A couple of weeks ago Ian noticed a fairly large hole in the roof of our 5 month old tunnel plastic. He quizzed us all, trying to figure out how it got there. Nobody had any idea - it was a mystery. I knew that it wasn't me and the children were all very convincing in their denial too. The ragged plastic turned outwards towards the sky, indicating that something must have poked it from the inside out. The hole was too big for a rake or broom handle though and we were puzzled as to what implement could have caused such a tear.
And then a couple of days later the truth began to dribble out...... Ella did it, she climbed on to the roof .... Becky did it too, but she couldn't get to the top ..... she told me to ..... she was trying to see the neighbours..... and so the tattle tales went on all day.
Finally the pieces were put together and it seems that our 6 year old had taken off her shoes and socks and climbed up the outside right to the top of the tunnel before her foot went through. The plastic was pulled outwards as she had to pull her foot back out again to make her way safely down. When I asked her 'was she not scared that she might fall off?' a small smile appeared on the edge of her lips and I could see that she was remembering the fun of sliding all the way back off it again, although she didn't dare say.
Ian was pretty cross, despite telling them that they wouldn't get into trouble if they owned up, it was a hard promise to keep under the circumstances. It may have drastically reduced the life span of the plastic given that it's already in an exposed field, so we'll have to patch it as soon as we can. Her weight has also pulled the roof downward a bit so we'll have to make a decision whether to somehow stretch the plastic back over the end without damaging it, or leave it be.
And Dan was annoyed with their 'stupidity' too (his word) - he's almost grown up now at nearly 11 and feels a lot more responsibility towards possessions and belongings.
I'm disappointed I guess, and relieved that she didn't fall right through (she's not the smallest 6 year old). Part of me knows that they're just kids who don't know any better, but I'd like to feel that they should. Whats done is done.
On the positive side it's good to know that the plastic will (almost) withstand a weight like that (although when you'd expect anything larger than hail stones to hit it beats me).
So if you have a tunnel, or are thinking about getting one, please take heed. Don't assume that your little angels will leave it alone -in their eyes it's a big climbing adventure and not an investment for your potential dinner or business. Sometimes what's obvious to us isn't to them.