Well, lots has happened in the last week or so, mainly surrounding Alice.
Last Thursday, my mum arrived. She flew down to us for the first time. Flying
promised to be so much easier than getting the train, but in the end her flight
was delayed by two hours (thanks, flybe!) so it kind of evened itself out. My
mother did have the forethought to contact us when she know the plane was an
hour and a half late, but then for some reason turned her phone off. I tried to
contact her to tell her, "Call us as you're about to board", but the message
didn't get through. Consequently Alice and I drove to Southampton to pick her
up, and we still had an hour to sit around waiting. The best laid plans...
Still, we hit the weekend and headed over to Southampton. We had a look in
West Quay to a dress for Alice - we've been invited to a wedding in a few weeks'
time - and found a bargain in the sale in Next. Then, to the main purpose of the
visit - Alice's birthday. Basically, she's told us for some time that she'd like
to go back to the "big toy shop we went to last year", Toys'R'Us in Southampton.
So, we went... This time, however, I was a little more constrained than last
year - we'd already spent about £150 on a party this year. So, I set the limit
at £25 and let her explore. Fortunately, it took her about ten minutes before
settling on the toys she wanted (both dolls, surely destined to be broken by the
As a special treat, and a big surprise, we went to the Leisure World complex
in Southampton, ostensibly for an ice cream. But once we were there I told Alice
we were going to go into the cinema part to see Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory. Very happy - only that same morning she'd watched the original Willy
Wonka film on the tv. I have to say, an excellent film. True to the story, but
at the same time with some very Burton-esque parts. Five stars from me, and
afterwards Alice just kept on saying Thank You all evening.
Even more excitement on Sunday. In the morning I attempted to cut back the
magnolia tree in the garden, and cut back the lower two-thirds only to realise
that the top of the tree was very much beyond my reach. Still, I did what I
could. Tree looks very funny now, though. Looks like its got a Mohecan! So, have
ordered some telescopic loppers (at what seems a great expense), which will
hopefully arrive in time for me to finish the job next weekend.
Sunday afternoon, we went over to Kidzone, where we'd booked Alice's birthday
party. Excellent fun. About fifteen kids there, mostly from Alice's class but
also from a couple of other clubs that she goes to. I got heavily involved with
things, having as much fun with the kids as possible. I'd never have believed
that angelic six-year-old girls could be so violent. When I went outside they
chased me and tried to pull my socks off. Then, they tried to pull my trousers
down. Several of them took every opportunity to jump on me whenever possible,
and one even took to pinching my bum!
It was quite funny, though, because you could see how some of them would
start by attacking me and end up by the end of the party defending me against
the others. I'm sure a psychologist could explain it!
All the kids appeared to have fun, although a couple of them didn't arrive
until the party was more than half over, as the kids were finishing their meals.
Even then, the elder of them arrived in tears. Fortunately the staf didn't give
us any trouble about preparing extra meals for them, and they soon got into the
swing of things.
Overall impression - great fun, one of the perks of being a Dad. Of the place
- the play area was excellent, but the food was very sparse. (I suppose you
could defend them by saying that the food was mainly just so they could have a
little break during the play.) Jacqueline's mate Kerry brought her
three-year-old daughter to the party, also her eight-month-old baby. She went
into the play area with the baby, and consequently we got charges for the baby,
which I thought was very cheap. I mean, at eight months old a baby can hardly be
said to be using the equipment. Would we do it again? Maybe.
Sent everyone home with Scooby Doo lucky bags, which seemed to go down very
Sunday evening - knackered! The only grief was from Alice, who got a strop on
because we wouldn't allow her to open all her presents until her birthday. We
allowed her to open one (of the Toys'R'Us presents) on Saturday, and one
following the party on Sunday, and said that the rest had to wait. Seems
eminently reasonable to me...
So, last night Alice went to bed very excited. We finished the Famous Five
book we'd been reading, and I left her to dream about finally being six!
This morning, just before I left for work, Jacqueline and I went into her
bedroom and woke her up by singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Of course, she was
awake like a shot, and realised that the time had come. And that's when I
This evening, have suggested a meal out. Alice likes our local Indian, but
I'll need to check with Jacqueline whether they have anything on their menu that
would suit my mum (who claims to be allergic to absolutely everything, and would
never touch Indian food in any case because it is "spicy").
On the subject of my mum, am not sick of her just yet, but it has only been
five days. Let's see what things are like next week!
Car alarm went off a couple of times yesterday evening. But of a pain, could
not find any rational explanation.