The Stangest Thing: 2013 365 Challenge #189

Well done, Andy

Well done, Andy

Phew! This Sunday, Andy Murray became the first British male winner of Wimbledon in 77 years. People will ask one day, what were you doing during the match? We spent the duration trying to juggle love of brilliant tennis with necessary parenting.

There’s a bit in the Disney movie Tangled where Flynn Rider is fighting with a frying pan against a horse wielding a sword. Flynn says, “You must know, this is the strangest thing I’ve ever done.” (It’s one of my favourite moments in the movie).

Well, this afternoon I found myself watching nail-biting awe-inspiring 30-shot-rally tennis, cuddling a hot, sweaty and mostly naked two-year-old (it was HOT this weekend), while listening to Disney’s Jungle Book in German on the iPad (after daughter found it on YouTube). Bear Necessities, the elephant marching song, all in loud German. I have to tell you, it was the strangest thing I’ve ever done!

Amazing tennis (even watching the last set surreptitiously while doing jigsaw puzzles with a bored and close-to-meltdown four-year-old ). Amazing kids, surviving Mummy and Daddy cheering at the TV. Thankfully little man slept for the last 90 mins. And can I say, Andy Murray? Thank your sweet heart for wrapping it up in three sets (even if it took as long as a five-set match). The children were not going to survive another set!

So, Wimbledon is over. Back to working without distractions. Lucky I don’t have Sky Sports: The Ashes starts this week.


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


Claire looked for blonde hair, amidst a sea of children and cages, and felt her heart quicken when she couldn’t find it. Ignoring the pulse throbbing in her neck, Claire turned and searched, standing on her tiptoes to peer over rabbit runs.

“Over here, Auntie Claire. Look, come and see the ducklings.”

Sky’s face peeped around a wooden barn door, and Claire exhaled. Her head spun as the oxygen flooded her lungs, and she strode over towards her niece, trying to smile.

“Poppet, you gave me a fright. Can you tell me first, if you’re going to go out of sight? Your Mummy isn’t going to be happy if I lose you.”

Sky’s bottom lip quivered and she hung her head, her hair falling to hide her face.

“Sorry, Auntie Claire. I wanted to see the ducklings.”

Feeling guilty, Claire dropped to her haunches and brushed the blonde hair away. “Auntie Claire isn’t telling you off, sweetheart. I was worried, that’s all. Show me these ducklings.”

The wobbly lip vanished and Sky’s face lit up. “This way!” She pulled at Claire’s hand, nearly tugging her off her feet.

Claire grabbed the door frame to steady herself. “Hang on, Sky. Let me stand up.”

Sky released her hand, and ran forward into the barn. Claire followed, allowing her eyes to adjust to the gloom, after the unexpected spring sunshine outside. The room felt dank and cold and smelled musty. In the corner, Sky crouched down beside a wooden pen, her hair perilously close to the heat lamp hanging overhead.

“Be careful, Sky, mind the light.” Claire reached out a hand, to tug Sky away, but the girl had already moved.

“Aren’t they cute?” Sky pointed into the cage and Claire peered over the edge. Half a dozen scruffy ducklings huddled beneath the heat lamp. Their grey feathers stuck out at all angles and patches of pink skin glistened in between.

Claire thought they were the ugliest things she had seen in a long time. Conscious of the Ugly Duckling story Sky had read as part of her homework at Easter, Claire hitched a smile on her face.

“Beautiful, Sky. They’re lovely.”

Sky turned and grinned. “Mummy says they’re scruffy and ugly, but I like them. I think their bald patches are funny.”

Claire laughed. With kids you never got it right.

Sky dragged her into the next barn to see if the ferrets were awake. The smell hit Claire like a house brick, and she surreptitiously covered her nose. She didn’t want to be like the posh mummies she’d seen, trying to keep their white jeans clean, or striding around in their pristine Hunter wellies. But, really, the smell was awful.

Sky hopped up and down next to a large cage with hammocks and tubes in sections. The smell increased as she approached, and Claire was glad there was nothing in her stomach.

“The ferrets are always asleep. They’re so boring. And they smell.” Sky wrinkled up her tiny nose, and Claire wondered if she was somehow testing her Auntie to see how much she could endure.

I think I’ve endured enough. Time for coffee.

“Very nice, Sky. Would you like some cake?”

Her niece spun round, hair flying, and grinned. Claire ignored the pang of guilt, as she remembered Ruth’s request that Sky eat something healthy. Somehow she felt she sure she wouldn’t bribe Sky to the coffee shop with a promise of soup and a roll.

I’ll make sure it’s carrot cake.


6 thoughts on “The Stangest Thing: 2013 365 Challenge #189

  1. Doing my monthly read through your blog I am going to be all ‘waggy-finger’!!
    First MALE winner of Wimbledon in 77 years.
    Virginia Wade anyone???!!??

    …Tsk tsk… 🙂

  2. Nah! I just think it’s amusing how everyone forgot that the grumpy Scot was second in line to old Ginny W! Did you know before he won the US open in 2012 she was the last British winner of a Grand Slam tournament full stop…?!
    It’s a slow day in the office….. 😉

    • Haha on the slow day. I miss those. I confess to not being much of a sports stats person. I like watching a tournament but I don’t ‘follow’ anyone or any sport that closely.

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