Thursday, 26 July 2012

Finally summer!

I did not expect that two sunny days in a row over a weekend would make me this happy. It also meant that Number One Son could enjoy adventures locally in a relatively dry landscape. Despite of the loud protests from Archaeologist Husband who had to stay at home to see through a visit from a potential house-buyer I and Number One Son headed again to the Bradgate Park. This time we left the car to a car park nearest to the Old John folly. This choice was made after my friend suggested that there should be good outcrops for Number One Son to climb.

Archaeologist Husband protested especially against me calling some food for Number One Son and I as a ‘picnic’. This was mainly because I decided to take our picnic rucksack with us in order to carry the nibbles and my purse. But suggesting that we would enjoy ourselves while he was in a more mundane duty only one day after he was back was too much for him to bear. Which I feel bad about, but since this summer has been so dismal, one cannot let a sunny Sunday to pass by without some serious time outside. At least he did miss carrying around all the stuff needed. Naturally, I had to take Number One Son’s change bag and the potty. Number One Son is afraid of public toilets and placing a potty onto ground and let him to do his business ‘al fresco’ makes things tolerably to all parties. His stroller is needed to move all little bags needed around as much as cart Number One Son after his energy will run out.

It was a good thing that I did take the change bag since there was a smelly accident – despite Number One Son protesting the contrary. Luckily, there is a small woodland enclosure next to the Old John. Number One Son could keep most of his modesty intact while I got him back into a presentable state. It turned out that Number One Son also likes to climb trees – albeit of a stump and trunk variety. As my friend had suggested the slate outcrops were just right for Number One Son, He also enjoyed the Old John and the war memorial. Not as we would, as monuments in beautiful view spots but as constructions to climb and walk on. The ledge around the Old John seemed to be a hit with other small children as well.

After enjoying the sun and the views for a couple of hours and having an ice cream we headed back to find the grumpy Archaeologist Husband explaining that there had been a no show. Taking into account the weather the only right move was to take him to a pub beer garden to down a few well-deserved pints while exhausted Number One Son was snoozing in the stroller.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I am a wussy

It is the time of the Festival of Archaeology, which I had only half-acknowledged, since I am temporarily a ‘single parent’ and the rainy days are a rule not an exception. When asking if my friends wanted to go for a picnic on Sunday – the weather forecast did not predict rain – they said they were heading to the Bury Camp in Ratby. For some time I have really wanted to visit that site that is on private land; taking advantage of an organized walk would make sense. However, knowing Number One Son made me hesitate.

The soft option

I have seen other people taking part into site tours with energetic little boys and this usually turns out to mean that they are not really taking part into the site tour but running around in the fringes of the site. This walk would have involved leaving the car in the car park of a nearby pub and walking to the earthworks further afield. I have the Bury Camp marked on Google Map so I checked and found out that the walk would have been such that I should have taken a stroller. Number One Son probably had opposed to any longer stretch and could have wanted to be carried; he just begins to be too heavy. The soggy grassland would have been a nightmare with a stroller. I could have hoped that Alex would have run to the right direction following his friends but any wish from his part to stray from the tour may have resulted with a tantrum. In the end, all I wanted was a lovely picnic and running around without a need to go anywhere particular. The site tour would have been for me and I would have imposed archaeology on Number One Son on one of the rare nice days this summer.

The weather was not full-on sunny and it was not hot but it was not raining and there were sunny spells. Number One Son also had new trekking boots on that I had thought would be an ace thing to have on for some rock climbing on the Bradgate Park shale outcrops. Number One Son starts to be of an age for climbing, which I truly loved as a child myself. We marvelled the rapids of the waterfall, with a much stronger flow than normally, and ate our picnic in a civilized manner sitting on a park bench. There were deer and a large kite to entertain Number One Son. Not to mention the obligatory ice cream provided by the customarily sellers. And no, Number One Son did not want to share but to lick it all himself!

What I did find out was that my motherly sensibilities overran any wish to let Number One Son to climb freely. Any cliff looked twice the fall and unwillingly I ended up dragging him away from the edges. Not quite the dream of letting Number One Son to roam freely. Luckily, there were smaller outcrops where he could entertain himself. He turned out to be even a better climber than I expected. Those babygym sessions did their trick after all. The lovely day came to an end with a quick visit to the Bradgate House ruins and bothering a peacock, one of two summer residents there.

