Ricky the Red Panda

Well evidently all this stuff about Paul going up three mountains was not an elaborate cover up for his actual appearance in the Big Brother House. Nope he really fancied climbing three mountains in 48 hours. From what I can gather it has been an elating experience but also a ridiculously windy one. The weather forecast suggests he was “buffeted”. I get the feeling he might use a stronger word.

Anyway he’s on his way home from Wales in a bus and I imagine when he comes in he’s going to stink and the washing machine will struggle with the state of his clothing. He’s also going to get a massive hug. Well probably after he’s had a bath.
I’ll tell you more about what he’s been up to when I find out, but for now I thought I’d blog our weekend without him.

Tilly came home on Friday as Star of the Day, Star of the Week and weekend keeper of Ricky the Red Panda (a toy I’m relieved to report). Clearly I don’t need to worry about her settling back in at school. So then we had to incorporate Ricky into our weekend and unsurprisingly Tilly was keen to take pictures and write the diary provided. That girl does love a project.
Firstly she wanted me to find out where red panda’s live and on doing so insisted on making the Himalayas in our living room out of books. She also discovered that they eat bamboo so went out to pick leaves from the garden. Obviously he didn’t fancy the toad in the hole I cooked for tea. I tried not to be hurt.
After brief but intense fighting over the panda and subsequent Mummy diversion Phoebe selected a giraffe as her pet. Then she changed her mind to a bear. When the Himalaya caves weren’t big enough to house the bear Grandad made some more out of cardboard boxes. Paul would have been in his artistic element.
The following morning Grandad took Ricky to watch Tilly swimming. It’s blinkin boiling in the gallery. I expect he wished he didn’t have a fur coat on. I wasn’t responsible enough to hold Ricky so had to help Tilly get changed instead.
After that we went out to Sheffield Manor Discovery Centre as they had a heritage open day on. Several women referred to Ricky as a “nice raccoon”. I hope he wasn’t too upset. I’m just pleased Tilly didn’t hear them get it wrong or there would have been hell to pay.
It was a lovely morning. Ricky sat on some rocks,
watched Tilly make some rope and went round the lodge on a guided tour. Then we ate sandwiches and bought a kite which was a bit mental in the wind but quite hilarious. Ricky had his photo taken on a branch and went down the slide a few times. Funny how Ricky wanted to do all the things Tilly likes doing.
Last night I couldn’t sleep for obvious reasons and through a sense of profound guilt this morning I felt the need to do something useful. So I attempted to condense an enormous amount of stuff from the studio into a small shed. It was impossible but I did move some things around so it looks different.
I spent an hour, while mum and dad were in the park with the girls (and Ricky), convincing myself we had rats. I was sure I could hear squeaking. After a hour I realised the squeaking was coming from my shoes. That was a relief. I am very scared of rats though. I think Ricky would see off any rats though. So now I need a Red Panda to live in my back garden along with the wasp attacking badger.
Throughout the weekend I checked Facebook, and Google Latitude, a million times as well as continually checking the weather forecasts for Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. The mention of Hurricane Katia didn’t do much for my nerves.
And then this evening Paul rang to say he’d done it. He’s happy, I’m happy, Mum, Dad and the girls are happy and Ricky was chuffed to bits.

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