Grains of sand are great for muscles

European workers including nurses, social workers and teaching assistants protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London before lobbying MPs over their right to remain in the UK.  Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

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With the lighter evenings and warmer weather now here, I made a visit to the local toy store recently, on the hunt for something for Caitlin to play with outside in the garden.

And whilst wandering around the large toy shop, spoilt for choice, I noticed what looked like a small table.

It was made of plastic and had four legs. Just small enough for a child to eat their dinner on, if accompanied by a chair of a similar size.

But when I looked at the packaging I noticed this table wasn’t made for dinner time.

The young children were standing next to it with plastic spades and buckets in their hands and not an edible food item in sight.

The plastic surface of the table is actually made up of two large flaps that open up to reveal two bowls.

According to the picture, one of these bowls is used for sand and the other for water.

Perfect, I thought. While I’m sitting in the garden enjoying the rays, Caitlin can get some fresh air and have fun with sand and water.

So with the not too heavy box containing the table gripped under one arm, and a large bag of play sand in the other, off I went to the checkout.

It was at this point that I wished I’d had a pound to pay for a trolley.

How can so many tiny grains of sand in a plastic bag turn out to be so heavy?

To be honest, the man at the checkout did ask if I needed some help to the car.

But trying to appear like my muscles could cope with a box and a mere bag of sand, I declined and started walking back to the car.

Why didn’t I park closer to the store, I thought?

Back at home I struggled with my heavy surprise from the front of our house to the back, hoping Caitlin would appreciate the gift that had made her daddy re-consider joining the gym.

Thankfully, she was thrilled with her new toy.

And the exhaustion from carrying it all was worth it after seeing the smile on her face.

I’d soon set it up and emptied the sand into one of the bowls, followed by some water in the other.

Caitlin stood there in a shady part of the garden playing with it for what seemed like hours.

Although, sand has now become my enemy.

Not because of the freaky way one grain of sand becomes so heavy when joined by lots of other tiny grains – but because it gets everywhere.

Like glitter and Christmas tree needles, sand likes to stick around.

My partner Serena is pleased though.

I’ve finally made friends with the vacuum cleaner.