Thursday, 9 August 2007

On duty

Off to one of the excellent and, quite frankly, wonderful parks department events.

Today we are pretending to be pirates in a field. It looks like a home ed meeting. Kids of all ages are running about flapping bits of paper on string (Jolly Roger flags); getting told off for eating the silver ball cake decorations buried in sand (pirate treasure); wailing over how to staple paper plates together when the stapler's got no staples in it (portholes on a sunken Spanish galleon); making boxes from junk and brown paper (treasure chests); pond dipping (nothing to do with pirates whatsoever); scavenger hunting (ditto); making a plank to get fresh water beyond Shark lagoon (Grit cannot work it out, so cheats); fishing (with magnets, of course); making telescopes (no lenses); and doing the treasure trail in search of gold dubloons (painted stones which the particularly dumb kid from the detective trail in the woods last week probably nicked deliberately to confound the Grit family).

I had hoped to drop Sasha off with Shark, Squirrel and Tiger to do all this and get back to work for a couple of hours. But after yesterday, there's no chance of that, so I'm on supervisory duties. I'm keeping an eye on things to try and see what happens when Sasha's about and find out why the junior Grits are steadily going bonkers. Along with mummy Grit, actually.

OK then, call it spying.

The first thing I notice from my vantage point behind the sand pit is that Sasha does a lot of standing about staring into space, twiddling her hair with her fingers, looking uninterested in pirates while Shark gets on with making a porthole from two paper plates without staples.

The second thing I see while hovering behind the treasure box desk is that Sasha tells Tiger she cannot do that when making her treasure box. Tiger starts to shout and say everything is rubbish. Actually, Sasha is right, but some things are better left unsaid.

The third thing I eye-spy with my telescope without a lens is that Squirrel has a huge wee-shaped patch about her again. I go up and tell her off this time and say next time go behind a tree. Squirrel defends herself by saying she asked Sasha for help but Sasha couldn't find a tree. I say you are surrounded by trees. Then Shark doesn't help by saying everyone does it in the garden anyway.

On the way home my finely-tuned watchful pirate skills detect that Sasha shows no enthusiasm at all for being with us and may even probably rather wish she was in Heidelberg.

When everyone gets home I declare the parks department possibly the most tip-top wonderful and imaginative parks department in existence. Shark and Squirrel go off to squabble in the front room while I get out the Blackbeard book to read aloud. Tiger by now is in a fuming rage and has been ordered upstairs to smash her own room up and not my front room, thank you very much. I say I'll come up later to talk about strategies which Grit calls How We All Calm Down.

And Sasha goes off to her bedroom to hide. And probably to watch us, miserably, from a distance.

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