The one about free gift days

9 Apr

I don’t know why they enforced the hosepipe ban from last Thursday.  It is of course the perennial Easter Monday tradition: we’ve all got the day off and outdoor egg hunts are planned, so it tips it down.  If they’d just waited til today was over we would probably have got an additional week of domestic irrigation out of it.  I am, incidentally, being thinkingly frivolous about this point.  We need the rain around here, urgently, and I applaud its arrival.

It’s just that, coming today, it necessitated a rapid change of plan to an alternative activity that doesn’t incorporate everyone-on-holiday softplay horror or wandering round shopping malls without any money to spend.  Bank Holidays are sacred for me, they’re different to annual leave, they’re free days which are delivered as little gifts in return for late nights and early mornings and missed bedtimes and concerts and being cross when they’re doing homework because you’ve had a knackering day.  In short, they’re compulsory family time.

This means that we want to do something special, but what’s special in the pouring rain.  Actually today we had a wicked day.  We decamped with old friends to Chislehurst Caves, a mini-adventure on our doorstep – why we hadn’t been before, who knows?  – and made the most of the rain (along with about 200 other Bank Holiday wet weather distraction seekers, but no bothers) by spending almost an hour underground.

They’ve calmed the commentary down somewhat since I went as an early teen – no more searching the crowd at the alleged sacrificial altar for fair-haired young boys for Druid sacrifice, an action that put the fear of the ancients into my little brother, but which therefore passed L2 (who fits the bill, believe me) by – but this is probably a good thing, I accept that.  We did stand in the dark – pitch, saying you can’t see your hand in front of your eye is an understatement here – to listen to the 25 second echo from a mallet strike on metal, which L1 said was her second favourite thing of the whole weekend; and we peeked into the past of this area, where we have put down proper roots.   Top free gift day; back to reality, tomorrow.

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