A Family Visit

Posted on June 24, 2011 by


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Nothing, but nothing, is more enjoyable, more straightforward than taking my grand-daughter a surprise birthday present. As the (now even more) tired cliché goes, it’s not exactly rocket science. No. It’s far more complicated than that.

Wondering what to get her, I decide on asking the BF to wire her doll’s house for lighting. She will be ecstatic. But hang on, her little sister also has a dolls house. You can’t expect her to look on as Birthday Girl (BG) switches on her über cool Tiffany lamps without losing her own über cool, can you? No.

Unable, as ever, to face an emotional problem I do what I always do. Pass it on to someone else. In this case, their father.

How many lamps did you buy?


Make that five for BG. Three for non BG.

Sorted. However. Better get an extra prez for BG. She loves guns and war so something from the World Peacekeeper (sic) range will do. Her father will not approve but hey. 1 x tent, 2 x Army Personnel and 1 x army camp. Judging by the un-war like expressions on the soldiers faces, camp is apt.

‘Phone son.

Don’t spend your morning cooking lunch. I’ll pick up KFC on the way.

Ace. That will save time. Promised the kids I’d take them to the Fun Day.

What time does it start?


We’ll be there.

Son lives an hour away. Usually. Unless there’s an accident on the M25. No problem says Other Half, we’ll take the M40. Tom Tom says there’s two KFC’s on the way.

Cool. Keep the engine running. I’ll dive in.

Phone son. Explain accident on M25.

How late you going to be? The kids are starving. They usually eat at 12.30.

I am not the only one practised in the art of guilt trips. Must run in the family.

30 minutes.

Thinks. Betta Gettta Bucket. Where’s that from? Mr Creosote. Monty Python. Hope not one of my premonitions. Strange how I only get negative ones, never ones like winning the lottery.

In the only empty KFC in the world on a Saturday lunchtime, am greeted by rows of shining white teeth in smiling brown faces all frothing to serve me. No-one except me speaks English. No matter. Press on. What could be easier than Buying a Bucket?

How big bucket?

Three adults. Two children.


No. Three and two is five.

No. Bucket for four.

Will that be enough?

Six pieces chicken, four packet chips.

Fine. I’ll go with that.

Trickle of doubt creeps in. All are from the east. Thin. Not greedy like Westerners.


Burgers!! Excuse me? This is KFChicken?

Chicken in bun?

Oh. Not bun (could have sworn burger meant meat).



Coleslaw? Beans? Sweetcorn?

No. No sides. Just a bucket.

Sides come with bucket.

Them speaking no English and me speaking no KFC never having entered one before I have no idea what they’re on about.

They explain.

Oh Lordy. Would the children prefer beans? Would their father consider coleslaw or sweetcorn a more healthy choice? Decide on coleslaw. Well. It is cabbage.


No thank you.

Drink come with bucket.

Oh. Ok.

Orange, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi….


Back in car. Now very late. Other Half catches my hysteria. Tom Tom screams Warning! Speed Camera Ahead! as it steers us down a road that no longer exists.

How big?


The bucket. What bucket did you get?


WHAT!! That’s for FOUR!!! One piece of chicken and a few chips each. We’ll have to go back. Get another one.

Can’t. The kids are starving.

Screech to halt outside son’s. Salivating kids on pavement jumping up and down. Throw bucket at son.

Won’t be long. Gotta Getta Nother Bucket. Tom Tom says there’s one on your High Street.

Noooo shouts son in the distance as we hit the pedal you’ll have to go around the one way system…

We unpack second bucket as grand-daughter unpacks army camp from the World Peacekeeper (sic) range. Inspecting the soldiers, tells us they look gay. Christens them Gary and Graham.

Way past our feeding time, appetites waning, musing on the E-coli outbreak in Germany, we glumly gaze at the mountain of food but perk up when son says girl friend and her children are on their way over.

Good. Plenty left for them I say brightly.

They’re veggies says son.

Ah. Right. So then. We all going to this Fun Day?

Far too late for that now says son accusingly.

Leaving the trough we take children to the park instead. Over excited BG throws a strop when Other Half refuses to go on the swings, tries to blackmail him by announcing she’s going home then flounces off. He gets worried. Other grand daughter re-assures him it’s all right, she’s allowed home on her own. Then. No, actually, that’s when we’re at Mum’s.

The three of us decide best thing to do is panic. Me worse than them. Having blotted my copy book being so late with lunch and missing the Fun Day son will be furious with me. As we fret, fret, fret, BG re-appears.

You didn’t even bother to come looking for me she pouts.

Still. Alls well that ends well. The children are over the moon with lights in the dolls houses. Plus. Bonus. As girl friend baked mega birthday cake and as lunch was so late there was no need for son to cook supper.

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