A very dry summer, and a few lies!….

I was reading one of my blogging friends’ posts and was reminded of an incident from childhood…..almost 60 years ago

…………………..as a child, on our grand-parents’ farm-land, there was a large clay-pit, no longer used, which filled-up every year with rainwater, and then slowly emptied through evaporation. There were two pools, one very small which dried quickly, and one which had never really completely dried before the rains returned, and no-one really knew how deep it was.

My brother and I were warned never to go near, but curiosity meant that one year we ventured down to the area, and discovered the small pond was almost completely-full of frogspawn. As it was a hot summer (weren’t they all?) it was evident that in a short period they would die from lack of water, so we decided to rescue them by transporting the jelly-masses by bucket-load and tipping them into the larger pond.

This proved to take several days for two young boys to achieve. Parents or grand-parents could not be advised of the project because of the prohibition on approaching the steep sides of the clay-pit, so we had to provide a number of plausible un-truths as to what we were doing each day!

Suffice to say, the project was completed successfully and we may have been responsible for the large number of frogs in the area later that year! Fortunately there were no houses in the immediate vicinity, and we were able to inform parents and grand-parents of the project. We felt good,about it (I think justifiably!), and had something to write in the inevitable essay which had to be prepared on our return to school..

….needless to say, the whole area is now covered  with houses and the incident forgotten, but it still remains fresh in the mind of a boy who never really grew up….

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…but who am I really?

We are looking forward to the visit of a couple from the Netherlands. We met on holiday and since they had never been in Scotland, we invited them as guests, so that we could show them round our beautiful country. They have been kept up-to -date with our provisional plans, which include a rather important large birthday party.

They should have no problems handling the English/Scots conversations as they have an excellent knowledge of our language, but I think they were concerned about starting and maintaining a conversation with people about whom little was known. So they asked for some photos and a little background about some of the main participants, including both me and the Lady of the House, so that they did not put their foot into it by saying something wrong (would they understand the phrase ‘putting one’s foot in’, I wonder?).

So what to say? I’ts actually quite difficult in just a few words to sum-up someone you know well, into a matter of a few sentences. Facts on age, jobs, interests, familial relationship etc are useful enough for a passport application, but tells you little about the actual person. So to cut a long story short, it took a while to provide half a dozen brief  synopses of the main participants, without giving-away sensitive information, but still allowing an entry into a discussion at the party.

Worst of all is trying to give a brief, unbiased set of facts about oneself…a sort of miniature autobiography, without appearing to be boastful, and ‘padding’ of one’s intersts. For better or worse, the requested information has been sent.

And to get my own back, I have asked them to do the same for us!

…..exhausted!

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!