Dad Diaries : All good plans…
Sometimes, despite your best intentions and plans, you’ve just got to roll with it.
I was nearing the end of a 15-week ‘fit-club’ , my attempt at shedding 3-stone to give me a fighting chance for the challenges to come… moving house, the regular family events, and finishing off with the daddy of them all : Christmas. All was going well, but I’d falter at the weekends, too much sitting and driving. Not enough exercise.
This weekend was going to be different…..
Swimming with the boy seemed a great plan, interspersed with lot of walking. Even as the heaven’s opened I was undeterred, marching ahead of everyone towards our first pit-stop of the day at Greggs. After Mrs H had held up the whole of the shop in her order indecision, we were soon caught up in a mini-monsoon, huddled up against the co-op doorway as a rogue’s gallery of North Shields ‘characters’ went about their business.
It was until I’d purchased our metro tickets and made it down the stairs onto the platform that I realised the trains were off today…… and back up the stairs we go…..
The replacement bus service was non-existent as we stared in hope at the oncoming traffic. It must’ve been a mistake surely? The Metros were off between Tynemouth and Monkseation only.
Back down the stairs we go again….
We were packed into the Metro like damp smelly sardines with a background soundtrack of stress and resignation, but thankfully this was just for one stop, and we did have the twin buggy in a our corner as a distraction.
Of course there was no lift or baby friendly bridge at Tynemouth Station, home to the richest and the snobbiest in the area. Instead, a good 1/4 mile trip in the rain around to the other platform, or should I say replacement bus queue. No quarter or courtesy was given to us five, we were just another obstacle in their day. I managed to find a space for the twins in the ‘no-go’ zone that is the sanctuary of the wheelchair space while Mrs H and Luke escaped upstairs. I held on for a ride into Monkseaton with the locals.
People from Tynemouth don’t do buses, its below them. This was rather passer’s through, and what a bunch we had today: Drunks, tramps, and the general unclean. As usual they bayed for attention, refusing to acknowledge my disinterest in them. What I wouldn’t give for the Tynemouth club now. To make matters worse my cramped position holding onto the girls faced me directly at the rabble, so much so that I tried to feign a sleep.
Mercifully we approached Monkseation, with the vast majority disembarking at the once great but now gypsy infested Whitley Bay. We were still painfully far off our destination and it was still pouring down, so we broke off, Mrs H taking the girls shopping and me and the boy down the final leg towards the baths.
About 100 metres in, we’ve slowed almost to a stop, despite my best efforts in instigating various challenges and races to get things moving. With all options exhausted and despite a frenzied tearful protest, I picked up Luke in one hand and carried our bags in the other. In the cold, miserable rain.
After the screaming had died down in my ear, we eventually made it onto the coast to no relief whatsoever, ‘Waves’ leisure pool was still faint in the distance and my arms where getting tired. I focused on working my legs like pistons again the wind just to get there, just to get a sit down, just to get warm and dry.
Eventually we arrived, and for a moment, all was well with the world again. I’d done the right thing, it was all worth it to see Luke smile as he ran up the path towards the entrance. At the counter the all seemed normal, with the receptionist politely refusing my request for one adult and one child.
REFUSING?!!! Eh? I’m sorry? “Sorry, we’re closed”.
“I’m sorry, we can’t say”
I turned to my side to see droves of swimmers getting out of the pool in a hurry.
“What’s happened?” Immediate thoughts go to some form of terror attack.
“I’m sorry we can’t say”, and with that I was shut-down and ignored by Council Rules and bureaucracy. The computer says no.
So we both stood there, in limbo, waiting for answers.
“Someone’s S*&t in the pool!” came the answer eventually from one of the disgruntled mums. “It happens all the time!”.
Dejected, we both made our way to the viewing area and watched as attendants forlornly scooped up the debris with nets. Luke was riveted, and behaving himself for the first time today. I took a rest, slumping back in my chair as the faux-Mediterranean climate washed over my tired, cold face like a make-do sauna.
Eventually there was confirmation that the pool wouldn’t be re-opening today, so Luke was pacified by the soft-play area as the place cleared out until almost silence.
Well, at least I tried.
The thing with Luke was, he doesn’t really need material things, just a distraction, something or someone to watch, a new situation, a new adventure, and despite everything, for him today WAS an adventure. On the train, the bus and through the streets in the rain with his dad. For him, today wasn’t a nightmare, for him, today was special and he enjoyed every minute!
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