Had the parents down at the weekend. All’s quiet on the South Western Front again, but shell-shock will stay with us for a day or two.
Rob thinks that they do not understand the country life and are typical townies. The Ps think we live like rural oiks in the Middle Ages. I try to keep the peace.
Mum frets over us and always packs the Volvo with Arctic rations to boost us poor country peasants who clearly suffer from everything from rickets to rye bread deficiency. Dad packs his Times and a biro, and is only happy once he has done the cryptic crossword – which doesn’t happen very often, so ‘grumpy’ best describes him most of the time.
We did manage to take the kids on a drive on Saturday. We went via Poundbury, Prince Charles’s dream of what he fondly imagines real country towns should look like, but what Dad calls ‘tart’s parlour finesse’ – no, I don’t know either. Then on to the beach at Chesil (no dead guillimots fortunately) which was fabulously sunny, windblown and pretty parky.
The Colonel and Helga were not adequately dressed and got pretty chilly whilst the kids charged up and down the shingle losing layers. Dad was caustic, which I think is the politest way of describing his language, and Mum was uncomplimentary in her finest German. At least the kids are learning some fine new words for their literacy lessons.
Whenever Mum and Dad come, we play the heating game, and after our trip to the coast it was the full, no-holds-barred version. The Ps believe we try to cool them down deliberately, and consequently make barbed comments about how they thought they had suffered enough cold in their lives when they lived in BAOR when dad was in the Army and it was often minus Heaven-knows-what. Rob mumbles about how he cannot sleep in the tropical temperatures deemed necessary to sustain life in deepest Dorset.
As they left this morning Mum was very happy in the knowledge they would be stopping at her favourite Cotwold Farm Shop and Dad emerged from Mr Grumpy mode to give me a fond hug goodbye: the temperate climes of Leicestershire beckoned.