Joanne Gallacher
By Joanne Gallacher

My summer with the Kids… So far!

Summer 'Bucket list' required - please!

My summer with the kids is in full swing and whilst it’s wonderful to spend 6 weeks with my gorgeous cherubs, I’m already running out of ideas for cheap days out though.

My summer with the kids

In addition, they are eating me out of house and home, bickering, fighting and generally annoying each other.  I also have an 87-year-old Grandmother who is keen for us to take her out in her archaic wheelchair and we’ve just had a new family member too.

After weeks and weeks of begging and pleading we have finally agreed that the girls can have a kitten. We lost our gorgeous 17- year-old cat Jeffrey in December 2012 and he left a hole in our hearts. As I recently saw printed on a tea towel – “A cat makes a house a home”.

Daughter number one was adamant she wanted a girl and ideally a ginger one. I phoned around the rescue centres and they either didn’t have kittens at all, or the ones they had couldn’t be housed with children and a West Highland Terrier or a grumpy 40-year-old Mancunian husband.

We finally got word of a ginger girl looking for a new home who was right here in our village – perfect. We brought her home and took her straight to the vets for a check up and first needles. The worsed case scenario going around my brain was that we may get told she was more Ginger Tom than Ginger Rogers. No problem though, she was loved already. How wrong I was………

When the vet called us in I could tell by her concerned face that something wasn’t quite right. Our little kitten was cold, dehydrated, thin and sneezing. She had to be hospitalised, put on a drip and given antibiotics.

Upon leaving her there my youngest who is three became hysterical demanding she get her cat back – she had no name as we’d only had her two hours!

When I arrived home I phoned the vet so I could speak to her privately without the girls ear wigging! She explained that the kitten was seriously ill and the next 24 hours were critical – I agreed to give her a fighting chance but I explained that I didn’t have a bottomless pit of money and was concerned about the rising costs. I was instructed to call back the next morning.

Well, the next day I was told she was better but would need another night in. Just as I thought I may need to sell a kidney to pay for the treatment the vet said they’d juggle the figures for me and I allowed myself to breathe.

After 48 hours in the vets and having only known us for two hours we went to pick up little kitten with no-name. She was like a different cat. Her eyes were glowing, she was more vocal and so active – we fell in love again and I realised that I’d made the right decision in giving her a fighting chance. She’s been home a few days now and she’s the belle of the ball. All our hearts have been captured and our Westie doggie is also coming around too.

We had a long list of names including Duchess from (The Aristocats), Fudge (Daughter number one’s choice), Dilys (Husband’s choice), Lamby (The number two's suggestion) and my pick – Rita Hayworth.

In the end we went for Bess, after Good Queen Bess or Elizabeth the 1st as she was known, another famous Ginger. The regal moniker fits her perfectly.

Queen Bess

We still have a long way to go – she needs to gain weight but she is eating and drinking lots and has well and truly landed on her feet!

She should help keep the girls occupied throughout the summer but I need other plans too. We’ve already been strawberry picking and we go back Friday to pick green beans with the Grandmother, just hope I’m strong enough to push the wheelchair through the rutted fields! Otherwise the grandmother will have to sit in the field for the rest of the summer. He he...

Anyway, I digress. Listed below is some other ideas I came across that I thought you could do without spending too much money. Also, one of our writer's posted up a good blog about visiting local galleries and museums, it was entitled day out guide for mums on a budget.

Things to do and try out with the kids

* Visit galleries and museums - All free entry, or should be!

* Local parks to play and have fun, take bikes, bats and balls or play a nature trail.

* Head to your nearest beach, bucket and spade day, take a picnic to keep it cheap.

* If it rains go on a wellie walk, somewhere interesting to splash and have fun.

* Have a baking day at home, not necessarily cheap but still creative.

* Have a DVD/film day where you get to tidy up the house whilst the kids watch movies.

If you have any other ideas please feel free to add a comment about it below.

Also, if you're a member of the National Trust, they recently put together a bucket list of 50 things kids should do before they're 12.

Check out the link and see if any of those activities are of interest.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the holidays! Xx

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