I'm not entirely sure whether I'm currently on sick leave or annual leave. I had the first half of this week booked as holiday, but my doctor didn't want me working before Wednesday anyway, so I think I'm on some kind of fusion of the two. I'm calling it annual sick. I'm allowed to enjoy myself, but only if I look a bit peaky.
Fortunately I'm spending it with my children, so neither of those are a problem...
They make me feel ill, and then provide me with laughter, the best medicine.
We're heading home from St Leonards today so that I can celebrate my birthday with the GPs at the local surgery tomorrow. I've ordered my own cake from Asda, and it's being delivered with the shopping tonight. I'll be 41, so it's about time I had a mid-life crisis and splashed out on something I can't afford, but on this occasion I've spent £1.50...
Fortunately, I won't need to share it with anyone. Back in 2009, I missed Amelie's first birthday due to having something better to do, and five years later, she's finally getting her own back. Somebody with more courage than sense has offered to take her camping for a couple of days, and they leave tomorrow morning. Possibly whilst I'm at the doctor's.
When the invitation was made a few weeks ago, Amelie had never been camping. And neither had her homebody father. But over the weekend, that's all changed...
Yes, I'm no longer the only stick in the mud around here. We've also got half a dozen tent pegs.
For a while on Saturday morning, it appeared that this week's camping trip might be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. I would expect anyone spending two nights in a tent with Amelie to suffer some kind of breakdown, but as it transpired, it was the car they were due to travel in which gave up the will to live. Amelie had been anticipating this trip with all the rapturous excitement of a different sort of Camping, so when it looked like suffering the same disappointing fate, I decided to pre-empt the apocalypse and soften the blow by spending twenty quid on a four-man tent.
Needless to say, the four men in question must be anorexic dwarves, as you wouldn't get a family in there without half a pound of butter and a shoe horn. But fortunately there was no way Lisa was taking her chances with the foxes, and no way I was taking my chances with Toby, so that just left Amelie and me to spend a night out under the stars.
So on Saturday evening, we pitched the tent in my parents' garden, armed ourselves with torches to fight off the badgers, and packed a few emergency loom bands, before bedding down for the night in full daylight. And I think the adventure went well. Admittedly, if I'd known that Amelie talks nonsense in her sleep (she does the same when she's awake), I might have taken a gag with me, and in an ideal world I'd prefer not to be woken up at 5:30am and asked to tell ghost stories. But on the plus side, my Dad's wi-fi extends to the garden, so I was able to browse the cake aisle on Asda.com while my daughter slept next to me.
In the end, I only really slept when the seagulls did, which was a narrow window of silence lasting for about two hours, but Amelie had a whale of a time. In fact she told me it was the best day ever, which almost made my sleep deprivation worthwhile. I might have felt like death warmed up for most of Sunday, but the look of excitement and pleasure that greeted me from the hole in that sleeping bag when I opened my eyes in the morning, made it twenty quid very well spent. She was definitely a happy camper.