Sunday, 22 May 2011


I have suffered a slight setback in my secret plans to take North Norfolk by surprise and storm Castle Rising.

I was looking forward to that. A quick round trip; besiege a castle, sniff the salty sea air of the blown coast, and give those cheating nightingales one final, very last, ultimate, this is it chance to burst into glorious song before they all push off in June. That trip would have suited me just fine.

But then the children came over all bolshy-mouth and foot-draggy and do we have to.

Shark declared she wanted to stay at home and work on her pond. Tiger said she wanted to do some digging if Shark can dig up the garden and she can't. Then Squirrel weighed in with how they can never play in the garden, not ever, and the last time they played in the garden I said it was time to come in. That is nonsense. They spend hours out there. She has a worse memory than I do.

Of course I was outnumbered and gave in. Well, I am one smart negotiator and I have wrestled a pretty fair deal. I have provided spades and conceded the entire garden; I will stay at home for a whole week and clean out the moulded cellar; and we will go and see Castle Rising some day.

There. You better see what they did.

Shark's pond. She is extremely proud of this, and quite right too. Though I said No Fish Absolutely not. No way.

Tiger's dug up hole. She is making a Jurassic landscape and is going to fill this with dinosaurs. Don't ask. You get a thirty-minute explanation of where the mud slide will take place and where the lake will be and what time the extinction will happen when she drops a rock on it.

Squirrel. Having made her swing she has become distracted and is peering into the hedge. Looking for faeries, probably.

Me. Of course I lied. I'm not cleaning out the cellar. I crept upstairs and tried on some old clothes I found in a box. Here is the brown sueded silk number. I'm not throwing this one out. Shoulder pads are coming back.