It was Midsummer’s Night tonight. Last year the kids and I had the most fantastic impromptu evening on the beach. Some local people had made a bonfire and brought chilli for those that were there to share. It was great! So I was hoping to relive it again tonight. So far the day had been less than peaceful with a huge battle of wills erupting between myself and my youngest. I’m not one for star signs but if I were she is a typical Taurean. Stubborn being her middle name. I on the other hand don’t really live up to my Aquarian air sign in terms of temperament being more of a fiery person so there the star sign similarity ends. When we battle though it is batten down the hatches and assemble your weapon of choice. Hers being the loudest possible vocal volume a human being can muster ( I’m sure she was a town crier in a previous life) and mine being sarcasm and empty threats with a dose of rage thrown in for good measure. All in all a lovely Saturday morning. Argh!!
The afternoon was spent in the Leith job centre or what used to be the job centre. This week it was a pop up venue for Citadel Theatre’s shows as part of the Edinburgh Leith Festival. My friend and fellow actor Mark was performing in it and it was a solid and moving tribute to those local Leithers living through the Second World War. We always think of the London blitz which of course was hugely damaging but forget that it affected those nearest at home too. After that it was back to pick up the kids and take them on my hopeful summer solstice extravaganza.
The kids had apparently behaved themselves so we made our way down to The Espy on Portobello prom for dinner. Everything was going great. Food ordered, drinks ordered ( all soft of course), great table procured then it started. The griping, the sniping, the whining! The kids always insist that a game must be played when we are out for food. Now eye spy would be ok or a guessing or general knowledge game but charades?! It’s not really conducive to being in a restaurant but we tried. Angelina’s miming of ‘Shrek 2’ had me losing the will to live even before the drinks had arrived and Max’s excruciated face a nano second away from having a meltdown was about all I could bare. I pleaded to stop the charades whilst we ate but it made for a tense meal. Once out we made our way onto the beach. It was spitting with rain, it was cloudy, there was no bonfire in sight. Bugger! We walked along the sand and paddled in the sea. Tensions rising with every crash of a wave. When I say crash it was more like a lap. After a while I came to the sorry conclusion that last year was a one off and it wasn’t happening this year. So we decided to break the bad atmosphere by heading to the ice cream place when it struck me followed by a sinking feeling. Had I left the water immersion on since 10am? Surely not? I knew the rest of the night was doomed until I checked so I wrangling them together we tore up the street and got a taxi home toot sweet.
Of course I had put it off. Panic over! Annoyingly the longest day of the year was not going as planned. My wanting it to be a special night for the three of us was scuppered. I checked the time: 8.40. I quickly thought.
‘Right I’ve decided’ I announced.
‘What?’ came the reply.
‘We are going to the peace of wild things’.
The kids looked nonplus but agreed after I bribed them with a sweetie and lollies from Tesco. So off we went. On the way there we were passed by around 200 cyclists in some kind of rally. The kids were delighted that 26 of them waved back to them and shouted hello. Once in the garden we played hide and seek, Max fell his full length into what looked like a quagmire, swatted midges and sucked on Werther’s Originals. It was great! Whilst in there a group of visitors passed us taking photos of each other and one of them asked if we’d like him to take one of the three of us. We said yes and here it is:
My two favourite people with me in my favourite place. Angelina was determined to show us a secret place. She claimed to have come here before with school to visit the Reverend Jack ( I know Father Ted does spring to mind) at Duddingston Kirk and had found a secret place. Humouring her I let her lead the way safe in the knowledge that there was not an area in this garden I did not know. She led us down to the tall reeds near the water and along to the far west side. We came to a narrow path area banked on either side by tall ferns. The ground was thick, wet, squishy mud. Angelina went first then me. It made us laugh. Max tentatively went last but managed not to fall in. As we wiped our shoes on the grass I looked up and saw three wooden seats. They were almost like thrones. Three of them just sitting hidden amongst the flora.
In all my time of coming here this was the first time I had seen them. They made me think of the thrones for the children in ‘The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe’. Were they made for us. Well there were three and there was three of us and this is my favourite place amongst the peace of the wild things. Yes! They must be. Unquestionably.
We finished our visit with some frog spotting in the top pond. They then freaked out when I told them the story about the time me and a friend got accidentally locked in Greenwich Park for hours until a rather fascist like female security guard eventually opened the gate and let us out but only after an interrogation that would have given the inquisition a run for its money. So as not to run that risk again we said our goodnights and left closing the great iron gate behind us. It had ended up being a special evening after all both of them already planning there next visit.
Sometimes it’s best not to plan but go where the wind takes you. My subconscious was calling me. Telling me to change my plan and end a somewhat difficult day in a place of tranquility and peace.
What does the poem say again (photo taken a while ago now) :
Here all is well with the world.
Nighty night x
Ps 82 days