Thursday, 30 August 2007

Kite day

Thursday can find me on my hands and knees, conducting what appears to be a finger tip search in a field. Great. I wouldn't mind but I get pelted in the head by a home-made kite while I'm doing it.

This is the Fly Your Kite day which rounds off the summer events schedule from the parks department. It's both a success and a disaster. It's a success because Tiger's good at flying kites, so she can't claim to be rubbish at everything before breaking out into a frustrated storm of self-hatred. In fact, Tiger's extraordinarily good, and while Shark and Squirrel are crashing about, unable to get up their kites more than ten millimetres off the ground, Tiger's going round giving everyone lessons in how to do it.

Tiger is very responsive to the kite. This is what I can see. She watches the movements of the kite as the wind blows and buffets it about and she moves her hands in time, like she's dancing her fingers with the wind. Shark, on the other hand, doesn't bother looking at the kite at all. She runs at a clap down the hill with the kite bouncing along the ground behind her then turns round and wails at it when it catches up with her. It's been looking like a dead thing on a string for the race down the hill and now it's got to be dragged all the way up to start again. I almost feel sorry for it.

Squirrel, meanwhile, is giving up quick at this game and has gone off to make a mini kite at the toddler craft desk with two straws and a square of tissue paper. She's amusing herself with that and intermitently coming out with her home-made kite to have another go. I reckon she's wondering if her kite's seen the error of its ways yet and whether it's prepared to leap into the air yet on her command. Nope. Tiger comes along anyhow and gets the thing up into the air with one hand. She's already holding her own kite safe in a wind stream some fifty meters above her head.

The disaster of the day is, of course, all of Grit's own making. I've lost my glasses. Stuffing them down my front I thought would be a good idea while I tried to throw Squirrel's kite in the air and watch it drift forlornly back to ground. I was so inept at it my specs probably couldn't bear to watch anymore and decided death by trampling was the better option.

And this, I surmise, after the first fifteen minutes of searching, is probably what will happen. The grass is long and a vigorous cut some weeks back has left large clumps of brown straw piled up over the field. If my glasses have fallen into the longer grass or under the brown clumpy lumps, then it's only when I stand on them and hear the snap and crack of the lenses that I'll find them.

I have to say though that I will probably be spared this moment. Someone else will get to savour that, because there are upwards of fifty people on the field and no-one, except me, is actually looking at the grass or where their feet are going. Everyone's looking at home-made kites bufooning about on the air or careering about at head height.

The first kite to hit me in the head does so when I'm not looking up so can't take avoiding action. The second kite that hits me in the face is especially irritating because I am just that moment standing up and pontificating to Squirrel about how she should look around her and not help look for my glasses, because if she doesn't keep her eyes about her she may well get hit in the face with a home-made kite. With perfect timing, a home-made kite hits me in the face.

After this I conclude it's probably best if I start recruiting everyone on the field to look for my specs instead of standing on them and being hit by kites, so I start looking mournful and wailing 'help!' in what I hope will be a damsel in distress sort of voice. On my looking team I get one kid who's fallen out with his brother and a grandad who tells me he's blind in one eye.

Well, after another 30 minutes, I do find them. Scratched but unbroken, and I find them not by standing on them. So whatever happens now I will be mighty pleased. Because I have to drive over to the airport tonight in the dark and pick up Amanda from Nice who's arriving to be Grit and Dig's third au pair of the year. Without these specs I only have sunglasses and wearing those late at night is going to mark me out as someone highly suspicious or peculiar to both security staff and Amanada from Nice.

So we can all heave a big sigh of relief. Until we actually see Amanda from Nice that is. Perhaps Amanda from Nice should be wearing the sunglasses. Suffice to say, Grit's saying bonjour at ten o'clock at night covered in grass stains and scratched glasses accompanied by three screaming kids while mentally I'm giving Amanda from Nice a new name thanks to her extraordinary resemblance. Elizabeth Hurley.


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