It being a Tuesday, ActorLaddie and I have collected from school my niece’s children, Chantenay and Nantes. We are now picking strawberries and raspberries for our tea: the garden’s been rather neglected this year but the berries just did their own thing and we’ve ended up with plenty. Which is cool and groovy as Pa joins us for a meal on Tuesdays and he’s a good eater.
In the kitchen, we wash and strain the berries, then virtuously put the water on the sweet peas.
“Now we need to hull the strawberries,” I say. “That means, take the green bits off the ends. Some people cut them off with knives and some use their thumbs and sort of dig them out.”
Chantenay quietly goes to the kitchen cupboard where we keep the drinks, roots around in the back and reappears with an old plastic straw. She pushes it into the pointy end of the strawberry and it appears out the top with the green stalk neatly strawed up.
“That’s brilliant!” I say. “How did you know how to do that?”
Chantenay shrugs nonchalantly. “I saw it on YouTube.”
So that’s me told.
Oh what a beautiful morning! We’re forecast for 33° later today – gorgeous drying weather; so the soundscape of birdsong and imaginary church bells (it’s Sunday) is currently overlaid by the romantic clunk of a pillowcase-worth of Lego churning away in the washing machine. (Other brands of construction bricks are available.)
Pick us, Miss, pick us! Look how neatly we have lidded our marker pens! And see our flip-chart of ideas – a thing of beauty, too, in many colours, to which we all contributed collaboratively, working as a team…
Apart, that is, for the cow who teaches at – well, you know the one. Her anyway. Didn’t want to come on the course in the first place. Thought ‘Schemas in the Under Sevens’ was going to be about curriculum plans and not fannying around with a load of bricks. The only thing that’s stopping her playing with a mobile phone is that they’ve not yet been invented. We’d be better off teaching six year olds to name parts of speech, according to her. What a dinosaur!
It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that babies are a lot more fun when you’ve had a night’s sleep.
I’m yawning here just at the thought of those hours spent rocking the buggy, singing “my old man’s a dustman” to the tune of “girl from Ipanema.” Driving round the block in the early hours, hoping in vain that there won’t be cries as soon as the engine’s turned off. Arriving at work on autopilot only to discover that not only is YoungLochinvar still in his child seat (forgotten to drop him off at Ma’s) but also that, in the early morning rush, I’ve failed to shut the front door (concerned neighbour, police visit). How does anyone survive early parenthood? Nightmare.