The unfortunate incident of the dead fox in the bluebells

“Tomorrow, I’m coming back here and I’M going to smell the dead fox, and I’M going to see it.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you *the* most ridiculous tantrum of all time.

It started off as a lovely idea. Let’s make the most of a sunny Saturday afternoon and head to Clyne Gardens in Swansea for a walk. Ok, so I might have had the ulterior motive of getting some nice photos in the bluebell woods which are in bloom (but I didn’t need to mention that). Of course after 17 years Stew knows me too well and caught on pretty quickly, but he humoured me anyway, and off we set.

It had been a bit of a trying morning … we decided earlier in the week that it’s about time we redecorate the living room. And by redecorate I mean rip out the fireplace, leaving a gaping hole in the wall, smash through the old tiles underneath, which were covered in concrete, and strip off the wallpaper, taking the radiator off to get to the paper behind. So our most used room was completely out of bounds … and obviously the most appealing room in the house to two busy little boys. To add to that, we also decided to repaint the utility room and finally put skirting boards in … so the boys were also banned from going out there, which made it the second most appealing room in the house.

Containing them to the play room / mock living room wasn’t easy, and they were acting a bit like caged animals (to put it nicely) by lunchtime. Running around in the bluebells seemed like a sure fire way of burning off some excess energy, with the bonus of a mini photoshoot thrown in.

More fool me.

Anyway, side stories aside, we set off happily with George Ezra playing at full volume in the car. Just tracks four and five on repeat, of course. Who needs the rest of the album?

We parked up and made mistake number one: Taking the buggy. It seemed like the obvious thing to do, in case little legs got tired along the way, and we had the buggy board in case all four little legs had enough. The board has been fab, and saves carrying one of the boys while pushing the other … but man is it awkward. If you don’t take unnatural mini strides you clip your shin with each step, and it is so loud. And incredibly irritating to have attached to the buggy when nobody is willing to be pushed.

So there we are, rattling our way up the hill, with the biggest boy trying to encourage the littlest to play tag, and the littlest insisting on running the wrong way back down because he just wants to throw stones in the river. We should have known it would be a disaster when the two of them had stropped (is that even a word?) before we got to the top of the hill.

But there were the bluebells…

I tried to coax them into the flowers for some photos, and the littlest boy sat so nicely among them looking like a curly haired little angel. But did I get a nice photo? Oh no, because Stew was in the way of my shot! I think I managed to get a couple of decent photos (which I’ll share in another post), but unsurprisingly the boys just weren’t interested in sitting still for me.

We walked for what felt like miles uphill, still rumbling along with the buggy, herding the littlest in the right direction, and trying to keep the biggest happy by playing his new game of dogs chasing sticks (we are the dogs, he throws sticks and we chase them … I’m sure psychologists would have a field day with that one), and eventually we made it to the Japanese bridge.

It was very pretty, but all I could focus on was the sheer steps on the other side. The biggest boy was at the top shouting at us to hurry up before we’d even made it onto the bridge – me dragging the buggy, which by now I was ready to abandon, and the littlest boy getting cross because he wanted to throw stones in the river.

There are only so many times you can shout “wait for us” at your child before you start to lose the plot, and this plot was very quickly heading in the wrong direction. Stew hauled the buggy up the steps like a strongman, also carrying the littlest boy who was getting tired and grumpy by this point (but still refusing to be pushed).

Thankfully, as we were wondering if the day was completely doomed, we came across a little path leading to an enclosure full of bluebells. The boys were more than happy to explore, climbing on logs and looking for bugs.  And out came the camera again.

Our biggest boy is really into Peter Rabbit at the moment, and found a hole at the top of the hill, which he was convinced led to Tommy Brock’s house (the badger). What we didn’t realise was that Mr Tod was laying dead just a few yards away in the pretty flowers.

That is until Stew smelled it. Yup, it’s right there. In my lovely photo.

He shouted that we needed to go, which without a valid reason wasn’t moving the biggest boy. He was finally convinced when Stew said he would tell him why in a few minutes. Curiosity got the better of him – and Stew’s inability to lie got the better of him.

And then…

“I wanted to see the dead fox. Take me back to see it.”

“We’re not going back to look at it.”

“You go home, I’ll go and find the fox, and you can come back to pick me up when I’ve seen it.”

“Don’t be daft, it’s not very nice to see.”

“I wanted to see it. Was it Mr Tod? Was he wearing a jacket? Did he have babies? How did he die? Why did he go there? What will happen to him now?”

There was a never-ending stream of questions, mostly shouted crossly at us, until we found a little clearing with pink blossom trees, where he peered into every log looking for more foxes.

Unfortunately, we were following the same path as a woman who was quietly taking photos of flowers along the way. I really hope that somehow she didn’t hear all this, because she would probably have been a bit worried about the topic of conversation.

Thank the lord for the distraction of squirrels … and live ones at that. We headed back to the car, where the boys continued their George Ezra singalong … and Stew had a stern warning that sometimes a little white lie is a whole lot less awkward than the truth.

 

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