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Sunday with Steve Backshall: ‘The kids’ capacity to consume pancakes blows my mind’
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Sunday with Steve Backshall: ‘The kids’ capacity to consume pancakes blows my mind’

Up early? We have three small children: our twins are four and Logan is six. I get up early every day, absolutely not on purpose. At 5.30am they climb into bed, clambering all over me. I make up a story about them being travelling adventurers until first light.

Sunday breakfast? Banana pancakes with yoghurt and fruit. I have five frying pans and I’ll often make the mix the night before. The kids’ capacity to consume pancakes, commensurate with their bodyweight, blows my mind. They will eat half an elephant’s worth of pancakes, while I have a very strong coffee.

Morning routine? All three of the children, including our little girl, go to the local rugby club, where I played for 15 years. I volunteer as a kids’ coach now. Every Sunday, 70 to 80 kids run around like crazy people learning the game. It’s tremendous fun.

Sunday outing? We live on the Thames. If it’s a nice day, even in the middle of winter, we’ll pack up a big canoe with a lovely picnic of sandwiches and hot chocolate and paddle upstream to a beach on the riverside. As we drift, we’ll spot kingfishers and great crested grebes. The twins know the names of more waterbirds than your average adult. Sometimes it can be an expedition that lasts three or four hours. My kids start to go a bit bonkers if they’re caged up inside for any length of time. They need to be outside.

Sunday entertainment? My wife, Helen [Glover, professional rower], and I are quite militant about TV. Screentime is something we don’t do unless we absolutely have to. When we get home, we’ll play board games or do other creative projects, – mega drawings on rolls of wallpaper – or we’ll conjure up our own games. We’ve been playing lots of blind man assault courses recently.

Any time to yourself? No. Helen is often away – at the moment she’s training for the Olympics, so there’s no respite for me from the kids. It’s exhausting, but Sunday is my favourite day of the week.

Early night? Yes. My kids are terrible sleepers. They go to bed at 7pm, but don’t usually get to sleep until 8.30pm. I spend most of that time tidying up, and by 9pm, I’m out cold.

Sunday wind down? Bathtime and a story for the kids, then I’ll sing the Welsh national anthem to them before lights out at 7pm. They’ll join in even though they don’t understand the words.

Steve Backshall’s Ocean tours the UK from 19 October to 3 November (stevebackshall.com)

Source: theguardian.com