I'm turning my children into workers
PUBLISHED: 08:09 10 August 2018
Turns out the hard work, wasps and ants are worth it, writes Jo Malone
I have a new plan to ensure the girls properly help me put up our tent – currently known as The Beast as it’s such a battle to build.
It’s definitely due to a lack of know-how, but I struggle working out which pole goes where and in what order, and pushing in those finger-aching push-pin pole locky bits, which hold metal poles together. Lugging the canvas cover over without bending the frame alarmingly has yet to happen, let alone working out a build that doesn’t involve undoing some poles to thread through the cover once it’s on.
It is, I’ve discovered, impossible to manage single-handed and with no helpful nephew and his fiancée on hand this trip, the extra hands have to come from the ten and eight-year-old.
But the eight-year-old gets sidetracked, a lot. She’s aimed to help before, and will hold a pole as requested but only until she thinks of something she is supposed to be doing like finding her sloth, or getting a drink, or following a butterfly, or swinging on the pole she’s holding or having a wee. The latter is definitely the default answer if I say ‘hold this Thalia please’ as she, without fail, will say ‘yes, in a minute’ and disappear for ages.
Keola is more patient, but building the tent with just the two of us always involves a few injuries.
So this time I have a cunning plan, which is probably dreadful parenting. I promise them 10 pence for every pole they properly help with – and it works. It takes a while, but three hours after arriving in very hot sun the tent is up, the beds are made, all our clutter is inside and we can enjoy a Norfolk weekend at the Harlequin Fayre.
Friends arrive and somehow put their tents up in about an hour, I’ve no idea how.
We have a superb weekend of circus, music, river paddling, crafts, cycling - and wasp swatting and sweltering in the tent – before it’s four hours of tent dismantling in baking heat.
We arrive home grubby, shattered, and with an invite for a family night away of fun and pampering for the August Bank Holiday from a brilliant hostess friend. I’m imagining the great company, the super comfy beds, good games, wonderful food and brilliant showers in her wasp-and-ant-free beautiful home.
‘Or we could go to another festival, but we’d have to build and unbuild the tent again,’ I mention, feeling sweaty at the thought of it but thinking of Trunchonbury near Mundesley from August 24-26, a family weekend of arts and music.
“Trunchonbury,” they both say, excitedly.
I need to start saving 10 pences.