July 27: A Birthday Treat, I: How it started.

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Tommy was feeling pretty good when he awoke because it was his special day, his birthday, and it was a Saturday – so no school! He washed and went downstairs. Mum gave him a kiss and his present, a computer game. His two brothers and his sister also gave him presents and them they all sang to him, ‘Happy birthday, dear Tommy’, which made him feel very good because being the youngest he sometimes felt a trifle overlooked.

Then Tommy had his favourite breakfast, ‘Shreddies’, followed by scrambled eggs. But Tommy had been promised a special treat and these were just the preliminaries. After breakfast Mum called all the family to put on warm clothes because they were going out to have a little adventure.

A few moments later they left the house and walked down the High Street, past the Harbour and the old railway station and the football pitch, on to where the new boating pool had been developed. There was an old boating lake but Tommy considered the new one to be far superior because it was  much bigger and had more powerful boats which went much faster, moreover you could land on the islands in the middle of the lake.

However, the most exciting and dramatic aspect of the whole scene for Tommy was the way that when the boat’s number was called at the end of the hire period, if the driver did not respond quickly, the athletic young boatmen who ran the operation would take a flying leap from the shore to the bow of the boat and steer it in to the docking area. For Tommy these young men were a combination of Tarzan and 007.

Tommy’s Mum although in her mid-40’s was still strong and active, an excellent swimmer and a good tennis player who felt quite confident about steering the boat. So Tommy and his Mum and brothers set off without more ado and circled the islands in the middle of the lake before making a brief landing. But time was passing quickly, too quickly for Tommy who was enjoying the whole experience and was a bit surprised that his Mum seemed so competent that she would probably not require a young Adonis to leap on to the bow of her boat to steer her in.


To be continued.

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