Friday, March 7, 2008


A pressed geranium flower was pushed through our letter box in a brown envelope this morning.

I haven't told Ming.

The leaves on the hazel bush are newly stretched open. There are tight little notches against the stems where the catkins will grow.

At eight o'clock yesterday evening, I read bedtime stories to three ten year olds.

(I had expected only two!)

Their greenish faces were flushed greener after the heat of their extra-hot baths and they were dressed, rather sweetly, I thought, in old fashioned, striped pyjamas.

One of them was Ming.

He was as happy and as excited as the real 'children'; jostling, as they did, to snuggle up close and see the pictures. I hadn't realised, until then, that his age too could change.

We'd borrowed books from Mrs Rustbridger's grandson. He is fourteen now but said these were the ones he'd enjoyed most when he was ten.

They are rubbish

The plots are ridiculous; the illustrations crudely drawn; the names of characters so much like bodily functions, I was embarrassed to read them aloud.

In fact I couldn't read them aloud - said so - and stopped.

The children were disappointed.

Ming was cross.

He said the stories were good.

I said he should read them then.

So, he said, ok, he would! But he'd put the kettle on first.

I said, he couldn't, he was too young, had he forgotten, he was ten?

But he simply ignored the jibe, turned, and began to get off the bed where we were all sitting.

The children wrestled noisily for the book.

One grabbed it from my hand. The other came to my defence and tried to pluck it back. The first held tight; then let go. The book spun suddenly into the air and the top of its spine caught Ming sharply between the shoulder blades.

"Ow!" he said - and shrank.

Once again, the night was windy and I didn't sleep well.

But now, it is sunny. Not warm. But dry.

I must strip the dead leaves from the Cordyline Palms. They're looking tatty and the insects which over-wintered against the trunk won't be needing them so much now that spring is settling in.

I haven't seen Lucy recently.

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