Here we are, Wednesday already: day three of boot camp. This is the new name for my stay in the UK to look after the grandchildren while their mother swans off on holiday.
I haven’t quite decided whose boot camp this is. Am I being converted to the occasionally uncouth ways of the grandchildren? Or are they being trained to convert to my way of doing things? On the whole I favour the latter. I have no intention of shouting when I want my own way and snarling at anyone who upsets me, or rather by whom I choose to be upset.
OK, I exaggerate but there has been a certain amount of both of those activities. I am also insisting on electronic games and bedroom lights being switched off when I say it’s time to go to sleep. This has led to some moaning and groaning but I can live with that.
Then there’s breakfast, which I insist has to be eaten. I will be flexible to a certain extent about what is eaten but I have to draw the line at one person (the smallest grandchild) wanting to eat ALL the pancakes without sharing with anyone else.
In the periods between temper tantrums of one kind and another we had had some good times and some interesting chats about this and that.
We have had expeditions to the park, with some complaining about walking there but it’s amazing how children can adapt to such things.
Yesterday we took a longer trip; we went to Chester Zoo. We managed to see most of the animals, although we somehow missed both zebras and meerkats. On the whole, I think the elephants are the most satisfying. There is something very appealing about baby elephants after all.
And the massed ranks of flamingos seen from a distance are very impressive, even if they do look rather prawns until you focus on them properly.
The zoo is working hard to be very ecological with quite excellent wild flower enclosures to encourage insects. However, in all the picnic areas there really were rather too many wasps, causing panic among the younger grandchildren.
In one section of the zoo they had mounted a strange exhibition of huge animatronic insects, one or two of which sprayed passers-by with water.
We managed the day with only one outburst of bad temper, although that did have me seriously contemplating throwing the whinger (“I’m bored and I want to go home!”), the particular princess (“He’s standing too close to me!”) and the bossy-boots (“I have the map so I can decide which way we go!”) to the lions. But I restrained and we all calmed down and managed to end the visits calmly with the requisite to the zoo shop and the equally requisite refusal on my part to buy balloons in the shape of monkeys or exorbitantly-priced soft toys.
Then home to tea and bed.
No time to read the papers, write blogs or anything else. Watch this space.