Our children are now mature adults and long-since flown the nest. Children’s books, Lego, and dolls had been packed into boxes in the loft. The Drive where we live is quite mature and few children are around to chase from the garden or criticise for playing football in the road.
When we heard of the coming of a young family, next door, it was with an understandable slight concern that the peaceful existence we had enjoyed for a couple of decades might be shattered for ever!
However the worries proved fruitless as one admired how the expected racket was absent. Glancing through the fence we could see the occasional gentle skirmish, and girlish giggling, but nothing causing any problems.
As their courage grew, we would be greeted with ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’, so they obviously did not bite! A brief afternoon visit to our house saw them clinging round Mum and Dad, until I produced a massive box of Lego, once much-loved by my son. He had given strict instructions that it was never to be given away, and so the wisdom was proved. Many a weird vehicle and building was produced that day.
So the ice was broken, but it took a little time before they came over to spend a sunny afternoon in the garden with us. This would give Mum a bit of breathing space and relative freedom for a few hours. Surely it would be easy to keep two lovely children amused. But it was only then we realised how long it had been since we had children around us.
We started with making small posies of flowers. There are numerous bluebells in the garden just now and plenty to be made into small sprays to be taken back to Mum. Then they got the chance to plant lettuce, onion sets and strawberries in pots, for taking-care-of at home. This involved much compost-spilling and having to be shown how gently the plants were to be held with small fingers so as not to damage them. Using a long-spouted watering-can proved quite difficult with small hands, but eventually mastered. Tidying-up then ensued, and no problem there. Each pot was carried home individually with no complaint.
‘What can we do now’? ….was the call…..’OK, time for a break, a drink, and a biscuit, as we sat in the gazebo out of the bright sun. This allowed the pretence of being in a magic house which could land anywhere in the world. This theme lasted but a short time before a bit more physical exercise was called-for. Valient attempts with shuttlecock and badminton racket on the lawn caused frustration and laughter in equal measure as there were as many misses as hits! And all the while came the questions…Why? What? Where? When? How?….as young minds strove to make sense of this very-complicated world.
And so the afternoon came to an end, they went back to see Mum and Dad, and we got on with our own weekend events. Next day we were presented with little posies by Axxxx, and Dxxxxxx was shouting through the fence…’Can we come round?….
…..no problem….just let me have a snooze first!