This weekend has seen the first real family time for the Squidges since the holidays started.
Friday night, I went to the dogs...literally. As in greyhound racing. My mum was 70 a couple of years ago, and I knew she'd always wanted to go to a proper greyhound races - it's the only sport she likes. So for her 70th, we promised her a night at the races. Her birthday's quite late in the year, so we planned to go the following summer, but unfortunately mum had some health issues last year so we had to wait until now to make good the promise.
I told Mum and Dad from the start they'd each be given a fiver to lay bets - no more - as the tote takes bets from as little as 50p. We'd see at the end of the night who'd won the most...or perhaps it should be who'd lost the least! Mr Squidge was allowed the same amount, though I'm sure he cheated and justified at least three extra pounds for himself...
I chose not to bet, as the licensing laws are quite strict about not involving children; if we were seen to be 'advised' by the kids, (as in 'which dog d'you reckon might win? OK, I'll stick a quid on a place') or they handled tote tickets (even spent ones - go figure!), we could be asked to leave. So for the Squidgelings and myself, it was going to be a purely paper-based exercise in trying to pick the winners.
We had a great time - the birthday girl won about £3 over her original £5 stake, so ended the evening on a major high! Even T said he'd never seen his granny so excited before! Dad and Mr Squidge lost a few quid each, and on paper... T was our 'winner', but I'm sure it was just because most of the winning dogs seemed to come out of trap 6, so in the end he stopped looking at times and statistics and plumped for the same trap number in every race!
Saturday, the Squidges took to the Cloud Trail. This is a lovely cycle and walking route in Derbyshire, and Mr Squidge came up with a roughly circular 10-mile route. The weather was lovely, the going was (relatively) flat compared to some of the rides we've been on in the past, and it was great to be out together.
By the end of the trip, we'd added another 3 miles onto the total distance, because where we'd hoped to get off the Cloud Trail, we couldn't. The most interesting bit of the ride was the Swarkestone Bridge, an ancient bridge that used to cross the marshes and is the longest stone bridge as well as the longest inland bridge in England.
Oh - and the track that was about six inches of clear ground, bordered by brambles and nettles...and the 'Udder stuff' ice cream, eaten overlooking Melbourne Lake. We were four very tired Squidges by the end of the ride...
And today, it was a different kind of family time - a church family event. The curate who's been with us for the last couple of years is moving on to her first post, so it was an opportunity to say farewell to her and her family before they set out for pastures new. A bring-and-share lunch for 70 in a marquee in a garden... with sunshine, laughter, and a few tears... A different kind of family time, but no less important.
So all-in-all, a good weekend.
Have I done any writing, apart from this blog post? Nope. Am I worried? D'you know what? I don't think I am.
I've been having too much fun to think about it.