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How to build a set of monkey bars without instructions

PUBLISHED: 11:34 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 24 May 2018

Keola is so happy to finally see big sister Sunny.   Picture: contributed

Keola is so happy to finally see big sister Sunny. Picture: contributed

Archant

We can work it out. She’s finally touched down, but there’s no rest for this big sister.

It was a long wait at Norwich Airport for big sister to land.  Picture: contributedIt was a long wait at Norwich Airport for big sister to land. Picture: contributed

Sunny’s plane was well over three hours late, but the joy on her sisters’ faces when she finally walked through the doors at Norwich Airport made the wait worthwhile.

Keola, not normally that keen on hugs, clung to her as if collecting all the cuddles she’s missed since she saw number one at Christmas. Thalia joined in and I finally had all my gorgeous girls in the same place.

I hadn’t realized how much I was worrying about her until that moment, when I stopped worrying.

Finally her delayed aircraft landed safely;  number one is back. Picture: contributedFinally her delayed aircraft landed safely; number one is back. Picture: contributed

She’s successfully completed a year of uni in Canada, travelled and made it home to Norfolk safely. Her belongings seem to be some weeks behind her, but she’s home after nine months away and we’re so happy.

Sunny arrived home on Keola’s tenth birthday and is definitely the favourite present. Thalia keeps looking at her as if she can’t believe she’s home and I can’t quite believe that we’re singing Happy Birthday and eating birthday cake at 10pm. My no-sugar anywhere-near-bedtime ethos is suspended for birthday and homecomings.

“I think I’ll unpack a bit tomorrow, sort my room out and have a little nap,” says Sunny, once we’ve unpeeled the girls from her and shooed them to bed.

Norwich Airport and I'm so happy to have my three girls back together.  Picture: contributedNorwich Airport and I'm so happy to have my three girls back together. Picture: contributed

Clearly she’s forgotten my habit of making plans in my head for other people and assuming they know them.

She has a couple of minutes imagining her peaceful day until I tell her she’s helping me build monkey bars tomorrow.

I have a pile of wood, a handful of screws, nuts, bolts and washers and no instructions. I know they can be monkey bars, I saw them when built. The owner had a slight toppling moment while dismantling, but it’s all sorted and all we have to do is build.

I've got all the bits for the monkey bars, but no instructions. Picture contributedI've got all the bits for the monkey bars, but no instructions. Picture contributed

After three hours the next day we’ve almost put four bolts and five screws in, and have an idea of how it might look. It’s involved a lot of squinting at photos online adn trying to zoom in on which way round the bolts go, hunting tools, trying to fit bits into the screwdriver, dropping washers, putting in screws, taking them out and trying to get them in straight.

But we’re working really well together and while her first day home is busier than Sunny expected, we are doing this.

It’s brilliant how number one daughter is good at this too.

Number one discovered she's pretty adept with a power drill. Picture: contributedNumber one discovered she's pretty adept with a power drill. Picture: contributed

She used to wander off, sighing, mid task, or take three hours to get ready to do anything in the hope, I think, that it would be done by the time she got there. Now here she is, a daughter of mine being a handy adult; using tools, holding wood, developing a plan, turning her phone into a spirit level and continually picking up the bits I keep dropping.

Another five hours later, via school, gym and ballet runs, we finish, it’s just about the right shape and it doesn’t wobble that much. We’ve one nut which won’t fit on and a couple of washers left, but it’s up.

Keola is beside herself with joy. Sunny and I are very proud of ourselves.

We did it. Monkey bars constructed and one very delighted ten year old.   Picture: contributedWe did it. Monkey bars constructed and one very delighted ten year old. Picture: contributed

‘I’m going to Dad’s tomorrow,’ she says. She’s desperate to see her Dad - and for that nap!

After waiting for Sunny's plane to arrive, for hours, birthday cake was rather late in the day.  Picture: contributedAfter waiting for Sunny's plane to arrive, for hours, birthday cake was rather late in the day. Picture: contributed

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