My daughter, the most holiday-phobic, least adaptable of my children seemed a bit out of sorts on our first day on the canal boat. So I suggested we get off the boat and walk. I thought a bit of quality time would cheer her up. After only a minute we came across some mud.
My daughter doesn’t like mud. Or dirt. So she wasn’t very happy about this mud. Which was VERY wet and full of puddles. She screamed. I told her it was fine, we’d just go round. But there wasn’t really any going round.
I should say at this point that I’d had footwear packing traumas before we set off. I’d wanted to take wellies for me and the kids, but my husband had dissuaded me, based on a lack of space in the car and the boat. And the very hot, sunny weather we were predicted. Not taking into account the three solid months of rain we’d had beforehand. I’d also wanted to take my Crocs. I know… ugly things. But invaluable in certain situations. Like boating. And mud. But I didn’t have them for space reasons.
So we went through it, my daughter screaming. And there was a slurping noise and my flip flop came off. So I turned round to get it. I put it back on and it was full of mud. Then my other foot got stuck and was really sinking. My daughter’s Lelli Kellys were covered, although still on her feet. I replaced my flip flop, lost them both again and gave up. I walked through the thick mud, sinking as I went, barefoot. The mud was all up my jeans. It had splashed onto my Tshirt.
And all the time my daughter was screaming. She was running through the mud like a girl possessed. Screaming for Daddy to stop. She ran and ran and the dirt was right up her legs and the sparkles on her Lelli Kellys were invisible.
Daddy stopped and we caught him. And he told us off. He hates screaming, he always thinks something really bad has happened. They thought she’d been stung. They weren’t bothered about mud. It’s ‘just mud’. But I’ve never been so muddy in my life. My despairing husband got a bowl of soapy water and sponged the worst of it off us and rinsed our shoes in the canal before we were even allowed inside for a shower.
My daughter couldn’t stop crying. The dirt. The poor messed up Lelli Kellys. And, worst of all, Daddy shouting.
We hadn’t even been on the boat 24 hours. I wasn’t sure we would last a day, let alone the week.
Nearly a week later, we sailed past the mud on our return journey. After six days of hot, sunny weather, it hadn’t changed a bit. My husband was forced to acknowledge it was the worst mud on the entire trip. Typical that it should be in the exact place we had decided to get off and walk.