Now the sleepy little village of Sandridge, just outside St Albans isn’t the usual place you would expect to find Cheetahs, or indeed Banana People or Dinos. However, just because the road sign says one thing, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a secondary name that you just happen not to know.
It has come to the attention of their keeper that there is more than one way home from places and a trip down the winding lanes of Hertfordshire can throw up plenty of unexpected things to look at. So instead of our usual trip home from Welwyn Garden City, we took to the hills to see the radio mast (that we can see from Alice’s bedroom window) and the other stuff we’re not supposed to know about up there (see radio mast link!).
On the way down the road curves round and becomes ‘Banana Lane’. Now most locals would think that this road is called House Lane but apparently not. It then leads onto Banana Street (the sign says High Street but who am I to argue?) – where all the Banana People’s friends live. They therefore have easy access to DJ Jungle Soft Play because, as we know, the Banana People aren’t particularly keen on playing outside in the wet, a pretty straightforward route to our house and lots of fields for the Cheetahs to run around in when they come to visit. I’m not entirely sure what the Dinos thought but there are plenty of muddy puddles and a proper football pitch so I’m fairly confident they’d enjoy a trip out there, as and when the need arises.
Now the Banana People have additional friends and family (although I’m not so keen on the idea that they come to tea) the needs of the Cheetahs have had to be re-considered. They seemed to have settled in nicely to the new school shoes – to the extent that they required a great deal of encouragement to come out on Monday morning and bit their keeper’s toes in the process. Still, once out and in his pockets, things did seem to improve and off they all trotted to Breakfast Club without much further ado. It transpires however that the Cheetahs are finding it a little difficult to get into his shoes when tired as the springs in the bottom of their feet don’t work then – they just want to crawl in and the new shoes are a bit high at the back. Maybe that’s why they’re back sleeping in the snuggly blanket again?
As previously mentioned, their keeper had been focussed at the end of last week on painting a ‘play area’ for them at school. The paint has come out of his polo shirt (with thanks to M&S for ‘stain defence‘!) and the box – sorry, play area was duly bought home on Monday – with much heralding in the playground to anyone who would listen.
Now, for those you unaccustomed to the requirements of 4 groups of Cheetah… The top item is the play area for the Cheetahs – this is where they can play football safely inside (I guess to stop the ball running away). What looks uncannily like a wrapping paper tube and some green paper is a Cheetah Tunnel – but it’s only for the little Cheetahs…
They’re allowed in two at a time and they can run through it in ‘this’ direction. If any of them get stuck or scared (their keeper is thoughtful – perhaps due to his dislike of dark tunnels?) one of the Mummy Cheetahs can go in and help them out. She’ll have to bend down to get in and can go down to where they are stuck, help them wriggle through and then they can go out frontwards whilst she goes out backwards. He seems to have thought of everything.
Junk modelling is a new concept to Giles (although he does thoroughly enjoy space travel in a large empty cardboard box or the washing basket) – the fact that he’s doing it to keep his Cheetahs happy seems to show a depth of creativity and awareness of the needs of others – I reckon that’s pretty cool when you’re 4.
So today the Cheetahs have been back to school but as soon as they had finished flew (with the Buzz Lightyear wings I think – although they may have gone by car) down to their football pitch for more games with their friends. I think they may have been motivated by their trip to football yesterday – their keeper was adamant that they’d have liked to go into his class for him but was finally convinced that he needed to go too. Having had to partake as well I can kind of understand why he was a bit apprehensive (not only are most of the others 6, they don’t have wonky feet) and there is a high presence of Arsenal shirts – I must teach him the “I think the score was 8-2” line, fast.
When your confidence isn’t great and the combination of late night nosebleeds, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and being in your first full week in Reception makes everything so very, very tiring, it’s easy to see why even the noise of 8 boys going into a sports hall is completely overwhelming. EDS generally means that it takes twice as much effort to get your body to do what you want it to (vs a ‘normal’ person) so his achievements in football show he’s making a phenomenal effort to keep up – even if it does mean that he’s asleep before his head hits the pillow. Hopefully he’ll be able to build up the stamina so that he can go out and play football after school in the sunshine with his Cheetahs or go puddle jumping with the Dinos. In the meantime, a small cuddly boy on my lap with the Cheetahs playing in their tunnel is just fine by me – just as long as they don’t want any more friends round to play, I’m not sure I can make that much fruit salad…