As a parent, for years I have been lecturing my offspring about expecting the best, but preparing for the worst.
So when they go out on a night all dolled up in their near non-existent party dresses and outrageously high heels (for clarity I should explain they are girls, not boys), I nag them to take something warm or take an umbrella. If going out in the sun I say “Wear a hat” and “Don’t forget the sun-screen”.
Of course they never take a blind bit of notice and mutter something along the lines of “yes yes yes blah blah blah”. I am old, out-of-touch, a fuss-pot and someone to humour with little more than a pat on the head. They are the new generation and now they know best.
Nevertheless, they’ve still needed to be picked up late at night as they emerge from a night club into the freezing temperature out-of-doors, grateful for the warm fleeces I’ve brought, and on occasion grateful for the “after-sun” I have procured for them. It seems I still have my uses after all.
With all this ignored advice you’d think I’d know better myself, but even I come unstuck sometimes. With all this hot sun we have enjoyed recently, I have done my best to get out and about as much as I can. Last Monday evening, the girls, Wifey and I popped over to Ripon for the evening races.
Ripon markets itself as “Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse” and it certainly is a lovely place. There is a gentle timelessness to the place. A brass band knocks out “On Ilkla’ Moor baht tat”, ladies were dressed up in their summer frocks, gents casually smart, Pimms served by the gallon, all in the delightful tree dotted garden areas around the paddock. It is like stepping back into a romanticised world that would have been familiar to James Herriot, and all against the back-drop of the colour and bustle of the jockeys and their horses. Thoroughly pleasant.
Of course, I lost a packet despite a couple of winners as I subsidise the girls’ bets. It is a “win win” for the girls but a near certain losing situation for muggings, but what the heck we had a nice night, came away as a family fairly even. Best of all it was comfortably warm all evening, so we did not need jackets and cardigans.
That was somewhat different to our experience on Saturday. After a scorching day we drove over to Hoghton Tower for a proms-in-the-park type night. We parked up in warm sunshine and traipsed half-a-mile carrying chairs and picnic to the concert area to listen to Aled Jones amongst others entertain us with the usual jingoistic nonsense before a superb firework finale. A thoroughly excellent evening, except for one small detail. As the sun sank so did the temperature and a chilly breeze sprang up.
For once we had ignored our usual advice and left our fleeces at home.
As the temperature fell, fleeces appeared all around us, and then picnic rugs were picked up to make shawls.
It was freezing but Wifey and I had to resort to cuddling to stay warm. A brilliant evening spoiled by lack of foresight and not taking the right gear.
Mind you being forced to snuggle up together did have its compensations!