the general public at this time. That is not, of course, how it was relayed to me. I was met with a lot of eye rolling, puffing, stamping around and shouting about how hungry he was and how there is nowhere to get food. I suggested that he left the pier to have a look on the promenade. It seems that was not a sensible suggestion and this only succeeded in inflaming his anger, which produced more shouting and stropping about. Mother in law decided to take matters into her own hands and went off to have a word with the proprietor of the pizza stall to see if there was anything they could do for us.

In the meantime, Youngest Child, who was having a great time and had caught two crabs, was in the process of winching up her crab net when Eldest Child decided to keep his hunger pangs at bay by interfering in what she was doing. He stood so close to her, trying to muscle in on the winching up of the net, that when she lifted the net up over the rail it touched him on the arm. Well, this set him off in an absolute rage because the net had raw bacon in it and it had touched his arm and he shouted so loud the whole pier must have known how stupid his sister was. I calmly pointed out that she had done nothing wrong and he shouldn’t have been standing so close to her or interfering in what she was doing. This did nothing to assuage his temper and he stropped off the pier and up the promenade.

It is quite possible that the ruckus had reached the ears of the pizza stall, who felt that they needed to do their bit to calm the situation, because at that point Mother in Law returned and enquired where Eldest Child had gone because they had agreed to make him a pizza!

Youngest Child decided that she’d had enough of crabbing and after accepting that she couldn’t take the two crabs she had caught home to be her pets, she returned them to the sea and packed up her net.

We set off up the promenade and after a minute saw Eldest Child coming towards us, joining us without a word. We were all now feeling hungry and so we decided to go to the pub where, would you believe, we all pizzas, which were surprisingly good for a pub, followed by ice-creams from the ice-cream parlour. On the way back to the car Eldest Child quietly said to Mother in Law “Thank you for the food and ice-cream.”

Mother in Law pointed out that I had also paid for the food and the ice-cream but, of course, no thanks were forthcoming my way.

We got to the car and we had one final hurdle to overcome before we could set off for home, who was going to sit in the middle of the back seat?

On the way here Youngest Child had sat in the middle, because she was the smallest, along with Middle Child and myself (my fear of motorways prevents me from sitting in the front). Youngest Child was adamant she was sitting in the front on the way back, while both Eldest and Middle Child were adamant they weren’t sitting in the middle. This argument continued for a good five minutes, with even Mother in Law raising her voice to them. In the end, for a peaceful life I decided that I would sit in the middle. After several minutes of trying to manoeuvre my legs either side of the raised bit in the centre of the car and Youngest Child trying to move her seat forward to accommodate me, I finally snapped.

With a cry of “right that’s it, I’ve had enough now!” I dragged myself back out of the car and stormed around to the front, while Youngest Child, realising that The Beast that lives inside of Mummy may have just woken up, meekly climbed out of the front seat and went and got in the middle of the back seat.

“The three of you get in the car,” I shouted. “You,” pointing at Youngest Child, “are sitting in the middle and I don’t want to hear another word from any of you. I dare you to say one more word and I promise, you will be punished within an inch of your life!”

Even Mother in Law got into the car without saying a word but a few minutes after we had set off, she turned to me and said, “I think the whole of Herne Bay knew who was and wasn’t sitting in the middle seat.”

There was not a peep from the back seat for the first hour of the hour and a half journey and I silently promised myself that if we do come again, we will come by train and I will definitely not be bringing Eldest Child. FML!

Read about the rest of our summer, including how I got lost on a train by clicking the link;


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