The summer holidays are here – school holidays, that is. I’ve always loved them. Unlike some of my friends, I looked forward to having my children home every day and planned lots of things to do with them. We were lucky, of course, to have a big house and garden – our last place was big too, probably larger than this house, though it didn’t have the fields around.
I’m not really into nostalgia at present, so I won’t describe too much, but I was very inventive when it came to games and activities, and we went to the beach – 100 yards, when we lived in Lowestoft, half an hour’s drive once we’d moved here – played games in the garden, did lots of cooking and painting and various crafts.
This year, I’m going to have Weeza’s two quite a bit. Dilly, of course, is a teacher, so she doesn’t need childcare. I’ll usually look after Zerlina on a Wednesday and both she and her brother Gus on a Thursday. It’ll be fun.
I met them in Norwich yesterday, as their parents had an appointment, so I mooched around with them for an hour. Previous to that, they’d been at a place where they did climbing – it’s a warehouse, kitted out with climbing walls and they’d been booked in for an hour with a couple of friends. It was their first time, but the second for another little girl, who shinned the 20 feet or more up to the roof with great confidence. It took Zerlina a bit more effort to get the knack of managing hand and footholds, but she managed it too and none of them seemed afraid of the height. Gus took a while to get going and wanted his mother to stay with him – he’s barely within the age requirement – but he loved it too, after a while. It’s a good set-up with trainers who are clearly expert climbers and take it as a teaching thing, not casually at all, with safety and confidence both to the fore.
It rained in the afternoon and all night, and it was still raining when I went out to feed the animals. I left the chickens in – I’ve got more sitting hens than I know what to do with and I’m not at all happy about it. I’d put the feral cats’ food on a plate in the kitchen, rather than faff about outside in the rain, and put it up on a pile of wood for them. The mother didn’t see that and rubbed against my legs as usual, so I picked her up and put her next to the food. And it was fine – not at all startled, no claws out, she was perfectly relaxed. I’m really rather proud to have tamed her so effectively.
Only a few minutes later, though, Eloise came looking for me and she and Cat confronted each other. Neither was especially happy. They must have known about each other, but Eloise hadn’t been into Cat’s territory before. I told Eloise to go home and she did and was waiting for me when I left the field. Then she skittered off into the house, tail held high. I’m not going to worry, they’ll all find their level.