Tag Archives: Children’s Play

Is Briskness all?

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Does anyone go mad from trying to keep up with advice from the healthy living czars? A recent one was that everyone should take at least a 20 minutes brisk – it must be brisk for the magic to work – most days in the week.

The day after reading it I took a walk of about 1 km with 2¼ year old Abel. Brisk it was not! We dallied and dillied. We hid behind trees, watched the trains go by, bought some tomatoes. We took them home and ate most of them. We did that slowly too.

I’d warrant that was a healthier walk for both of us than, say, my strapping him into the buggy and jogging for 20 minutes with a monitor on my arm.

Is there a monitor for fun?

Or love?

Festina Lente! Look it up, preferably in an old fashioned dictionary, but no doubt the web will tell you.

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Abel’s Pleasant Sunday Afternoon

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It began as a walk to post a letter, but once at the postbox we were halfway to the level crossing, so we went there.

There was a train trundling into platform 1, but between the tracks were stop signs and red flashing lights at ground level. No trains towards London today. ‘Red means stop. Train not go past,’ said Abel.

It was as long as it was short to walk home past the station, so we went there.

The train was pulling out of platform 1. In half an hour it would leave from Platform 2, so we stayed to watch the shunting. When that was completed, Abel discovered the metal grids covering the gutters along platform 1. They made good tracks for him to drive his imaginary train along.

By the time we had spoke to the kind station man, who gave Abel half a dozen blank tickets on a roll, there was only ten minutes before the train left. We had enough money for a ride to the next station and back, so we went there.

We had to use the lifts and press the buttons on them and on the train. On the way we saw the other level crossings and some swans and the river, and the moon beginning to shine.

The next station is built across the main road – one platform on one side, one on the other. The road was so busy Abel had to be carried over. A kind man stopped his car and waited for us to cross safely. Just a few minutes before the train left from platform 1, so we went there.

When we got off the train, after more button pressing, the moon was really bright, and an aeroplane went by with its lights on. We were nearly at Grannie and Grandad’s house, so we went there.

But not straight away. In the park the gutter down the middle of the path was waiting to be a railway track again. Abel was ready to run up and down for another half hour, so Grandad found a red bike light to use as a signal. Abel put it by the track like the lights at the station. But when he wanted to move on he said ‘red means stop, yellow means get ready, green means go.’ And off he went.

Eventually we arrived at our destination.

There was one crumpet left, so we had it with Marmite; and Abel ate three-quarters.

It was almost time for Abel’s Dad to collect him, so we played for a bit, then Abel got in the car and went home in the moonlight.

He was asleep when he got there.

Bird! Bird!

Seeing the world through new eyes: what a blessing!

Our grandson is a year old. Twelve months ago he could not focus at a distance, so a great deal of what goes on around us he is seeing for the first time. That index finger is forever pointing at something interesting; today the birds. Sparrows in next-door’s roof, arguing the toss in great excitement; starlings in family parties, descending on our tree, never silent; the cock blackbird, hidden by the leaves, but even louder in his song – or his warning notes – than the others. Louder still, the herring gulls circle, often calling though sometimes silent; magpies and pigeons stalking the playing field, but best of all a jackdaw, who leaves his group and walks beside the buggy for a good few yards, no more than five metres away, bright eye locked onto bright eye. Bird! Bird!

 

Mr Noah

it has, from time to time, been suggested that Mr Turnstone could pass for a patriarch from Genesis. Today it was the Noah side that came to the fore.

Despite Mrs T’s worries, our pond had plenty of spawn by last weekend, when Ms Turnstone II came to call. She was begging some for her class of 4-5 year-olds. Mr Noah was recruited to bring the spawn, with a few hatchling tadpoles, over to School. Great fun was had by the children as well as Mr Noah, and I think the children will enjoy observing the little creatures as they grow.

One lad was guessing what sort of animal I’d brought along – is it a tiger?

No, said Noah, he might eat you for breakfast, then you for break, and you over there for lunch, and so on. The conversation moved on … We discussed Ms Turnstone’s pet hen she had as a child, which had all 60 children – there were two classes – performing a chicken routine that had to be seen. And Ms T blushed!

Finally, Mr Noah put his foot in it at lunch time when he said he might bring the tiger in to get some lunch. One poor boy took it literally, when all the rest enjoyed the shiver of shock. Sorry Lad! I think we parted as friends.

And that was a good day.

Written to Order

Mrs Turnstone came in from the railway bank where once I met the little girl with a ragdoll. Mrs T had been up there looking for greenery to renew the Advent wreath and decorate the house.

‘Here’s a story for your blog’, she said, as she unloaded branch after branch of holly, each one bearing berries as red as any blood. ‘I began harvesting at eye level’, she said, ‘then looked up and there were all these berries. I’ve never seen the like in all the years we’ve lived here.’ She suggested it was due to the mild winter we have had so far, but why then have the blackbirds stripped the pyracantha outside our window, which usually does not get harvested until into the new year? Are the two harvests, the unusually late and the unusually early, connected, or are there two separate populations of berry-eating birds just a couple of hundred metres apart, each going its own way?

One thing is sure: if the waxwings come looking for pyracantha berries chez Turnstone this winter, they will be disappointed!

Overheard – a woman talking to her dogs

It’s an occupational hazard for those of us blessed with a grey-to-white beard! ‘Hey Santa!’ from teenagers, or a rather more awed approach from younger children. I once had a long conversation with a little lad in Gap, France, with his mother in the background, encouraging me to keep going; great fun for me as well as him.

Today was surprisingly different.

Cycling along the shared path by the river, I rang my bell to warn a lady with her two dogs that I was approaching; they were occupying the whole path. Smiling, she got out of the way, saying to the dogs, ‘There boys, it’s Father Christmas come to say hello.’