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.


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.


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,

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


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.