The summer months are always busy ones for us.
Back in the days when we were managing the Farm Food Shop as well as our land, we always had a nightmare keeping an eye on the kids. Taking a holiday was a challenge, but something that we tried to do at least once a year, taking ourselves away to a luxury Scottish lodge during the winter months.
Kate and Jack have always been outdoorsy kids, they’ve spent their whole lives in fields getting muddy, so staying inside playing video games never really occurred to them as an actual option.
Every summer, whilst they were small, one of us would have to get to work on the land whilst the other minded the kids. As they grew older however they were soon inviting friends over to play and that was when the real headaches began!
You see Gerald and I in our infinite wisdom assumed that by the time Kate was 10 and Jack was 7, they could both have a friend come to visit for the day and they’d be fine pottering in the back garden themselves. I know that many parents will have their heads in their hands now and will be judging our decision, but everyone makes mistakes and at least this particular one did not end in us getting sued.
Although Kate and Jack were very much kids who loved the outdoors, their friends from school were from the suburbs so spending a whole day scratching around in the back yard didn’t really appeal to them. Soon they were poking around the house with poor Kate and Jack trying to drag them back outside in the sun. One of them (to this day neither of our kids will admit to whose friend came up with the idea!) thought it would be fun to bake a cake. Soon they were scrambling onto the worktops, reaching for flour and breaking eggs on the work top. You’d be surprised but despite the mess, the four of them actually got pretty close to getting that cake together.
They had a mixture (of sorts) in a tray ready to bake, but they hit a small stumbling block: turning the oven on.
As responsible parents, Gerald and I had never taught the kids how to use the oven and had assumed that their disinterest in how their food was cooked was a good sign that we could leave that particular hurdle for another day. One of their friends had an inkling but had clearly not worked with our particular model of New World cooker before. Attempts were made, knobs were broken, buttons were pulled.
Thankfully, we didn’t return that day from the fields to discover four children passed out from gas consumption in our kitchen. No – when we returned we found the kids playing in the back yard, just like we’d left them. It wasn’t until Gerald went to start up dinner that he found the oven in the state that it was. After breaking a couple of cooker knobs off the children had deemed it wise to simply pull all the knobs and buttons off the oven in the hope that we’d see that nothing was missing.
It took us a while to pry out of them where they’d hidden those New World cooker knobs, the children deciding that denial was the safest option.
Weeks later, whilst Sammie (our now departed Cocker Spaniel) was trying to find last year’s bones he nearly choked on a timer switch – that’s when we knew that we needed to do a quick metal-detector sweep of the back yard…