General ramblings

Ups and Downs…

May 12, 2013

Last weekend, on the Bank Holiday, when the sun shone (yay!) and we cleared out the garage… we also attempted some fun stuff too.

Well, actually, we did do some fun stuff, but on our second attempt at fun stuff, My Make Do and Mend Year let us down…

On the Saturday, in the afternoon, we ventured over to the picturesque village of Urchfont, near Devizes for their annual Scarecrow hunt.

We had a brilliant time in the sunshine, wandering round with the Smalls, spotting scarecrows, eating ice cream, and rolling down grassy hills.

But we didn’t have time to get all the way around the 53 scarecrows.

So we decided to have another stab at it on the Bank Holiday Monday.

This time, on bikes. And it was hotter. And much busier…

A couple of months ago, after extensive research, hubby bought a secondhand Trail-Gator from E-bay. This is essentially a tow-bar for a Small person’s bike, but it has the advantage that they can un-hitch and ride along for a bit on their own if they want to.
We were most delighted with our bargainantious purchase and smugly congratulated ourselves at how much money My Make Do and Mend Year was saving us.
Until hubby went to fit it to my bike, and it was missing a vital part…
It was missing something called a “Shims”, which I am told, wraps around the saddle stem like a cuff if your saddle stem is not big enough. Undeterred, hubby started to improvise and wrapped the stem with insulating tape, and proceeded as normal. All was going well, until we went on a test run and went around a corner and BigSmall and his bike ended up on a bit of a lean.
Still undeterred, hubby retired back to the (now much clearer) garage with a socket set and a spanner (or something like that) and declared that the problem was solved.
So off we set, on Bank Holiday Monday. BigSmall’s bike was in the boot, with SmallSmall’s bike seat, 4 helmets and a picnic, and the 2 Big people’s bikes were mounted onto the snazzy carrier thing that went on the back of the car.
After a small amount of faffing unloading the bikes and preparing for the off (and negotiating SmallSmall into his bike helmet…) we set off to look for the remaining scarecrows and a suitable picnic site.
All was going well, and BigSmall and I were just getting used to the whole Trail-Gator thing, when his bike started to lean again….
A few minor adjustments later, we set off (again), only to stop for a picnic as BigSmall was ‘starving’.



We set off (again) and as soon as we went round a corner BigSmall’s bike started that by now very familiar lean…
We stopped (again. Bear in mind also that every time we stopped, SmallSmall started grizzling. Just to add to the fun…) and Hubby fiddled about a bit and we re-started (again).
This pattern essentially repeated itself until I got fed up and asked whether it would be more sensible to just detach BigSmall from the Trail-Gator and let him ride along on his own. We were clear of the main roads by now, so we decided this was a sensible option. But we hadn’t accounted for the sheer numbers of pedestrians and the attention span of a 4 year old for watching where he was going…
You can all tell where this is going to end up, right? Right. BigSmall biked into the back of some poor unsuspecting pedestrian, flew over the handlebars and ate a large chunk of pavement.
Cue much wailing, snot and tears, with blood and bits of gravel in BigSmall’s mouth.

The jury is still out on whether BigSmall’s front teeth will survive the episode. I am told there is not a lot you can do other than “wait and see if they go black and fall out”. Yay. Thankfully, he has not lost his confidence on his bike and biked into town this morning at speed.

But I have to confess to feeling slightly to blame for the whole sorry tale. If it wasn’t for me and my stupid Make Do and Mend Year and my insistence that we Buy Nothing New, we may well have bought a brand spanking new Trail-Gator, which would have had a bl**dy Shims, and we would have all had a lovely day out biking in the sunshine, and BigSmall would not have a sore mouth.

And don’t even mention the fact that SmallSmall then compounded our ‘lovely day out’ by lobbing one of his sandals out of the open window of the car while we were on our way home…

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  • Reply Workshopshed May 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    The inner tubes should do the job, you basically need something that allows the clamp to grip but without crushing the tube. You might be able to do something with a mousemat if you can separate the foam bit from the hard shiney top.

    • Reply Jen May 17, 2013 at 8:32 am

      That’s great-thankyou! It is on hubby’s list for the weekend…!

  • Reply Heather May 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Oh no! What a day. Although I have to say that it did make me laugh…. sorry. It’s just that I could see something similar happening to me!!

    I hope BigSmall is feeling ok from his crash, but don’t worry, as others have said, accidents happen and it’s not your fault.

    We got a second hand tag along for our youngest and nearly had a disaster with that this weekend. It attaches fine to the adult bike but hubby over inflated the tyre! We were cycling along and I realised it had swollen out of the actual wheel frame and was ready to burst. Luckily we were near a bike shop and they kindly deflated it, put it back in the right place and inflated it again for free.

    I wish you more fun and less stressful cycling days ahead!

