Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sand Wars

I SEE the OH putting on his shoes. We are expecting the son and his family to arrive for lunch at any minute.
“Are you going out?” I ask.
He explains that he is going to move the sandpit from the patio to the lawn and fill it up with the two big heavy bags of play sand he bought yesterday.
"Why?" I wonder. 
I say: “If it stays there all summer it will leave a big bare patch on your lawn.“
(He has spent a long time scarifying the moss with a machine he found in my late uncle’s shed when we were clearing his bungalow prior to its sale. The moss may be scared out of its wits but the baby’s tears shows no signs of surrender.)
“If they fall out they will hurt themselves,” he says, referring to the toddler and crawler. “Or scrape their knees on the patio.”
“And. “ he adds with the air of someone who is always right, “we've always had the sandpit on the grass.”
I bite my tongue. In the days when our own offspring were building sandcastles of their own, their sandpit was on the patio. He was mostly at work. Not much involved with toddler play.
Since we have had grandchildren, their sandpit has always been at the bottom of the garden on the decking - only we can't have it there any more as the decking is rotten and he hasn’t started his garden project yet.
He obviously senses that I disagree with him although I say not a word.
“It was on the lawn last year,” he insists.
“Yes,” I concede. “When we bought the new tortoise one because the lid of the boat one had broken and the sand was disgusting and full of creepy crawlies we put it on the lawn. But we only put a little bit of sand in so it was easy to move around.”
“Why do you always have to have an argument?” he says, slamming the kitchen door as he exits.
Later I look out of the window and see the sandpit. On the lawn.
Just don't ask me to help move it, I think.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I'm a little teapot

GRANNY duties are lovely but heaving a two-stone toddler in and out of a car seat has made me think that I need to do a little bit more to stay strong and supple than occasionally walking home from the supermarket with a bag-for-life full of groceries. But what?

I did join a gym once, I even had a personal trainer. Suffice it to say that I felt like a fish out of water in the weights room and when the OH (who had been scathing about the whole project) said he had noticed no improvement in my fitness or my figure I hung up my trainers with a sigh of relief.

On the other hand, I had fond memories of the QiGong classes I’d taken, back in the mists of time, and although a trawl of the internet failed to locate any local classes it did throw up a beginner’s Tai Chi class.

When I told the OH I was going he insisted he wanted to join me. “It will be good to do something together,” he said.

The class was held in the early afternoon in a local church hall.  Parking nearby was impossible and it was too far to walk so we went by bus, a mode of transport the OH does not enjoy.

Suffice it to say that we were not the oldest in the group by a long chalk. Most of the attendees were female and the instructor said that when it came to the movements we could hold on to the back of a chair if we needed to.

I sensed, at that point, that this was not what the OH had in mind.  So I was not surprised when, the following day, he announced he had found another Tai Chi class that he thought we should try.

My main objection was that it was held on a Monday evening: in my experience it’s all very well signing up to evening classes when the days are getting longer and warmer – but enthusiasm tends to wane as the nights close in and the weather turns inclement.

The OH was not to be deterred.  He showed me the website.  It said:
‘QiGong is a practice that has its focus on cultivating, circulating and harmonizing Qi. The idea is to first balance the body itself as a whole, and then balance the body within the backdrop of one’s environment.

‘Tai Chi, although related, is fundamentally a martial art. Some forms of QiGong do promote physical characteristics useful for martial arts, but in comparison, QiGong lacks the attack and defense principles contained in the Tai Chi postures.’

I could see that he was channelling his inner Bruce Lee.

Six weeks later he is still enthusiastic. I suspect it helps that the class is a mix of men and women, of young and not so young – and that beginners are taught alongside the more experienced. There are no chairs.

I made the mistake of wearing a turquoise T-shirt the first week: everyone else wore black. I also have a tendency to giggle at the names of some of the movements – such as parting the horse’s mane. (To me, it’s ‘I’m a little teapot’.)
And yes, the instructor does talk about it being a martial art.

To be honest, I hate it. It reminds me of the holiday I once had in Corfu when I failed to master the Kalamatiano – saying oops more often than opa!

But there’s no escape. I have no desire to live in a House of Flying Daggers.