Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Singing and washing and boxes

Here’s a little piece I wrote the other day. Behind our house there is a day nursery and, when the weather’s warm, noises come over the back wall.


2008

I can hear music time at the nursery. The wheels on the bus – again. Why is it always so slow? Dragging, droning, a little flat and then rallying,

“ALL day lo-ong...”

A chorus of three or four women’s voices – determined. The children are mostly too young to sing, just an occasional shriek or shout. Quality time, focussed time – tick the box for music, social skills, something... Then line them up to wash hands for lunch.


1973

Hand washing was a dying art – even back then. Rubbing collars with a big bar of green soap. Gently squeezing wool in the luke warm tub. The jumper a swamp of hills and milky water. Then the songs came.

“Underneath the gas light’s glitter
Stands a fragile, little girl...”

Sun on the water. Sandals scuffing the kitchen chair as I climb down. Out to the line and the prop and the peg bag. Passing pegs and joining in,

“Let’s all go down the Strand,
HAVE A BANANA!”

Then cheese sandwiches on the back step. No boxes ticked.

2 comments:

Alex said...

Wow! That's brilliant.

You've really captured the situation and the descriptions you've used create such fantastic imagery.

Isn't it a pity there's so much emphasis on ticking boxes these days?

Grit said...

that is lovely, and so true. thank you.