Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Coming to a canal near you

I miss having my parents nearby.

It's not that they were nearby when we lived in London, but then none of my friends had family nearby so we all just mucked in together. Here, everyone seems to have relatives down the road, including ourselves.

But they're not my parents.

That's why the last two weeks - when Mum and Dad chugged up North on their narrow boat and moored in various beauty spots along the Leeds-Liverpool canal - have been such bliss.

We've popped in for morning coffee or tea and cake after school. We've had day trips through tunnels and locks and swing bridges. We've explored the cotton wharfs in Burnley and the tea rooms at Gargrave. Rosa's stayed the night, on best behaviour, and Joe's had regularly doses of terrorising the dog and playing chess on Mum's iPad.

We've waved them off now, on their long trip back South. Of course, it's infinitely quicker by car, even with the caravan in tow, but it's not got the same novelty value. I think everyone should have grandparents nearby on a narrow boat.

Euros, please

What to do on a dry afternoon in half-term before a cheeky long weekend in France? Walk into the village to collect some holiday reading and some Euros, of course.

The fifteen-minute amble takes more like half an hour when there are sheep pooing (which still fascinates the kids), bunnies hopping out of the way and 4x4s roaring past.

Only 10 minutes before the library shuts and we're stopped by Rosa's Rainbows leader. She wants to show us her newly-hatched chicks. A fluffy cuddle later and we just manage to get our books out. (The library's only open two afternoons a week but within that time there's a half hour tea break, naturally...)

Then we cross the road to collect our Euros. Hooray for village post offices that have avoided the cull. Loaded with blue notes, we trek back up the lane and through the fields. Sheep still pooing, cattle grids always a good challenge, stiles and gates our alternative climbing frames and 'St Tropez tomorrow, darling' the least likely thing in the world.