Spring Lunch in the Garden



We have a baby coming around this morning. I regret telling Ollie: he spends his getting-dressed-time wriggling naked under the bed trying to find his baby toys. As far as I am aware, they were sold at a car boot sale. 

He comes out backwards with an armoury of forgotten weapons. I tell him the baby (four months old) will not like them.



“What about Lego?” he asks.

“No! Too small!” says Daisy, muscling in on the conversation. 

“Ok. Cars then,” says Ollie.

“Too dangerous!”

“My puzzles?”

“Too difficult!” 

Daisy plays the voice of doom very well. 

I go downstairs to start the breakfast shift. Daisy follows me. “If everyone cheats in a game, does that make it fair?” She asks. My mind is on the three different breakfasts (not including the cat’s) and the packed lunch I have to make in a very short space of time.

“I don’t know,” I reply.

“But come on, mum, if everyone’s doing it, does it make cheating alright?”

I turn around to explain that I don’t have the brain power to have a moral/ethical debate right now, but I am stopped in my tracks. Ollie has a semi-automatic pointed at the back of Daisy’s head. 

“Don’t do it…..!” I am unable to finish my sentence over the sound of gunfire. Maybe it’s a machine gun, I think. Daisy jumps up from the table and wrestles him to the floor. 

Not for the first time, I wonder how I am able to control a class of thirty but seemly not my own two children? 

Later, in the afternoon, the weather is so beautiful that I decide Ollie and I will shift the 100 litres of manure from the front garden to the back. It is like a scene from The Chuckle Brothers meets The Good Life.

We have a rusty wheelbarrow with a very flat tyre and two half planks of wood to get down the numerous steps. At one point, where I feel like my back is going to break in two, I wonder why I couldn’t have just waited for Tom to get home? But I am gripped with a gardening panic, there was scaremongering at the school gates that this would be the last day of decent weather for A VERY LONG TIME. 



Ollie helps shovel the manure from the wheelbarrow to around the raspberry canes, but he becomes angsty because he hasn’t played the Batman Game for a least three hours. I make a deal: if he’ll have lunch outside with me, he can go back to his true love (Batman). 

We have a very pleasant lunch of Ollie’s soup (carrot and lentil) with toast fingers (Ollie) and rice cakes and marmite (me). Afterwards we have a pot of tea and Ollie shares his packet of tangy Haribo with me.

“These belong to Daisy,” he announces cheerfully when we are halfway through the pack.

“Oh great!” I say, knowing this will cause a monumental row. My children have a photographic memory of every sweet ever given to them.

“It’s ok,” says Ol, “they’re made from pigs’ hooves. Daisy won’t eat them.”

Lovely! I think, as I lean forward for another red, sour, key-shaped sweet. Let’s finish the pack then. 

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