The joy of six at McDonald’s

George (left) and Wil feed the ducks on the park. Picture: LJM

George (left) and Wil feed the ducks on the park. Picture: LJM - Credit: Archant

When the small incredibles, George, Wil and Herbie, came for the weekend, grandpa employed the survival technique known as “getting in wine” and we all had a happy meal.

Baby Herbie was on the horns of a dilemma.

He had his favourite green wooden brick in his left hand and was eating his breakfast cereal straight from the bowl with his right hand. A pointless spoon had been provided. Then he decided to pick up his second favourite semi-circular wooden brick and hold it in his right hand. How would he eat his Cheerios now?

It took him barely seconds to come up with the obvious solution ? he plunged his whole head into the bowl and slurped up the contents. At 10 months, he is probably too young to be introduced to elegant table manners,

All three (four if you count my son) boys joined us for the weekend and we decided it would be nice to go out for a meal to one of the finest local establishments, McDonald’s or Old McDonald’s as George calls it. (A moo moo here and a cluck, cluck there).

The boys each had a Happy Meal which included some sort of toy thing. Taking his table manners from his baby brother, Wil plunged his whole hand into the barbecue sauce and, when that had been cleaned up, he plunged it into the tomato ketchup.

I bit into my Big Mac and a slice of gherkin shot across the table. Meanwhile, the jolly wheeze of blowing the paper cover off the drinking straw meant that I ended up with the paper sheath on my head, courtesy of a young lad at the neighbouring table.

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Okay, it wasn’t La Gavroche but it was fun and there was no end to the jesting.

We gave George a joke book (Ha Ha Bonk) for Christmas and so I suppose it’s our fault that he has committed every joke to memory and now has a rib-tickler for every occasion.

And what is it that goes, Ha Ha Bonk? A man laughing his head off, of course.

Meanwhile Wil is exploring the boundaries of his imagination by being not so much economical as profligate with the truth. Not wishing to thwart his creativity, we did not correct him with too much force although his assertion that he had eaten two of grandma’s (Digestive) biscuits was a little under half the truth, which was five.

The weather was so cold for small boys that we did not go far. We took a quick trip to the park where Herbie looked undecided on the swing as his little nose turned pink. Wil’s lips went blue and George asked me to take several photographs of him standing beside trees.

The highlight of the outing was Wil pretending to be a dog and retrieving sticks that grandpa threw. This was a great game until grandpa threw the stick and a golden labrador appeared from nowhere and collected the stick, returning it to his faintly embarrassed owner.

As my daughter-in-law was away on a training course in Wales, we volunteered to have wakeful Herbie’s cot in our bedroom so son Mark could have a good night’s sleep.

After two early mornings, 6am and 5am, we were zombies. Herbie wasn’t. He gave us his usual beatific smile, which we could just about make out in the dark and pronounced his all-purpose “mam-ma” which covers all older relatives. The problem with 5am is that the CBeebies channel doesn’t start until six which means Herbie needs to be entertained for an hour before the Teletubbies take the strain. He now takes every opportunity to haul himself up into a standing position and clearly intends to walk quite soon. At the moment he mainly stands on tiptoe and thus needs to refine his technique before he earns his first pair of shoes.

• You know what it’s like. You wake up at four in the morning (unassisted by grandson) and your head immediately fills up with a load of trivia. The first thing I did was compose a new song which would definitely have been a chart-topper ? except I couldn’t remember it in the morning. Then I thought about the word “segue” which is pronounced “segway” and used to describe a musical or, increasingly, a verbal link between items. You know the sort of thing ? the TV presenter has finished interviewing someone about a serious topic, maybe child labour, and moves to the next section, interviewing a older actor and knight of the realm who has just published his memoirs and has to make a smooth changeover.

Presenter: “So tell me, Sir Brian, do you buy cheap t-shirts?” is the sort of thing that makes you wince.

But I was actually thinking more about the word segue and now I’m wondering why we don’t say “fug-way” for fugue and “vag-way” for vague. Or, conversely, why we don’t say “seeg” for segue. It kept me awake for an hour.

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