‘Boot Camp?  Like in the Military?  I don’t even own any boots, only trainers.  Is Brian going too?’

My son stares at me through narrowed eyes, arms crossed, already a couple of inches above me in height and leagues ahead of me in attitude.  Prepared for his reaction, I silently place a flyer in front of him which explains the 5 day summer course based up in the Alhaurin hills called ‘Eagles Training Camp’.  With a sullen expression he reads it, grunts a couple of times and then looks back up at me.

‘So, basically it’s like the scouts but with no dib dibbing, considerably hotter with mutant sized mosquitoes?’ He enquires.

I nod my head in agreement and remain quiet as he takes the pamphlet into his bedroom and closes the door.  I can hear the familiar sound of the X box controller being taken out of its stand and I reach for the phone, hoping he will forgive me in years to come for making this decision on his behalf. 

Thinking back to my own childhood filled with fresh air and conkers amid endless summer holidays, I smile at the recollection of my bygone youth.  San izal, a prerequisite in all the school toilets then once we escaped the confines of our dusty classrooms, playing kiss chase until the sun set over our freckled faces.  Faggots and peas or Findus crispy pancakes graced most of the dinner tables in our cul de sac, in fact anything highly processed and on offer at Kwik Save being the staple diet of most children of the 70’s, the more E numbers, the better.

Looking down at my weathered hands, I dial the number on the flyer and after a brief conversation with a lovely lady called Debbie, the wife of Micky (ex military, no nonsense) my only child is booked on the 5 day survival course which provides children & teens the basic skills to cope in the wilderness, and also how to deal with bullies in the real world.  The small selection of boys and girls would sleep in adjoining tents placed adjacent to the family house, high up in the hills and I smile to myself, wishing I was young again and able to happily function on a daily basis without the aid of HRT or Silverkrin.

Sitting on our apartment balcony I hold the still warm phone in my hand and look out over the street.  The world is passing by in a sunny haze of garbled conversation and noisy mopeds.  My son’s bedroom door opens and he walks over to where I am sat.  Silently, he places his arms around my neck and gives me a hug.  I smile up into his brown eyes, knowing full well the difficulties he faces, an English child in a foreign land approaching his teenage years.

‘Ok, I’ll do it, it actually looks good fun.  But I want to take lots of Haribo for snacks and get my hair cut before I go’.  Nodding my head in agreement I hug him back and fail to mention that he is already enrolled starting the following Monday and that, although the camp is in the wilderness, they conveniently have a tuck shop available on site from 3-5pm.

Brian places a paw upon my lap and looks beseechingly at me; it’s time for his morning walk.  Clipping his lead on, I bribe the boy child to accompany us on our jaunt with the promise of an ice cream en route.  The hairy hound is also partial to a lick of a strawberry mivi and we all set off before the sun has time to heat up the pavement below his naked pads.

‘Where’s the car parked mum?  I’ve not been in it for weeks’ my son enquires, as we make our way over the Miramar Bridge.  I point in the direction of the car park where our dusty jeep sits forlornly in the corner, patiently awaiting its next adventure.

Unfortunately, the one down side of living in the town centre is the lack of parking.  Food shopping is nigh impossible.  A trip to Lidl involves double parking outside the apartment, hurling all of the shopping into the communal hall, jumping back into the car, parking it several miles away, sprinting back on foot to the flat to find everything has already defrosted and henceforth, that evenings tea will consist of a various assortment of food items that cannot be refrozen.

‘Why don’t you sell the car mum and get a couple of motorbikes; at least we can leave those parked outside the flat…can I have 3 scoops?’ he asks all in one breath while perusing the assortment of sugar laden Helado’s on offer.

I stop dead in my tracks, of course, this is the obvious solution, why didn’t I think of it myself.  Flog the car and get a couple of mopeds, do as the locals do, when in Rome and all that.  After all, what could possibly go wrong?

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