An outcrop I could stomach

This visit taught me that I was not as ‘hardcore’ as I thought. The Bury site visit would have coincided with the time of the day Number One Son often takes a small snooze. I may have gotten away with carting him around in the stroller. However, I could not be sure and the situation in reality would not have necessarily turned out to be funny for me or other participants. As with the rock cliffs, I turned out to be a wussy.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Home alone

Staying behind when Archaeologist Husband travels to fulfil his salaried contracts in Turkey would go much smoother if he had not ended up having ‘adventures’ at the beginning of both stints. The first time around his luggage – containing his laptop and camera – went haywire for days resulting with him not having any change and us being worried about a possible loss of equipment. There are enough outgoings in the near future without any that kind of unexpected expenses. The reason for suspecting that the luggage had truly disappeared – being nicked – was that he had an internal flight to the south-east. There was an indication to the contrary, however, since a group of passengers had lost their luggage from the same flight. This suggested that one cart full of suitcases had got lost somewhere, perhaps in Istanbul in transit. Luckily, it turned out that the suitcase had never left Gatwick and after a week of stinking Archaeologist Husband got his clothes back.

This second time around the situation seemed much scarier. I knew that Archaeologist Husband had changed planes at Istanbul and had landed safely. Then he did not meet the rest of the team and decided to take bus to the site that was supposed to be nearby. I did not suspect anything unusual although I was wondering why he left the airport so quickly without waiting a phone call. Thenl I got a mysterious phone call that turned out to be his host from the excavations. He was checking if he had the right mobile phone number since he had been unable to reach Archaeologist Husband. After this call my imagination got better of me and I could imagine a clueless Englishman with a sunhat and Galaxy Notebook being fleeced in the dark evening countryside. I could not reach him either but luckily my text message got answered pretty soon. Archaeologist Husband was safe but continued zigzagging the countryside for some hours after this incident. I hope this taught him waiting for just a little b it longer the next time.

A very British summer

In the meantime I was wondering if the village is to be cut off one day or another. The local brook had burst from its stream and the sports field of the local elementary school was under water together with many of the surrounding flood plains. The current weather patterns are not necessarily totally untypical but their reason is. It is sunny and unusually hot in the Mediterranean whereas the central and northern Europe is chilly and wet due to the horizontal position of the Jet Stream in the atmosphere. Thus, the British summer is a washout. Luckily I had my few sunny days in Rome...

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Does he miss us?

Number One Son seems to have hit another phase of personal development. The previous occasions we have been away, he has been visibly missing the one not present and calling him/her. When Archaeologist Husband was recently away for two weeks, there were signs our son was settling to the occasional periods with just one parent. His potty behaviour was improving all the time and there were no sudden reverse developments. When I and Archaeologist Husband were skyping each other, Number One Son was more interested in admiring his own image visible on the web cam window than any sight of his father or the sound of his voice. Then he just ran away to play with his cars or watch a cartoon.

Number One Son clearly noticed that there was an absence in the master bedroom when he woke up in the morning and was let through the baby gate. He did point to this fact in the first two mornings or so but there was no great burst of emotion or any sign of tears. There was just a muted recognition from his part that Daddy is away. He stayed in good spirits throughout but this may have been helped by the fact that the first day Archaeologist Husband was away was one of those days with a birthday party. Also, getting a pair of remote-controllable Cars2 racing cars with his favourite McQueen and his nemesis Bernoulli for a Fathers’ Day present distracted him as well. The weather was marginally better on that particular weekend so we were able to have a nice stroll down the New Walk and in the Lanes and managed to arrange a trip to the sunny Abbey Park while waiting for the car to be fixed. Then there was the Finnish midsummer and Number One Cousin’s birthday party with yummy non-dairy vanilla ice cream to ease the possible pain.

The next period of absence will probably be harder since first I will be gone for four days just before posting this and then Archaeologist Husband will fly away for a fortnight. This period seems to be devoid of parties or national celebrations. However, there may be a sauna evening if our head mistress’s sauna will be installed in time before they fly to Finland for summer holidays.

Just a short recap after I came back. Did he miss me? He had been very huggy the first day I was away and wanted a cuddle when I picked him up from the nursery after my flight had landed. He also wanted to have more physical contact and hugs in the evening. He also cherished a small memento I brought (a fridge magnet in the shape of a bright red Vespa). After that, it was all back to normal. So, yes, the he misses us but then he seems to survive since he knows we will come back. I just hope he does not get too attached to getting a small present every time...