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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Monday, 23 June 2014

A day at the races

Granddad, Dad (Darren) and future Seb Vettel
I'm bad at organising holidays. I tend to wander thoughtlessly, expecting holidayish things to happen. Mostly they don't.

An inadequate education left me lacking cultural depth. By happenstance, a word I first encountered in a James Bond novel, my luck changed on Wednesday. I was  wondering idly whence the k came in karting (Don't tell me; the desire died long ago.), we had a short chat and our whole group drove over to the immaculately maintained Circuit de Caussiniojouls. Five of  us willing to give karting a shot.

Not me, of course. Once I was forced into a ski-slalom and was appalled by the number of skiers who crashed out. I made finishing my priority and did finish – but last. As compensation the non-ski-ing Oz manager of the event gave me a mint humbug. Horrible humiliation.

At Caussiniojouls 1 m 25 cm grandson Zach was reckoned too small to race communally and drove his laps alone, under the stigma of a flapping flag. First he trundled, then speeded up. Entering the pits after his first stint he over-shot (“didn't brake hard enough”) and used the fence as a catch-all.

Daughter Occasional Speeder regularly drives me in my Skoda, does so with panache, but wasn't comfortable with the hairline sensitivity of the kart's steering. Granddaughter Bella, constantly exploring the rumble-strips, got progressively smoother and faster. But the two lads, OS's hubbie Darren and Bella's partner Daniel, became faster and more daring, overtaking and making a real race of it.

Coward Me and VR watched and were thrilled. Afterwards, as the heroes shouted out their excitement, the sense of adrenalin was palpable. Faces shone. Not exactly a cultural experience. Closer to  bonding, a word which I fear has always sickened me.

VR and Occasional Speeder happy as Larry

Dad as Pooh Bear according to OS

7 comments:

Ellena said...

My twin grandchildren ( older daughter)loved the visits to grandma during summer break but more so they loved the outings to the Go-Kart piste nearby. Now at age 25 they each own their car and I don't know what bate to use to lure them here.
Another set of young ones has been waiting in the wings and I'll be doing same as you in July.

Rouchswalwe said...

Growing up, my family did not believe in taking holidays together, so it with something akin to awe that I read your summer holiday posts each year. It sounds sort of wonderful, and yet, I most likely wouldn't take part in racing. I would be the trundler, most happy in a horse-drawn carriage with a glass of wine in my hand watching the scenery go by.

Stella said...

There is a track not far from our cottage but no grandchildren to entertain, and I don't even want to mention the girl who got her long hair caught in something mid-circuit and..... There's a sky diving outfit not far in the other direction, but more than one parachute has failed to open and last year someone came whizzing out of the sky and crashed directly into a summer backyard barbeque. I'd be right with you on the sidelines where it is nice and safe.
I always think I'd love a ride on the monster roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland and use the tiresome long line up as the best excuse not to.

Roderick Robinson said...

Ellena: Send them (the older ones) occasional postcards written in the same style as your most successful posts, notably the ones I've felt most inclined to compliment. They'll realise they have a literary treasure as a grandmother and they'd be fools to allow you to moulder.

And it's never too soon to apply these same techniques to the younger ones.

The substance of what you write should never beg but should reminisce about the good times. By reminisce I mean calling up details of shared events which only you observed and which may come fresh to the recipients.

RW (zS): Eh, Rowksvalve, thee art nobbut a lass. When we were younger, yet free of parental obligations, VR and I took holidays just the pair of us. These more recent communal events are the product of our sere and withered old age. There was another reason I didn't kart. Daniel eventually lost out to Darren because he was much taller and thus heavier. I am taller and (thus) heavier than Daniel. I appreciate your desire to hold back but we both must do things that are genuinely new.

Stella: All were willing lambs to the slaughter. However, I don't think I would have financed sky-diving - too risky. Yet the idea of doing something new is a recurrent "prod". I have willingly circumscribed my life under the false excuse that everything I write is new but I know I'm deluding myself.

Over a year ago I did take up something new (which alas I may not mention) and this has hugely widened my general experience. The way you write suggests a lively personality, sniffing at life around you, and rendering it well. I feel sure that you would respond profitably (ie, inevitably I mean write well about it) to something new provided it didn't contain the seeds of embarrassment (often a worse threat than that of death).

The danger is as we get older (I freely confess it) the rate of change slows down and what changes there are usually turn out to be materialistic. Hurriedly I must add you are in no sense a fuddy-duddy (the breezy nature of this most recent comment - designed to fit the tone I took in the post - proves that) and all that needs to be alive is still alive.

Lucy said...

My sister Alison, always the most adventurous of the Masters girls in such regards, though perhaps the most sensible when it came to marriage, once persuaded me to go on one of those virtual ride things on Brighton pier where you put on goggles and get thrown around in your seat. I baulked, not out of fear but possibly out of a sense that it was rather vulgar and pointless, but in fact it was hilarious. It was the occsaion we went down to scatter my mum's ashes so it seemed quite appropriate somehow.

I quite like those little tourist trains that go round historic towns but Tom won't go on them, for fear of humiliation I think. Not sure I'd go for the karting, with or without the k. In fact I might go for it wiht a c, as that might be more rustic and sedate.

Lucy said...

Oh, and that's a lovely picture of VR and OS, the latter's teeth look enviably white, straight and healthy, childhood consumption of Nutch notwithstanding!

Roderick Robinson said...

Lucy: Scattering ashes - an awkward process as I mentioned a week or two ago - needs a random element. I'm sure the incidentals of the Big Dipper have fixed the occasion more memorably. I'm with Tom on the little trains (though not when it comes to Proust). There's one in Vichy, a place where we were never entirely comfortable. Taking a ride in it might have suggested we agreed with (or at the very least forgave) Pierre Laval.

OS, as you know, was born in the USA. No doubt there's something in the water.