Aware of my acute failings to support my child's formal learning, or more so, my inherent lack of flair for such a task, I recently pondered what I might be naturally good at teaching him.
The school holidays were again a six-week long hedonistic period of time, and, yes, I'm proper head almost in the sand about the impact that has on our general household finances.
Anyway, back to point, we spent a lot of time together. Me and the boy.
I was full of intentions to keep up his excellent school work of the last twelve months, and while he did read, write and work on his maths, he did so not from school materials. They stayed firmly - technically decomposing - in his school bag.
We worked on his surfing skills one sunny but blustery afternoon. I was impressed with how he listened to me, and how well he'd progressed since last summer. I think all his riding to school, on his bike and scooters, have improved his balance.
I really enjoyed our afternoon in the sea, watching him get better and better at catching waves, but actually my favourite father-son moment from the summer holidays was probably when teaching him to weaponise wildlife.
No, I don't have a recipe for blending exotic plants and animals into potent chemical formulae, but I do know how to make a countryside walk a little more entertaining, albeit mischievous.
Max was somewhat reluctant to take a two mile uphill walk for some reason, and was adopting his tic like repetition of: 'I'm bored."
And when I got, err, bored of my "Well, stop being bored, then." riposte, It was then I remembered how I made walks more interesting or tolerable as a child.
What you do is you uproot a wild flower, or two, with a bud like head, preferably dead ones, like these:
(You can really see that scepticism/attitude can't you?)
Next, you make a loop with the stalk of the plant, like so:
(Did they ever do this on Blue Peter?)
Then, and almost finally, you fold the stalk over itself, pinching it with one hand, and using the other to operate the 'bow' that you have created:
Consider yourself armed. Finally simply aim, deploy and destroy (or that might actually be dink softly) like this:
Now that's flower power baby.
A lesson I herby endeth, and how I turned a grumpy standoff into one of my favourite memories of the summer holidays. There is no homework this week.
My apologies if you think I'm bad, and disrespectful of our environment, but check out my chum Dan, he pops Himalayan Balsam, FOR FUN!