The Bloke, July 15: A Welly Walk, then panic stations

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IT is Sunday morning. Our house has gone back on the market and we are hoping someone will want to come and see it. But not just yet.

IT is Sunday morning. Our house has gone back on the market and we are hoping someone will want to come and see it. But not just yet.

A combination of family events and tortured nights of no sleep with our insomniac twins means that we have let things slide a little on the domestic front.

The other night I even went so far as to put some of the Missus’ clothes away in a bid to see our bedroom floor again, only to be told off for putting them in the wrong places.

“I think we need to stay in today and sort this lot out,” I say, gesturing towards the clothes, toys, Peppa Pig magazines and other assorted detritus clogging up what feels like every spare inch of the place.”

“Oh,” says the Missus. “I was going to suggest we do the Welly Walk at Bolton Abbey.”

Just over an hour later, we are embarking on the Welly Walk.

It’s essentially a walk through the pleasant grounds of Bolton Abbey, with child-friendly obstacles appearing every few hundred yards in a bid to bribe them into walking.

It’s working. The children love the ‘Snakes and Ladders’ obstacle, which is essentially a series of wooden steps bolted on to the side of a muddy hill that lead to a length of plastic piping they can slide down.

Each of my children insists they have ten goes and I nearly slip and plunge backwards down the hill on at least half of them.

By the time we get to the car park it’s lunchtime, so we unroll our picnic rug and eat cheese and ham sandwiches.

When we finish we pack everything up in readiness to go home. The only trouble is that this isn’t the car park we parked in.

That is a 25-minute walk back up the steep, winding hill. And with the twins stopping every 10 yards to demand a carry or alert us to an impending call of nature that is, on all but one occasion, a false alarm, it takes us a good hour and a bit to get to it.

By the time we get home it’s 4.30 – and the Missus suddenly remembers we’ve got some mince that needs to be used today.

While I’m turning it into spaghetti bolognese, I check the answer phone messages. The estate agent has called, asking if someone can come round for a viewing the following afternoon.

Panic stations kick in.

The children refuse to go to bed, which is probably because of all the vacuuming, scrubbing and mopping that’s going on. At one point, shortly before midnight, the Missus starts crying.

I decide now is not the right time to ask if I’ve put her clothes in the right places.

By the morning, the place looks pretty good. It won’t stay that way, but for the narrow window of our viewing it will pass muster.

At work, as I try not to nod off at my desk, the phone rings. It’s the estate agent.

“Something’s come up. Can he see it on Wednesday instead?”

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