Monday, 31 March 2008

This is the town where I live

The kids have pen pals! Yee-haw! People who actually have written! Yes! That's right! Like they have an expectation that the Grit and Dig family combo at the Pile are civilized people who know how to hold a crayon the right way round! Get to it Squirrel! Let's go!

Grit is full of enthusiasm because now we have to write a letter back. Squirrel looks doubtful, like any crayon-pal might want to inspect under her bed, and trawl through her treasures.

'No', I reassure her, 'They do not want to know what is in your treasure box under the bed. Even though I know that is where you put Shark's bed knobs, thank you very much. The whole world does not want to know that you pilfered the knobs, or that's where you're hiding them. In fact', I add menacingly, 'if you keep nicking Shark's bed knobs, I will tell everyone where you keep them stashed. OK?'

Squirrel thinks about this and looks as if a deal might be on the table. I reckon with a brain like hers she's either going to become a lawyer or join the criminal underworld as a stasher of stolen goods. It's 50/50 right now.

Squirrel says that she will write a letter so long as it is on her terms. 'OK' I add, confident that I can swing the contents so that she does not blab about Dig wandering about without his trousers, or Grit managing to knock herself senseless by throwing the tea-tin lid at her head yesterday. We don't want the world knowing the sort of chaos that goes on round here.

Anyway, Squirrel commands the camera and marches off down the back lane. She says she wants to photograph the skips at the back of the Co-op because you pass those on the short cut home after mummy buys beer, and people might like to know that.

'I think they do not' I say decisively. 'They want to know the English spring daffodils are out. Look, photograph the lovely daffodils'. Squirrel compromises and takes a picture of a house which is not ours. The people inside are looking at us through the curtains. Now we're for it. I give Squirrel a shove to get her moving before she photographs their dog shit as well.

'Look here!' I shout encouragingly, 'Can you see the delightful 19th century Victorian features around the square! How truly amazing to think that these delightful features are over one hundred years old!' I sound like Loyd Grossman on a Through the Keyhole special. In fact I think I might claim that when Squirrel starts photographing front doors. I take the camera off her before she gets us both banged up for intent to burgle.

But there are successes, even though I lose the battle over the porch hood. I eliminate the photograph of the bank where Squirrel keeps her savings (£12.56), and I get her to photograph the Church and not the drunk. She won't take a picture of the library, nor of the place where she takes her ballet class; these I think will make us look erudite and accomplished, but she's having none of it, so we compromise on a disused bath house.

And by this evening we have one letter, barely legible, plus photographs of the town square, a historic building or two, our front door, and a satisfied Squirrel who says she thinks her handwriting is getting better, and it doesn't matter that the g's are all the wrong way round.

I agree, and give Squirrel a hug. I am considering this day one of achievement. Only two more to go, and we get to try a trip to the post office.

7 comments:

Michelle said...

lol. C had a pen pal once. It quickly degenerated into an exchange of stickers. I think it's our turn and we're about 18 months late.

Brad said...

Can Squirrel be pursaded to share her pics here ? . I'm keen to look at squares with Victorian details.

the mother of this lot said...

For all you know 'Skips at the back of the Co-op' may one day have hung in the Tate Gallery.....if only her mother had let her do it....

Kelly Jene said...

Your girls are so cute!! Hopefully this is the beginning of a long, beautiful, writing relationship. I bet those pics (all of them!) are really fun to look at.

Grit said...

hi michelle! oh dear! will you be left with guilt if C fails to write?

hi brad, i will do so once i find the camera she used.

yes motl, you are right. the questions raised by an autonomous / liberal education is one that exercises me daily. i may need to blog.

hi kelly jean! let's hope so!

Michelle said...

Slightly! They've moved house because I had a change of address card from them about a year ago. Thought we'd send a welcome to your new home card but never got round to that either :-(

Grit said...

i know that feeling michelle; we still have christmas cards here from december 2006 that haven't yet made it down the post office.