Busy, Busy in Inverness

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. First we had Hugo’s birthday party, and his birthday of course. He’s 5. The party was of the Ninja gymnastics variety which means we made a ninja cake and suggested he wear his ninja costume to the gymnastics center 15 minutes north. And then Hugo and a dozen of his mates did ninja type stuff on trampolines and in foam pits and on strap-in trapeze things, and an hour and forty-five minutes later we took him home and watched him put together Lego Star Wars and Ninjago kits.

Actually that last part’s not true. He put together Lego kits while we furtively slid off to other parts of the house and did work-like things while intermittently watching things like footie highlights  or reading about another celebrity career dropping so far under water that the sewer looks like a guitar-shaped pool. Hugo’s that builder five-year-old you keep quiet about when other parents complain about their kids getting Lego kits cause it means they (meaning the parents) have to spend the best part of the next three days on their hands and knees searching for parts they can barely see while following instructions they can not only barely see but barely understand. The trick here is to feign camaraderie without overdoing it, so they don’t not get Hugo a Lego kit next time around.

So that was last weekend and then my parents flew in on the Wednesday for an extended Thanksgiving visit thing. We hadn’t seen each other in well past a year, and it’s one of those moments where you realize they’re really getting old. They look like ironing boards when they bend down, nor do so well with any kind of steps. but It’s wonderful to see them cause they’re good people, good northern people; they have no compunction about telling the kids it’s absolutely not okay to behave like kids, they still hold hands, and my mum flattens his hair down for him and reminds him where the bathroom is.

We rented a house for the best part of a week in Inverness. Marin, of course, not Scotland, and the house is absolutely stunning. To post pictures would be unfair. There’s a treehouse that undermines the rustic sense of the very word, and Tomales bay itself is beautiful, especially in the morning. It’s the kind of thing where being out there today at sunrise with my daughter and the dog made all seem right with the world. Even when you get back to the house and realize you forgot to bring the most important part of the gizmo you have that makes the best coffee like ever, and in your inbox there’s an email from Termitimix with a list of all the expensive things you need to do to stop your house being eaten from the inside out. In terms of Thanksgiving, we’re in good shape. Made the pumpkin pies a day early, and we’re going with both a ham and a turkey to push that sense of it not really being  5,000 miles from Blackpool. We’ll worry about a sugar update some other time.


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