At 12 noon I come up with a genius idea. I'll text Syd's best friends mother and ask if he's free on the afternoon. This way he can come to the south park with us and Syd might not whinge all day. So I text:
Me: Is Nathan free this afternoon. Its very likely I will kill Syd if I can't find something to keep him occupied
Ellen: YES (can almost taste her desperation), how soon can you pick him up.
So 45 minutes later we turn up to pick Nathan up. I'm almost expecting him to be sat on the kerb waiting for us (his mother seems as demented as us) however she brings him out, throws him in the car, runs back in the house and barricades herself in.
Phil pulls away and we're instantly intrigued by their conversation. I'll try to re-enact it for you.
Nathan: I know that Theo isn't lying. He is going to Rhys's house on Wednesday. That's the bit I believe
Syd: Oh, before you start, you don't need to tell my mam and dad about the 'incident' with Luke, I've already told them.
THE 'INCIDENT' WITH LUKE
Luke apparently pushed Izzie over, then he pushed her over again. She fell on the floor and got back up and it annoyed Luke. That was at playtime. When they went back into class Luke grabbed Izzie and said to her 'I'LL SEE YOU IN HELL' The teacher overheard Luke and as a result Luke is now in detention for a week. (I can tell Syd and Nathan are a little bit impressed by Luke's Maverick behaviour)
So back to the conversation (where Nathan believes that Theo is going to Rhys's)
Syd: I believe that too.
Nathan: What i don't believe is what Rhys has told Theo
Syd: And what is that?
Nathan: Rhys has told Theo that he has got to a new level on Grand Theft Auto.
Syd: *whispering* I'm not meant to play that but I sometimes play Grand Theft Auto 'I V'.
Nathan: Rhys said he is at the level where they get to have 'S.E.X'
Nathan: Yes with nudity
Syd: Oh, that means no clothes.....at all
At that point we stop the conversation and try to get them interested in looking for blue cars. By the time we arrive at the park the boys are quiet and I've counted 27 blue cars.
We get out of the car and get into the park The dog goes mental, the boys go mental, me and Phil wonder if we might be mental, yet still we persevere...
Phil starts to play football with the boys! At this point I have two concerns
1) Phil is nearly 49. Is running around a field like a maniac not asking for trouble? I am only 36!Am I really ready for life with a Stannah stairlift (who am I kidding I've wanted one for years) and a husband who is the subject of an 'appeal' (Help send Phil to Texas to have his spine replaced with a titanium rod)
2) Phil is in goal. The two seven year olds are trying to score past him. Suddenly Phil turns into a Paul Robinson/David Seaman hybrid seeing off any ball they try to put past him. The boys are almost in tears. I pull him to one side and tell him to let a few through! Fixing me with a steely glare he tells me 'lifes not like that' and continues to destroy their confidence!
Once I've dragged Phil off the field (I am Spartacus) and repaired the boys confidence (he's just an old man with a point to prove) we head off towards the lake to feed the ducks.
WHY THE FEEDING OF THE DUCKS ISN'T SUCCESSFUL
As we approach the lake it becomes apparent that Phil is hanging back and panicking slightly. Perhaps his recent athletics have caused his joints to crumble so he can no longer walk properly however I notice he seems to be frisking himself. I ask him for the bread and he confesses that its still on the kitchen table.
By this point Syd and Nathan are at the lake and surrounded by what seems like hundreds of avid duck feeders. When I look around I'm actually grateful that Phil has forgotten my mouldy white sliced. You can tell we're in the posh end of town from what people are feeding the ducks.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE FEEDING THE DUCKS
- Olive flatbread
- Sundried tomato ciabatta
- mozzarella and pesto foccacia
- vanilla brioche
- petite pain de chocolate
'Look at the swans' I exclaim 'who do you think owns them, she's very important and we do exactly what she says'
'You', says Syd sarcastically....I pick up a goose by the leg and knock him out with it.
OK, I lied about the goose.....
I try again.
'Who rules our country'
Answers range from:
- Barack Obama
- Lord Sugar
- A german shepherd
- That Swan
Back at home, Syd and Nathan harass the dog, play on the xbox and eat their tea. It's almost time for Nathan to go home so I suggest that before he does we light the fire lantern I've had for a while. Both boys are completely delighted with this idea....
What happens next is far from delightful. We all stand in the garden. The boys are past themselves with excitement. Phil holds the top of the lantern while I light the tiny flammable square. We all taken our places round the lantern expecting it to fill with air, as all the other lanterns we've had have done. We wait, and nothing happens. The boys hold on, waiting for it to take off, until Nathan points out the part of the fire lantern in front of him is actually on fire!
WHAT WE DO NEXT!
- Send Syd and Nathan to the back of the garden
- Worry about how flammable the husbands clothes are
- Realise they are quite flammable when his sleeve catches alight
- Worry when husband lets go of punctured fire lantern and it sets the fence alight
- Be grateful that Syd and Nathan have learned about the great fire of London and know how to set up a line, to keep bowls of water moving along
- Put out Phil/fence/fire lantern
- Beg Nathan not to tell his mother how close to becoming a human fireball he actually came
- Vow to check to Nylon content of everything we wear from now on
- Realise that things from the pound shop cost a pound for a reason
- Be grateful we stopped at two kids having almost burnt Syd's best friend alive
We've a foster carers application that needs filling in....