‘I never wanted to come on this weekend trip anyway!’ A five foot ten chimp with ice cool eyes glared right at me, as we stood in an idyllic field behind an even more idyllic English country pub. ‘Here we go again,’ my chimp retorted, having heard this type of comment before. ‘It’s always bloody hard work and the kids are always bloody hard work. And I’m the one who’s always in charge. And I’m really knackered and I’m…’ ‘Yes it is and yes you are!’ I countered, feeling weary as my chimp whispered in my ear: ‘He always does this, on every trip we go on he always has a melt down. And he’ll never listen to you. And he’ll always shout you down. And you’ll always feel…’
As mentioned before, the canoe trip is always hard work. We are a family of eight, so the camping and canoeing equipment is a mission to organise, then add the six children to the mix… It’s fun but very tiring. The tipping point is a fine balance to uphold. Over the course of the whole weekend I would say we were mostly successful. However, there was a small incident were one of the children lit the stove and attempted to boil water using an electric kettle. It is after this incident, after a tiring first day that the opening paragraph took place.
The confrontation could have resulted in a major argument and the two of us not talking for the remainder of the trip. I didn’t start the conversation off particularly well but I did end it by excusing my chimp and myself to take away the litter. I did this literally. My partner and I have both read the book and continue to do so. A while later we crossed paths at the washing up sink with a smile and a hug. All forgiven but not quite forgotten.