Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Even better than a walk round a lake

No, I didn't take the little grits for the home ed meet at the lake as promised.

But I did shove a pile of books at them. I said, Oh look! It's South America!

Then I scarpered.

Yes, according to Mrs Gradgrind at the local authority, today I probably failed to meet my heavy duties of education.

In my defence, I became distracted, quite early on.

Once I was off with the fairies, it crossed my mind (again) how school is a ruddy good idea. You get all those hours to yourself! I could write novels, rearrange cushions, conduct affairs, then work part-time at the Co-op. I'm sure I could fit in those activities, 8-4, Monday-Friday.

But it is also true that I cannot feel so bad about abandoning the junior grits to their own devices. Again. The way I see it, I have brought up the offspring to learn independently. In fact, by taking a few days out from my educational duty, I am doing them a favour. Aha! That's it! I am creating the environment for self-guided learning, self-control, and self-discipline.

After just a few minutes, I can see this has worked! One is experimenting with fire. Another is mixing clay paste and smearing it all over her desk, and the third is absorbed in cutting up paper. Finding appropriate activities suited to their age and aptitude! I succeed!

Meanwhile, I am modelling creativity, and how not to run your own meagre business barely covering the cost of the leather.

Example: Someone has inherited their grandmother's recipe book. The handwriting in that book is difficult to read; the spidery copperplate a memory of a gone-before age. But the recipes! Delicious ginger pudding with a dash of magic. Thick custard with a secret pinch of -ssshhh! The sherry trifle, spiced up with the tipple that only grandma can add, because she knows where she hides the bottles. All mixed up with recipes for window cleaning fluid and how to make your own furniture polish. People should have been able to predict the consequences when her eyes went. But with hindsight, it explains why Tinkertop never wanted to eat the custard at granny's house.

But grandma's book betrays its age alongside her tendency to thrift and her routine of poisoning her only grandchild. The spine is thinned, the bookbinding string broken. One cover hangs lose, holding by a thread. This is an old book become more fragile, its papers fading with every turn of the hand. How do you keep alive that which is dying?

So here is a book to start again with grandma's pinch, tipple and dash. The grandchild is all grown up, having survived the grate cleaner, and is ready to rewrite those recipes, in neat and tidy script, in a new family notebook, heading for a new generation.

Only one requirement. There must be a envelope which holds the secret to where the vicar's buried.


kelly said...

Oh, I think I need that notebook, going to send the link to mr Wah right the hope he gets the hint and gets it for Christmas

Grit said...

what can i say, kelly, apart from the fact that i'm cheap. xx