Tuesday 7th April
It’s just me and the boy. We are in York (the Homeland) for the week and have delivered Daisy and grandma onto the 10.34 to Edinburgh for their two-night away jaunt. Daisy’s only reason for wanting to go to Edinburgh is that it’s in ANOTHER COUNTRY; one her father has never been to. It has become a race: who will get there first – father or daughter.
As soon as Daisy crosses the border she wants to phone Tom to give him her triumphant news. Grandma, as ever, has the Ordnance Survey out so can just about pin-point when they cross onto Scottish soil.
As for Ollie and I, we are heading down to Rowntree Park where I spent many of my formative years. Ollie comes to a standstill on his scooter by the pond; geese are blocking his way.
“There are swans, mum!” he says anxiously. He has a great fear of swans after I foolishly quoted Adrian Mole to him once: ‘A swan can break a man’s arm, you know.’ Since then he’s been understandably petrified.
“They’re geese, not swans, come on.” I say, pushing him on, but he has his foot on the brake refusing to budge. We’re supposed to be meeting people at the playground and of course we’re running late.
“Look they’re getting cross now! Just keep moving and don’t stop!”
In hindsight this is not something you say to a child with a big-bird phobia. He lets out a scream and whizzes past the geese. He’s so frightened that he scoots non-stop to the playground making us not quite so late.
At the playground, the children we are meeting have already formed a pack. This is the problem with not arriving on time. Ollie goes off on his own for a bit, then trails around behind the boys wanting to be part of the crew. I keep an eye on him.
They are creating a den in some bushes up on a bank. Suddenly Ollie looks like he’s in the thick of it so I relax and get on with the main reason for being here: catching up with old friends.
We’re only just scratching the surface, chat-wise, when one of the other boys comes to report that Ollie has done something in the den that should only be done in a toilet. I’m horrified. Wild-weeing is one thing, but this? It cannot be true. I hurry up to the den. All the other boys are standing outside awaiting my arrival.
I go inside and have a look. Unfortunately the report is correct and I have to remove the offending article with wet wipes in case anyone stands in it. I give Ollie a dressing down but it’s difficult to discipline in front of an audience.
“Are you cross with him because he didn’t wipe his bottom?”
“Will he have to go home now?”
I have to take questions from a group of boys, arms folded, who want to know the exact ins and outs of the offence.
Ollie appears to think the telling off is worth it though because the misdemeanour has earned him serious kudos amongst the gang: I’m only just back at the picnic table, muttering to myself, when one of the other boys comes racing over to say he wants Ollie to come round to his house NOW.
By this point the adults are all in desperate need of a cup of tea, and the boys are so dirty from playing in the soil that they look like they’ve spent a day down the pit. Leaving seems like a good idea to everyone.
After a clean up with wet wipes.
On the way home, Polly, my friend, asks if I have any good ideas for using up a surplus of Easter eggs. She’s seen one where you melt down the chocolate and make ‘baskets’ out of it which you can then fill with healthier things like fruit.
Back at hers, we’re only halfway through the first cup of tea when a pillow fight gets out of hand and the boys need something to calm them down. We set about experimenting with the chocolate baskets idea and it works surprisingly quickly and easily. Afterwards the boys have something to eat which gives them the energy to carry on with the next round of fighting games.
- chocolate, any you want to use up: Easter eggs, chocolate santas etc, in a variety of white, milk and dark
- silicone muffin cases
- paint or pastry brushes
- fruit, chopped up (raspberries, pineapple, kiwi, grapes, satsumas)
- Greek yogurt
Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl. Use a different bowl for each type of chocolate: milk, dark, white.
Melt the chocolate, either in the microwave or in a bain-marie.
Give each child a silicone muffin case and a paint brush. Get them to paint the inside of the case thickly in one type of the melted chocolate.
Place the silicone cases in the freezer for five minutes.
When the chocolate has solidified, paint on another layer of chocolate, preferably of a different type.
Pop back in the freezer for another five minutes.
Take them out and carefully peel back the silicone case.
Now fill the chocolate case half full with Greek yogurt and top with fruit. Drizzle with any remaining melted chocolate.
Either eat immediately or pop in the fridge for later.