Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And the worst mother award, goes to....

First of all I’ve got to say Happy Birthday to Daughter (my youngest) who has become a teenager today!

And that, she says segueing neatly, is why I’m too geriatric to be camping … in tents … ‘luxurious’ or otherwise. (If you missed yesterday’s post, you need to scroll down to read it for this to make sense.)

It doesn’t look bad, does it? It wasn’t bad as tents go … I just prefer not to go anywhere near tents any more …unless they’re beer tents, wedding marquees or possibly, as a customer, the WI jam tent … and only then for raspberry jam with the pips left in.

The British Women’s Group donated some money to an NGO, the Elephant Conservation Network to provide desperately needed equipment for the rangers. Nobody was available from the welfare group to attend the handing over of the equipment so the invitation was put to the rest of the committee. We had cancelled a weekend in Kanchanaburi only a few weeks before – we wanted to walk the Hellfire Pass – so we decided it would be an ideal opportunity to go and see where the BWG money had gone.

So that’s why nine people were crammed into a pick up truck and bumping over four wheel drive terrain toward the rangers’ station in a forest in Kanchanaburi, home to 170 wild elephants. The four children were in the back; the five adults in the cab. I had expressed concern at the safety of this but as you can see from this picture, as well as myriad others of men using pneumatic drills in flip flops etc, health and safety in Thailand? Pah. I was shouted down. I made them promise to hold on tightly.

Half an hour of being jiggered and jolted over rivers, up and down banks, through falls of bamboo, we arrived safely at the rangers’ station. The children beamed at their adventure and Son announced that the ride alone was worth coming to Kanchanaburi for.

(Tomorrow I will tell you about the elephants, presenting the equipment etc but as I don’t want to tease you any further, we’ll crack on to the x-ray part of the anecdote - sorry.)

Eventually it was time to leave to meet our car back at the guard station by the roadside, so we all climbed back into the pick up. Daughter asked if she could use my sunglasses as the dust was bad in the open back.

The terrain prevented us from going fast but it’s flatter at this point so we’ve picked up some speed to maybe 25 mph. I guess we’re half way through the forest and suddenly there’s a banging on the pick up roof, B hits the brakes and comes to a stop. Daughter leaps out of the back of the truck to retrieve my sunglasses. The dust trail billows, catching up with the pick-up, I squirm as Daughter wipes the grit over my lenses. Then we’re on our way.

A minute or so later someone bangs on the roof again. I think ‘oh god, why can’t she keep hold of them?’ There are more hands this time, more urgency. I turn to look into the back. ‘Oh my god, it’s a child … it’s Son.’

Daughter’s out the truck in no time, followed by Husband and I and then the rest of our party. We stand around in a circle, looking at Son who is lying, groaning, on his back among dried bamboo leaves; ochre dust wafting around him...

So dear readers, this is how I won the worst mother of the year award: nominated, accepted and declared out right winner.

Next stop Kanchanaburi Memorial Hospital. Son is declared unfractured, given some pain killers, because oddly he hurts all over and allowed to go on his way.

10 comments:

liz fenwick said...

Oh, JJ, the joys of living life on the edge. It has nothing to do with you being bad a mother and everything to do with life in asia.

Happy day to your new teen.

lx

wordtryst said...

Happy Birthday, youngest daughter!

What a fright you must have had. Riding on the back of trucks was outlawed here, but does that make a difference? Nooooo..... Apparently it's a lot more dangerous than it looks.

We parents all have these guilty-wracked interludes. Believe me; I know.

wordtryst said...

Um, make that 'guilt-wracked'...

Carol and Chris said...

You are not the worst mother and you don't deserve the worst mother award....it was an accident!!! I'm very glad son is ok!!

Happy Birthday lovely daughter. Welcome to teenage life :-)

C x

Caroline said...

Happy Happy Birthday, to your teenage baby girl! x

JJ said...

Liz, I sort of know that but am STILL punishing myself at the moment... It'll pass. Thanks though.

Liane, Thank you for birthday wishes. Oh I did. I felt sick and so worried he wasn't going to wake up in the morning... He did, of course.

Oh but Carol, I knew... KNEW it would be Son who fell out and I didn't make him sit more safely.

Caroline, thanks sweetie.

SueG said...

Oh Jeez...but haven't all us mothers been there in one way or another? Like when I insisted on sending my son to school despite a terrible stomach ache which turned out (5 hours later) to be a bursting appendix? I could go on, but I won't. All I'll say is, welcome to the club. We're all terrible mothers in our heads. Luckily, in reality, we're all doing just fine. And happy birthday to the new teenager!

ChrisH said...

Oh, blerlimy, you don't do things by halves, do you. Glad son didn't need the vinegar and brown paper.

Debs said...

Hope your daughter has a fab day.

Your story takes me back to when I was younger and driven all over South Africa in the back of a pickup. I'm sure you're son will look back on this incident with affection, in years to come.

HelenMHunt said...

Oh dear, this reminds me of when I broke my arm as a child and my parents sent me to bed with aspirin ...