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Country Life, 24th July 2013


Food For Thought: Boweled Over by Food Allergies, Recipes and Advic

Thanks HarryB

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This is a blatant, well deserved plug for my school buddy HarryB http://harry-b.co.uk/store/  who loyally reads my blog and is always the first to laugh and send me encouraging words of support. One of the things about Harry is her glorious sense of humour – she rang, voice brimming over with laughter when I’d written a grumpy post after  packing two suitcases brimming with medical equipment to go away to The Scilly Isles.

“Have you brained  your family yet? Are you surviving?……. Right Annie, I’m sending you some HarryB products in the post for your holiday. You’re going to need it. What size for your kids? Towels or shorts? “

The ever practical, creative Harry.

“I’m going tomorrow. I leave at some ridiculous hour, they’d have to be here by tomorrow. Don’t worry.”

“Don’t be stupid. I can’t help with the big stuff but I can send you these so the kids have something warm when they get out of the water. I’ll send them special delivery. I’d like to do this.”

True to her word the towelling beach shorts arrived. And they were a Godsend.  The sun may have been blazing but anyone British knows just how teeth chatteringly chilly our waters and the wind can be. Once you’re brave enough to get your shoulders under the water - no wetsuits, that’s cheating –  you get fooled into thinking its warmer in the water than on the beach. Your kids , and their dad  (but I’m really not sure how good a look these would be on forty year old men , although knowing my husband who lacks any sartorial elegance and vanity……) arrive out of the water, goose bumps evident and pretty darned cold. Whip these long shorts on (over swimming costumes if really impatient and protecting modesty), no annoying sand being flicked off towels and before long the kids  start to warm up, and then , yes, they want to go back in again. The shorts do dry pretty quickly on rocks though.

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Calvin got particularly cold (not much fat on that little body) with lips turning blue  and I was so grateful to be able to yank these on him and shove two towels around his shoulders. Bless you HarryB. It was such a big deal for him to go in the sea as it’s the first time he’s ventured in with a colostomy bag and a feeing tube. But he did it. My twelve year old daughter loved hers (said they kept her bum warm) and my three year old kept asking for his crab shorts. Top quality and they wash well and I never write anything but the whole truth.  We did have a mad dash for an inflatable dinghy when the tides were too low on the island of Bryher for the boat to reach the quay and pick us up. That was when I wanted a pair of shorts like these …read on:

“Oh yikes. the boat is coming. Quick, help pack up the stuff. No time. Quick, quick. get your shorts on, No, you’ll just have to dry out on the boat. Don’t leave Taz (my three year old aka Tasmanian Devil) behind”

We waded up to our knees in clear waters and had to climb into the dingy . It was all right for the dogs with their random owners standing there dithering, they got picked up, dumped in and then sprayed me with their shaking, wet coats. Marvellous.  The kids sat on the wet rubbery sides , towelling shorts soaking up the water looking perfectly happy. I, on the other hand, regretted wearing a knee length white skirt that was already tucked up in my knickers, knowing as I heaved myself up and in everyone was going to get a flash of my pants. I declared the forthcoming flash in a loud voice on the basis that if all these strangers were pre-warned they might just look away.  Sure enough, it happened, but at least I didn’t totally balls it up and fall in.  I did embarrass my teenager though, which is always good sport.

NB to Harry – you need to manufacture some large, lightweight picnic blankets in the same range  that wash easily and roll up to be carried on the back like a rucksack, preferably carried by a child while parents lug the hateful, heavy picnic coolbag around. Also, it could double up as something warm to wrap around freezing mums or grandparents who loyally watch kids surfing in the rain. If it could arrive in a  handy plastic container bag that could become a cheap sou’wester to pathetically hold over one’s head in the coastal downpours, that would also be useful. Aaah, good times!

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