Saturday, 10 May 2014

The end of an era

This week there was a very minor "end of an era", which I imagine will be the first in a long line of end-of-an-era's for 2014, what with the end-of-primary-school, end-of-college, and the dreaded end-of-living-at-home for one (no not me!)
 It did give us reason to reminisce and to ponder the rate at which the children
 are growing up and changing.
We spent several hours gardening at the end of the bank holiday weekend, neither of us are gardeners and I am especially clueless. However I have found myself inspired a little lately (a regular occurrence at this time of the year; it'll wear off very soon) so I've been digging and planting whilst The Builder strimmed edges and mowed the lawn.
Our garden is a little unusual in that it's all one big square, we don't have a front and back due to the arrangement of the house. Our house sits in the corner of the plot, very close to one neighbour and has a narrow driveway from the road but at the top of the drive sits our big square patch of garden. It does have advantages in that it's been perfect for football and that other ball game they play, what is it? Oh yes that'll be cricket! There has always been room for a trampoline, now many years old but which has been worth it's weight in gold for the endless entertainment. There have been swings and playhouses (long gone) but the one ever present, well used fixture has been the climbing frame.
It has a cargo net and slide as well as monkey bars along the top. At the time we bought it I would have ideally got the fabulous wooden one costing many hundreds of pounds, we didn't for the obvious reason that we were broke (some things never change!) We got as many bits as we could afford for the boys joint Christmas gift.
At the time we just had the two boys and most of the garden was a flat, bare, newly laid lawn.
I remember the evening we assembled it so well, in those days the boys went to bed at 7pm (now at least one of them goes to bed sometime after us) and, as it was Christmas eve we decided to enjoy a little quiet moment in front of the log fire and watch a little festive telly. I'm not as optimistic as the Builder, he was certain the climbing frame would take a matter of just a few moments to assemble;
 I wasn't too sure but who is the fixer in this house?
(actually it's probably me!)
We settled in on the sofa, both in our dressing gowns, with cheeses, pate and crackers and also a bottle of Port. I'm not a big drinker and can topple off my bar stool after one glass of chardonnay but I do love a ruby port. The evening went on and we got through a good bit of the bottle, it was getting late and we really must put the thing together, it didn't seem fair for Father Christmas to deliver some boxes containing metal poles and a set of instructions for the boys!
We laid all the bits out in the kitchen and started to assemble it, there were many drunken giggles and the port was pretty much polished off. We may or may not have staggered around the kitchen a little but the end result was pretty good, the climbing frame was big and impressive standing there in front of the cooker at midnight.
Now have you spotted the error of our ways? (apart from being a little squiffy) something we didn't realise until the end; how do you think we got a fully assembled 8 foot high climbing frame from the kitchen into the garden??
Unfortunately we then spent several more hours taking it apart and reassembling it on the patio, drunk and in our dressing gowns!!

Anyway back to the point of the story, after many years of being a den, a pirate ship, a picnic deck and many many other things it appears the big old rusty climbing frame is ready for a skip,

the leg has rusted off! It's only a small thing and I know we've been very lucky to make it last so long, but they were two little tots when it arrived and now one of them is nearly 6'3". And it also made us realise that the days of sitting alone on the sofa drinking port and eating cheese seem to be in the distant past - these days we have to remember the calories
 and anyway we're always asleep on the sofa now!
The times they are a changing, rapidly!


  1. Lovely story. Thought it was hilarious that you hadn't thought about getting it out through the door!

    I have similar (ish) memories of a climbing frame we left in our previous house.

  2. Oh those end of era things hurt don't they. A funny memory of putting the frame together, and no doubt dozens of happy memories of the children playing on it. I remember struggling single-handedly to put a little bicycle together late one Christmas Eve. I left it at the recycling centre with lots of other unwanted bicycles not long ago. I could have cried as I drove away. But I just took a few deep breaths and pressed on. All we can do.

