There is only one way to cope with this kind of heat and that is to get naked and wet at every opportunity so I was more than happy to promise my boys a paddling pool and BOY were they excited.
What I didn't do was check that there were any paddling pools still actually in-stock this side of the Watford Gap.
This was an error at the upper end of the 'fundamental errors to make when mothering small children' scale.
Actually there were paddling pools available but only the sort that come with a log flume, swim-up-bar and performing dolphin. And come in the wrong side of £50.
I JUST WANTED A BLEEDIN' PLASTIC RING I COULD FILL WITH WATER.
For like, a fiver?
But of course so did everybody else in the country and such pools were out of stock everywhere.
So I made a (very exciting) promise which I couldn't fulfill and boy did I pay for it.
Despite demonstrating the 'out of stockness' of the pools in just about every shop in the entire county, my son still continued to fall to his knees and sob 'but Mummmeeeeeeee - when are we going to have a paddling pool?' at regular intervals throughout the day. I would just about think I was safe and the trauma was forgotten only for him to randomly let out a cry of 'THE PADDLING POOL THAT'S NEVER COMING, NOT EVER!', followed by a strangled sob, and off we'd go again with a lengthy explanation about stock levels, foreign imports and peaks in demand - which usually ended in me screeching 'THERE JUST AREN'T ANY LEFT IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY. THEY'VE GONE - OK!?' (to which, of course, he would reply 'but WHY!? and start crying again).
In desperation I replaced his paddling pool dream with an empty bottle of Kitchen Surface Spray which I filled with water and permitted him to spray at will around the garden (see motherhood really is the mother of inventiveness....)..
He was delighted with this new toy.
The paddling pool was forgotten about and he played happily with it for ages.
Well, up until I went into the garden and found he had inserted the spray nozzle carefully into his brother's ear and was eagerly filling his head up with water.........
I did eventually source a paddling pool (in the neighbouring County no less) and deep joy has been had by all ever since.
However this journey in to the world of paddling pools has alerted me to the fact that they, invariably, come in a box featuring a young, busty, bikini clad woman who looks like she's never actually spent more than the length of a photoshoot in the company of small children - let alone pushed any out of her nether-regions and spent the next 5 years trying to get her head round the fact they're hers.....
Take this example:
And this one (who has randomly set her pool up by her 'awfully grand' electronic driveway gates. This is clearly a very aspirational paddling pool - even if you don't actually have a driveway to go with the gates....or a car):
And this one (who is actually accompanied by a man but he's rather pale and disappointing in comparison. And we can't see his Speedos):
And finally this one (ok, this one's not real but it may as well be):
What is the idea behind this marketing? Are most paddling pool purchaser male and buying the pools in the hope that the young woman comes with it? Or are they female and the women in question hope that the pool comes with a nanny?
Who knows, but it is not accurate.
They should actually show the paddling pool filled with naked children, bits of grass and dead bees, surrounded by soggy clothes, damp (damp - not dead) pets and various other piles of detritus with the mother depicted slumped beneath a bush clutching something alcoholic and being thankful that - for once -they aren't destroying the house.
I reckon it would sell.
Especially if it came with the wine.