Grumpy and Pumpy find a tankini – by Helen May

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As I have previously mentioned, Pumpy is rather shy. He tends to hide away under Grumpy’s clothing unless he wants to come out and play. Grumpy and Pumpy have been together now for about six months which have given them time to find suitable hiding places. Most of the time…

This was easier in the winter months when Pumpy was able to hide under Grumpy’s baggy jumper or in the pocket of Grumpy’s baggy trousers or, when Grumpy was wearing her more sophisticated outfits, Pumpy hid in her bra.

As the temperature warmed up, Grumpy threw aside her bulky clothes. Pumpy was still able to hide under her floaty shirts but got a bit uncomfortable under Grumpy’s tighter t-shirts. Fear not: between them, they found a solution and Pumpy was secreted under Grumpy’s skirt, wrapped around her leg. So with a bit of ingenuity, they started to cope with summer. Until…

Grumpy is not a sun worshipper. Being a red-head, even if there wasn’t a risk of skin cancer, the memories of being coated in pink calamine lotion (and the boredom) were enough to stop her lounging by the pool for longer than 30 minutes. However, when the temperature rises, there is nothing like a dip on the water to cool off. A swim suit provides very few options for Pumpy to hide.

There is another problem: Grumpy sticks a “handle” onto her stomach for Pumpy to hold on to. This is about the size of a stack of three ten pence pieces. However, Pumpy has a long, thin “arm” which gets in the way if there is nothing to tuck his arm into. Grumpy is not the most graceful in … anywhere but particularly when swimming and she doesn’t want to get Pumpy’s arm tangled. So they decided Pumpy will sit out the pool, in the shade, hiding under the towel provided Grumpy promises she will be back within an hour.

However, Pumpy’s handle remains attached and needs to be hidden and kept out of mischief. So, before the hot weather started, Grumpy put a lot of thought into her swimwear. She realised, not only did she not want to blind the world with the glare from her lily-white stomach, she did not want to expose Pumpy’s handle, so a bikini was out of the question. All bathing costumes are made of relatively thin fabric so, whilst covered, the bulge of Pumpy’s handle would show through any suit without any distraction around the waist.

Most all-in-ones focus on smooth lines not broken up with a belt. So, all in ones are out and bikinis are out. Grumpy was starting to think she would have to hide inside during the sunny weather and avoid swimming pools all year round. Or rip off Grumpy’s handle but this seemed a bit drastic.

After a lot of searching, eventually Grumpy found the answer: a tankini and shorts. The waistband of the shorts are thick enough to hide the handle (and provide something for Pumpy to hold on to when Grumpy is not swimming) and the top is long enough to cover the handle if it sticks out above the shorts. Perfect!

Grumpy knows that Pumpy adds a lot to her life and she does not need to pander to his needs all the time: there will be times when Pumpy has to come out of hiding. However, Grumpy does not want to put Pumpy at risk (such as pulling out his arm) and she does not want to be known as “that lady who is permanently attached to Pumpy”. It’s a fine balance that needs constant updating, advanced planning and occasional ingenuity.

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