Logistics and fireworks

It was grandson’s tenth birthday. How better to celebrate it than with a family party culminating with fireworks on the beach?

He sent out his party invitations well in advance, using his newly acquired PowerPoint skills. Twelve people were able to come. How do you get twelve people in four cars to our little seaside getaway? Sounds easy. But it wasn’t.

Car one set off when after school clubs had finished with granny, grandson and granddaughter. We were starving by the time we were nearly there and stopped off at MacDonalds for something to eat before arriving at out little seaside getaway in the dark. We were surprised to see there was hardly anyone in the car park, but half term was really over, and everyone had gone home. Four had arrived safely.

Car two had mummy and middle grandson in. They went to grandad’s and were surprised to see granny’s friend Darren and his motor bike were visiting grandad and gramca. Darren and grandad were talking about a new foodbank. You can read about it here. here

Mummy dropped middle grandson off to spend the night with grandad and gramca. They would take him to a school friend’s party and bring him to his brother’s party the next day, in car four. Mummy continued to our little seaside getaway and arrived at bedtime. Then there were five.

Car three, driven by daddy, collected nanny, uncle and cousin the following day. After a slap up breakfast, they set off for the party. About fifteen miles from their destination, they heard a Big Bang. They stopped the car and got out. The exhaust had well and truly blown. They limped to join the rest of us. Now there were nine.

The breakdown people were called. The best they could offer was a tow back to nanny’s which took daddy home, the following day. (Grandad and gramca left in car four after the fireworks. Granny took uncle, nanny and cousin home in car one, after the party; while mummy took the remaining children home in car two the next day.)

We had lunch. It was cold and wet outside, so we huddled inside and played games while we waited for car four to join us. Just before tea, it stopped raining and we were joined by grandad, gramca and middle grandson. Now we were twelve and the party could really begin.

Grandson opened his presents and we had tea. Our new dining room meant that there was plenty of room for everyone.

By now it was dark and we set out for the fireworks, organised by the local sea scouts with help from local volunteers. The first thing we noticed that it was nothing like the big displays we were used to in London. They had sold 400 tickets, we were told, and maybe less than 1,000 people on a beach is not exactly crowded. We queued up for hot drinks and hot dogs,included in the price of the tickets. It didn’t take long to get to the front of the queue. Everyone gathered round the blazing bonfire.

It was time. Time for the bangs, whizzes, flashes, screams and soaring lights we had been eagerly anticipating all day. They didn’t disappoint. We oohed and aahed with the best of them. The bangs reverberated off the cliffs as only fireworks can.

And then it was all over. People started to make for home. The volunteers began to clear up and put the rubbish on the fire – including a big box that whooshed, and banged and whizzed and fizzed in all directions! A fitting end to a long anticipated evening. Thanks to the 12th Deal & Kingsdown Sea Scouts for a wonderful display.

Living the dream #2

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Remember the opening scene of Swallows and Amazons?

Roger, aged seven, and no longer the youngest of the family, ran in zig zags, to and fro, across the steep field that sloped from the lake to Holly Howe, the farm where they were staying for part of the summer holidays. He ran until he nearly reached the hedge by the footpath, then turned and ran until he nearly reached the hedge on the other side of the field. Then he turned and crossed the field again. Each crossing of the field brought him nearer to the farm.”

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It was to be the start of an unsupervised adventure, for Father said: “BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN”.

Isn’t that what every parent wants to give their child? The freedom to run and play with the minimum of supervision. Many adults have fond memories of “we went out after breakfast and didn’t come home until we were hungry”. They admit they weren’t always perfectly behaved and even got into some scrapes; but they had something that our children don’t get easily today – freedom to play safely and unsupervised.

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That’s what the holiday park where our little seaside getaway is gives the children who go there. Younger children can “run wild”, form gangs and make dens, while older children can experience life in the village and explore the beach and its environs. If they choose to, they too can live the dream.

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