  3. I can't believe you built the climbing frame in the kitchen! That is the funniest thing I heard all day. It is sad and nice at the same time to move on I find. I remember the last ever nursery day.... only to start again when we decided to adopt... and then another last ever nursery day. You certainly have a big year ahead with your three. Have a great Sunday. x
    P.S. You are the winner of a peg apron! Alistair's grubby little fingers picked your name out of my bag.

  4. Love this. I was looking at ours, put up in '98 the other day. It's days are numbered...

  5. Time dose pass far to quickly, I have seen chicken houses made out of old play equipment.

  6. We've got a trampoline that I'm hoping to evict from the garden this year, I might finally get my garden back to myself now that the kids are growing up, well, grown up really. All these end of an era moments really do make you think.

  7. What a lovely story! I guess they'll be joining you for cheese and port at Christmas before too long now! ;0) PS: We got rid of our horrid plastic climbing frame at Nursery on Friday. I was so pleased I did a little dance. It wobbles and I've waited all year for a child to have a serious accident. Also no child was injured but as soon as I got a permanent job at the school I asked if it could go and the caretaker disassembled it on Friday. Hooray! x

  8. Oh the Christmas Eve assembly lines we've had! Never built anything too big to get out the door though.

  9. You describe a very funny scene giggling & stumbling around the kitchen on Christmas Eve !
    I always stuffed stockings with a glass of port ... the port was for me not the stockings ! Miss those days. Ends of eras are happy / sad xx

  10. What a lovely story. We still have a few more years with our swingset, but our story about it is funny. I bought it at a yard sale! Yes. There were some people down the road having a sale and I noticed the swingset sitting against the side of the house. I asked them if it was for sale and they thought for a minute and said "Do you want to buy it? Let's talk..." and I offered them $50 and they offered to disassemble it and put it on their flatbed trailer to drive it over to our house. They unloaded it piece by piece on our driveway and we carried it to the back to rebuild it. Or, mostly my husband did; I was keeping our kids, then a toddler and baby, away from the tools. :)

  11. I loved this story! It must have been quite sad to realize the climbing frame's days were over. I have five children, now all grown up and living on their own, so understand how so many memories can be wrapped up in something like a piece of play equipment.

  12. Oh I love this story. We had a climbing frame just like that and gave it away a few years ago. We didn't erect it In the kitchen (can't believe you did that!) but I remember struggling with the A frame, complaining to the shop that the strut didn't fit across. They told me the frame was quite flexible and I should just squeeze the bars together. They were right.

    As regards gardening, my mum always told me she never became interested in plants until after we had all left home. Something about caring for children being replaced by caring for green things! So you have a few more years...

  13. Now that is a funny story! I can't think of anything similar that we've done, but I'm sure something will happen in the next few years as we end up panic-buying/assembling in the hours before 'Santa' delivers.

    1. I'm betting there'll be a few Christmas eve assemblies in the future Justine- putting together the action man jeep being one of the simpler ones!
      I'm enjoying the Tea Room Facebook photo's, it all looks so delicious!

  14. Sadly we have got rid of many of our garden toys over the last couple of years, the rusted swing went earlier this year but we still have a rebound net and football goals in situ - I've given up worrying about the plants! Love your post
    Caz xx

  15. What a great story Jay....
    We spent a similar Christmas Eve assembling a Barbie Camper for our oldest daughter! Very funny indeed!
    Enjoy your week...
    Linda :o)

  16. I just picture the scene , that's a great story at least you didn't have to reassemble it in the snow! Sarah x

  17. That is such a good history of the play structure that got built inside on a bottle of port, migrated outside and has seen laughter and tears and scrapes and squeals and now will be retired.

  18. Good story! You may have some days of port on the sofa ahead of you, but I agree that the cheese can take a bit to work off.

  19. A sad day indeed. It seems that with each year, something is being put away for 'grandchildren'. For us it's been the dolls this year - what next? Our climbing frame/swing set is also pretty much redundant these days but with my youngest being 9 I reckon we can eek a couple more years out of it! Lovely story.