    • Reply Jen May 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks Heather 🙂

  • Reply Sarah@everydaylifeonashoestring May 13, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Oh dear! What a tale! I’m with everybody above – accidents do happen and this one sounds unavoidable. I hope Big Smalls teeth will be OK and am so glad dental care falls outside the MDAMY remit…this is one instance where I wouldn’t want you to be reaching for the sugru or modge podge…

    • Reply Jen May 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      I think I’m with you on that one Sarah…!

  • Reply joelleharris May 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    well….you made me smile….that’s life!!

    • Reply Jen May 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      It is indeed Joelle 🙂

  • Reply AngelJem May 13, 2013 at 6:22 am

    OMG!! What a day! Hope BigSmall is fine and that SmallSmall has another sandal pair…. Family days out at that age are lovely (most of the time) but so stressful! At least the sun shone…

    • Reply Jen May 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

      That’s true, would have been even worse if it had started raining..!

  • Reply Hazel May 13, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Oh no! All I can do is echo everybody else and tell you not to blame yourself. Even with all the right parts you may have let him cycle by himself at that point.
    We’ve had plenty of days where things have gone wrong after I’ve talked a reluctant husband into something or other and I really want to stamp my feet and wail “I’m just trying to do the right thing!!!”

    Fingers crossed for his BigSmall, but as homemadekids said, at least they’re not his big teeth…

    • Reply Jen May 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Thanks Hazel.Teeth seem to be ok at the moment, so fingers crossed!

  • Reply bluekrisco May 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Oh, my goodness, what a stressful day, and I know from experience how awful you feel as a parent when your child completely crashes and burns and you “should” (and there’s ALWAYS some way you can think of that you “should”) have saved him or her from it. I have nothing very comforting or wise to add that others haven’t said, but I must say that you described the whole thing so wryly and hilariously that (while feeling sorry for your son) I laughed a lot reading this! The sandal going out the window on the way home was priceless! This will be excellent family dinner conversation in about 15 years, when you stop wanting to scream when you think about it! Bless you for being “real” about life. kristin

    • Reply Jen May 13, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Thanks Kristin. We are already starting to laugh a bit about it. BigSmall is still very happy whizzing around on his bike and hubby has a plan for the trail-gator! Doesn’t stop you feeling guilty though does it..?!

  • Reply homemadekids May 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Some days will be bad. And children are bound to fall of bikes. As a child I got the plus side of such an incident once when riding (on a pony) along a road …a squabbling family managed to hurl a cake (wrapped in plastic, and no doubt bought at the fete down the road) out of their car window. It rolled along the gutter and landed at my terrified pony’s toes. I took it home and my whole family enjoyed eating it. Cross fingers re the teeth – he’ll have big teeth underneath if the unmentionable happens. And a good story to tell his therapist…

    • Reply Jen May 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Do we have to pay for the therapist…?!

  • Reply mehubbyandthekids May 12, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Accidents happen. Yes okay you bought the trail-gator thing second hand. Okay it was missing a piece. So what. The accident happened after you had unhitched him for his own safety. It then became his responsibility to be careful. If the part had snapped or broken due to it being second hand then maybe….only maybe…..could you feel guilty. It was an accident which is defined as “an unplanned event” please don’t feel guilty. BigSmall now has his very own “war wound” to show off at school tomorrow and knowing boys he will love it.

    In the meantime contact the manufacturer and ask for a replacement part to be sent out. You’ve come so far I’d hate for you to start questioning your success now.

    • Reply Jen May 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      Hubby is going to try out using an inner tube instead, and if that doesn’t work out he has managed to track down the real McCoy secondhand…

  • Reply Sue May 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Don’t worry Jen, kids still love you even when it all goes wrong! 50 years ago when I was 8 and my one year old sister was in the pram, I decided it would be a good idea to bounce the pram up and down….yes Carol was not strapped in and flew over the top…followed by the empty tizer bottles that mum would have got 3d each for! Broken glass, crying baby then my sister sat up smiling and said ‘more’!!!! Kids…don’t you just love them!

    • Reply Jen May 12, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Bet your mum was cross..!

  • Reply Hilary May 12, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Do not berate yourself, accidents will happen and at some point in their lives your boys will crash on their bikes and go over the handlebars however careful you are. I had my front teeth knocked out, at 7, having my tonsils out back in the 50’s, can you imagine the fuss there would be if it happened in a hospital now! Big smalls crash happened, he will get over it and it hasn’t dented his bike confidence which is the main thing. I’d contact the seller of the attachment and see if they’ve still got it if not I’m sure the manufacturer will be able to oblige. I know you’re not buying anything new but perhaps gran/grandad might buy it as a very important present to put everyone’s mind at rest about using it with big and little small later. Oh dear I seem to have written a time again Sorry!

    • Reply Jen May 12, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Hubby has been in touch with the seller and they apparently bought it secondhand and never had the necessary bit, although they have suggested an inner tube as an alternative, so hubby is going to try this…

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