"Blah blah yadda yadda," quoth I.
B runs up, panting and less than gruntled, carrying Mabel, semi-shod.
"Take her. She's lost a shoe. I have to go and look, and I can't do it holding her."
Mabel kicks off the other shoe and says, "There's my shoe."
B heads off again for the bushes, muttering, "Whose idea was this place anyway?" rhetorically and not nearly so much under his breath as you might have thought.
The boys (both five) and Mabel, who can't be left behind, had gone to play in one of the "dens" - one is at the top of a very muddy bank behind the pond, but this was the more accessible one that was formed by a bank of tall bushes and trees along the side of the park, with hidden space behind, up against the railings. It was somewhere in all this that Mabel's shoe had come off.
I was not best pleased, as this was (a) an expensive shoe, a Keens sandal bought with my REI member's rebate, not just any old Target or yard-sale acquisition; and (b) one half of the only wearable pair of shoes she had with her, since the other two pairs were suddenly too small when I started packing for our trip.
We wandered down towards the site of the commotion, where the boys were still climbing and the fathers were searching the undergrowth, and the overgrowth, for a small pale-pink sandal. I carried Mabel's other shoe, and Mabel, for safe-keeping. As I walked I whispered to myself (which was stupid, really, but I wasn't thinking very hard), "Bugger, bugger, bugger".
"Why you say 'Bugger, bugger, bugger,' Mummy?" asked Mabel in her loudest, most piercing tone.
Then there was a shriek and a wail and Monkey fell out of his tree.
Visions of broken arms floated before me, but happily (for me; painfully for him) he just had a big graze all down one side, where the tree branch had scraped along under his t-shirt. It started to rain. We decided to call off the shoe hunt and take our ragamuffin children home.
Having carried the injured party all the way back to the house, B turned around and went straight out to search again, got caught in the downpour, and returned triumphant. Mabel spent the next week doing her darndest to lose at least one shoe again, if not both, but so far so shod.