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.

The Unbirthday

Last weekend was a family celebration for grandson’s birthday. This weekend, it was his friends’ turn to join in the fun. Three friends, with their siblings and parents came to our little seaside getaway for the day.

Granny was busy doing DIY stuff and came back from the local DIY store to find fourteen people sitting on the grass outside the chalet eating lunch. Everyone had brought a picnic lunch and were tucking in. Fortunately daughter had saved some food.

Presents were opened, admired and played with. The lads played football. A ball got stuck in a tree. They tried to dislodge it with a second ball, which got stuck. Sticks were waved at the tree, to no avail. Then the dads put their heads together. One of the dads gave the other a bunk up and he climbed into the tree and rescued the balls. Who’s a hero, then?

Then, in an unusual turn of events, the “party bags” were produced. In the middle of a party?!

“Kneel down”, said daughter to grandson. She tapped him on the shoulders “Arise Sir (name)”, and handed him a sword filled with jelly beans. She went round all the children in turn. Soon jelly bean eating children had formed themselves into a raggle taggle army and were running round the park looking to perform acts of daring do. Meanwhile the adults basked in the sun, listening to the unfolding events on one of the walkie talkies that had been left behind.

The conquering heroes returned and wanted to go swimming. The pool was empty and, for most of the time, we had it all to ourselves. Kids showed off their swimming prowess, practiced diving with spectacular results, and a game of ball ensued.

No visit to the seaside would be complete without a trip to the beach, so off they all went. Silence, and granny resumed her DIY. They returned bearing the treasures they had found. Stones and seaweed, mainly. Some of the kids were able to smuggle their treasures home. Others had to leave them on the veranda until next time.

Everyone tucked into burgers and then it was time for the biggest birthday cake you had ever seen – with no candles! So grandson struck and blew out a match instead. The adults grabbed him and he was duly bumped. He was lifted high in the air, “one, two , three, four, five, six, seven, one for luck!”, much to the bemusement of some of the kids, who had never seen such a thing before.

One last swing on the swings, and it was time to go home. See you at school on Monday.

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Happy birthday grandson

The children were in bed. We put up bunting and banners, blew up balloons, wrapped parcels and went to bed ourselves.

I was woken at 5.15 am by oldest grandson knocking on the wall. The whole chalet could hear! As the nearest adult, I took it upon myself to go and tell him off and create the first chalet rule: no knocking on the walls.

Later, Nanny Sally and I were woken by kisses from the children, and the birthday celebrations began. Middle grandson opened his presents, light sabres, a wii game, pogo stick, books and what he thought was football pyjamas.

Actually it was Grandad Martin’s favourite football team’s strip, that you could actually put on and play football in. Not surprising that grandson thought they were pyjamas. Grandad gives pyjamas to all his grandkids at Christmas. Needless to say, grandson put the strip on and didn’t take it off for the rest of the day! Son in law is definitely outnumbered, everyone else in the family appears to support Grandad’s team!

The kids played in the park; went running; played swingball; went on adventures with the new walkie talkies; went swimming and played an endless game of football: while the adults chilled, knitted or read.

Birthday cake was eaten and it was time to go home. I took son and his children back to the station. They had cycled and walked the two and a half miles from the station. When you are four and six, that’s no mean feat. They showed me the way they came, and I learnt a new short cut.

We loaded up a barrow and took everything back to the cars in the car park. We said our farewells and left. We’ll be back next week.