Friday, July 24, 2009


What does a visit from very small children and the Nazi party have in common?

I realize that most parents with historical flair will be able to give a whole thesis devoted to this comparison (and probably the grandparents will be able to supply footnotes, appendixes and a bibliography) but I am thinking in more restricted terms.

Lebensraum is just an historical concept until you have seen what happens when two youngsters arrive. Suddenly you are invaded by what seems to be a whole army of kids who arrive shouting and screaming. They are followed by the baggage animals (parents and immediate relatives) who look haggard and are weighed down by the supplies that one child of one and another of four need to survive a visit all of 30km away from their home base.

Within minutes the portable DVD player is put on charge for the journey home. Base camp is established on the plastic outdoor table which is immediately covered with immediate supplies like nappies and wet wipes. Clear plastic sacks of various essential toys are deposited within easy reach. There is one load of toys for the beach and another for the home and another all purpose sack for any other conceivable situation.

A small house is established in seconds using the technology of those throw-them-in-the-air tents which are fully constructed by the time they hit the ground. A plastic basketball net is built. Three balls appear covered with cartoon characters. And inflatable beach ball starts rolling in the breeze and a forlorn balloon bumps along the gravel.

Then there are the clothes. Each young child now appears to travel with a wardrobe that even Paris Hilton would consider excessive. Shoes sprout up everywhere – and where there are shoes there are tiny t-shirts and other more horrific parts of a child’s wear.

Food does not follow the plate, implement, mouth path for young children just as the sit-in-one-place to eat your food does not seem popular with the under fives. In a way which would do credit to certain brands of butter, food is spread liberally in places where it is unlikely to be digested by a human over the age of four.

And the noise! Children communicate in screams that would not be out of place is some opera houses – and it is a continuing wonder to me that windows in our area stay intact when they are bombarded with high decibel high frequencies.

But then they go. Their parents reluctantly fit them into the car and you realize why some headaches are necessary just to show you how delightful it is when they aren’t there.

One advantage of having a family visit you is that nowadays it is inconceivable for a family of four to travel in anything less than what would have been considered a charabanc when I was young. What it does allow is that, when the family has been settled into their newly colonized space complete with housing and sporting facilities the ‘car’ can be used for useful things like collecting Ceri’s large charcoal and boxes of books.

It is fairly obvious that the remaining books in Bluespace are not going to fit into the Billy Bookcases newly built to receive them. This is a problem which will have to be faced in the very near future. I am not looking forward to Toni’s reactions!

Meanwhile preparations for our first British visitors continue apace.

We might even be ready for them when they arrive!
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