Reminiscing is good, I think, though I’m not so sure about nostalgia. I’m wary about suggesting that the ‘old days’ were better, because it’s easy to forget what wasn’t. But anyway, I’m thinking about Mums and Tods. I did make friends there and so did my children. I’ve got a momentary thought about Ronan coming with me to a get-together at Gill’s house, and Adèle’s son Robin was there. Their faces lit up and they darted forward to shake hands. My heart melted, in a figurative way. I suspect now that – well, not now, we don’t touch any more, so a year ago – there would have been a manly hug, but a decade ago it was an equally manly handshake.
We used to meet at the village hall most of the year. The people who were always there were Penny, with Emma and John. I haven’t seen Emma for many years; she’s the same age as Ronan and we bonded. I loved her like a daughter. Sue had James and Sarah, who was the epitome of the adorable Limb of Satan. You couldn’t take your eyes off her. All the children were happily blowing bubbles and Sarah was drinking the washing-up liquid. Chris’s daughter was Kelly, who was just a delightful little girl. Jane had Nicholas and Alex. Nicholas’s quirk was discovered in the summer.
When the weather was hoped to be fine, we saved a few pounds by not booking the village hall but meeting in our own houses or, hopefully, gardens. Nicholas had to mark his first visit to an unfamiliar house by visiting the loo for a poo (as it’s now universally known). I remember everyone being here and – Emma being the only girl of that age, the other three-year-olds were all boys – the lads were all naked except Ronan. He firmly kept his pants on. We had a fabulous wooden roller coaster. It would be unusable now – I’ve still got the components somewhere, but I wouldn’t dare use it – there was a little cart that went on rails, the child climbed in and you gave a shove and they shot down, up and down, finally landing up on the lawn. Putting a hand out would have meant instant amputation, but no one was daft enough. No one ever got in the way or did anything silly in the least. It was hazardous enough to make everyone, even a toddler, mind their fingers.