“It’s one thing joining a gym – it’s another actually going.” She was a wise bird, our old GP: retired now, alas. Of my pregnancy with the InfantPhenomenon, she said: “a summer baby, how lovely! You’ll be able to sit in pub gardens.” Not my first thought but she had four children so knew whereof she spake.
I wasn’t put to the piano as a child. Refused the offer of lessons, apparently: as good a reason as any to invent time travel. But I’d really like to be able to play and, to quote Bro-In-Law – a man of infinite resource and sagacity – when someone asked him why he’d just taken up learning Gypsy Jazz Guitar, “I decided not to wait until I was younger.”
I did sort of start learning about twenty years ago but, what with teaching full-time and having two children, practice never seemed to reach the top of the To-Do list. So the enterprise was shelved, pending retirement. Which is Now.
“Good evening,” says Hazza. “We’re collecting for the local Rotary Group. This year’s charities are the Nightingale Children’s Hospice, Noah’s Ark Hospice and Parkinson’s UK.” Hazza smiles winningly and holds out her tin.
As befits a groovy media student in Swinging London, my niece Hazza chooses her outfits with care. Tonight she is bedecked in a red and green elf dress layered with a fetching hi-vis tabard which has been printed boldly with the details of said Rotary Club. The look is topped off with a cheeky little elf hat. Take note, fashionistas – next year, we’ll all be wearing this.
The Householder peers at her suspiciously. “Do you have an identity card?”
“Well, not actually a card,” says Hazza, “ but our details are here.” And she points to her tabard. Householder still looks suspicious and seems about to close the door. “And,” adds Hazza quickly,” I do have Santa with me.”
I head into After School club to donate some cakes left over from a playground sale of … well, cakes. We’re raising money at Thrush Woods to sponsor Faith, who’s running the London Marathon next week for Parkinson’s UK. A couple of mixed infants skip up to me, arm in arm.
“Have you still got Parkinson’s?” asks one.
“OK.” And they skip off.
“It was normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their children. And with good reason…”
(Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four)
“Time for our news books – I want you to draw me a picture of something that you did at the weekend and then – using your sounds – to have a go at writing a sentence or two underneath.”
(Every teacher of young children, everywhere.)
I’ve got it cornered.
The Still-to-do List is down to one sheet of paper; the accumulated detritus of my years at Thrush Woods has been herded into a corner of the ICT room and sits tamely waiting to be sorted. I’ve found no untaught children stacked away in boxes, so it looks like I’ve got away with it again.
“I’m taking eleven Poles to London,” I messaged.
“Is that a crossword clue?” replied DearHeart.”Does it involve a cricket team?”
This week I received a photo of my brain. I’m thinking of sending it as a Christmas card. It’s the result of the six thousand quid scan I had a couple of weeks ago and so is the most expensive photo I’ll ever have taken.
As I understand it – which I don’t really – the yellowish bits are the proteins that have gone bonkers because of the Parkinson’s. Looks like we’ve got it cornered.