|Boy Flies Kite. Film at Eleven.|
I am delighted to have Dominic here, of course I am. I just love seeing the joy on little Alex’s face now that he has his much older brother to play with. I am also really impressed with Dominic’s patience. It isn’t easy for a thirteen year old to devote all his time to a three year old. Naturally, they get up to some mischief but it is generally harmless. I wasn’t too impressed when Dominic splintered one of my plastic garden chairs to pieces with his new catapult but, ho hum, I was a lad once. I was ever so pleased though, when Dominic taught his little brother to ride his ‘bike without stabilizers and also to fly a kite although my brother had a hand in that. Fathers can do so much but there is nothing like having an older sibling to learn from.
As a parent, we all like a bit of peace and quiet every now and then but as parents we know that not hearing the kids is a danger sign. It’s that sudden realization that it is quiet, too quiet. What the fuck are the little bastards up to now?
Next to the Jango is a big pile of sand. The builders say they will get round to using it, in the meantime what was once a mountain is gradually collapsing into a beach across the driveway. It was here I discovered Dominic, camera slung around his neck, shovel in hand.
I used to investigate accidents involving ammunition or explosives when I was in the Army during which I learnt a few things. Firstly, blow someone or something up without permission and the shit will hit the fan. Secondly, in the Army, the shit flies a long way (we have better fans than civvies) and so, thirdly, everyone, witnesses and culprits alike, lie like cheap Japanese watches.
It took only a split second, a single glance at 13 year old Dominic for this 53 year old very experienced cynic to know something was up. All I could see was Dominic as described and the pile of sand surmounted by an upturned wheel barrow.
Dominic knows better than to lie to me and I could see he was, shall we say, considering his options but they were suddenly narrowed when I heard a plaintive cry from under the wheelbarrow.
‘Daddy, peese help me!’
The little darling. Alexander can’t say ‘please’ yet so keeps asking for a vegetable instead. He can’t say ‘go for a walk’ either. When he asks for the opportunity for post prandial perambulation, the casual observer will hear a three year old telling his father ‘Daddy! Go fuck?’ I am all for allowing kids to learn as much as they can as early as they can but there are limits. When he drops something onto the floor or knocks a glass over, though, he enunciates, ‘Oh Fucking Hell’ perfectly and I am afraid that IS down to me. Like I say, he’s a clever lad. Chip off the old block.
Right now, though, this little chip appeared to be under a wheelbarrow.
‘He’s under the wheelbarrow’ Dominic volunteered hurriedly, unnecessarily, but sensibly zeroing in on the truth.
‘Let’s take a look at him then’ I suggested.
The older one becomes, I say, the less imaginative. Might be something to do with being comfortable with what we have and our invariably inexplicable routines and habits. I bloody hate it, for example, when someone moves anything on the wreckage covering my desk. So what if my ashtray is overflowing with more ash than Mount Etna has spewed on Sicilian villages in the last hundred years? I’ll get round to emptying it when I grow tired of cleaning my computer mouse of combusted detritus and have no stable foundation left upon which to balance my whisky bottle.
For the true, unbridled expression of verdant imagination you need a kid and in Dominic’s case, this is likely to be completely off the wall, mad avant garde.
Dominic peeled back the wheelbarrow to reveal Alex buried up to his neck in sand and sporting my Solar Topee. Luckily for Dominic, Alex was grinning like a Cheshire cat as if it was he that had played an enormous joke on his Dad.
Every parent will recognize that moment when they look at the issue of their own loins and think, ‘What the fuck…’ and it was so I cast a baleful eye over my eldest son.
‘I thought it would make a funny photograph for your blog’ he said.
I can still recall the uncomfortable reaction I had from some of my readers, notably the terribly sensitive and decent soul John Gray, when Dominic persuaded me to take and post a photograph of him apparently eviscerated when we were gutting a Bush Buck together. God knows how the Welsh St Francis of Assisi would react to the sight of a toddler buried up to his neck under a merciless African sun.
Alexander started to squirm ineffectually.
‘Have you taken the photograph yet?’ I asked Dom.
‘I was about to’
‘Best get on with it, lad, but perhaps I could suggest a low angle?’
‘Peese Daddy!’ came from somewhere about our feet.
‘Just hang on a sec Alex, this could be amusing. And stop smiling, you are supposed to be miserable’. He grinned even more. He’s only three but he knows you smile in front of a camera even if being buried up to your neck in sand means you can’t strike a pose.
Dominic snapped the photo.
‘Now dig your brother out’, I said.
|"Dominic, evidentally not as sentimental as Captain Yonoi, buries his brother"|
I went back to my desk grateful I had two boys who could play so quietly and nicely together. And Dominic is pretty nifty with my camera even if he does overdo the staging.
|"Can't be doing with these shenanigens. Get yer bodies through the washroom and then report back 'ere, there's a guardroom behind me as needs painting."|
Rifleman 'Two Dinners' Gowans
(Yes, I know it's a sword, not a rifle)
|We're not allowed to call them smoke breaks in the Army anymore, apparently it sets an evil precedent for young soldiers. |
'OK, kid, this is the score, I give you a tab, you hand over the lucifers'
|'...front AND back you work shy little bastards... Come on, it's yer own time you are wasting now'|