Sunday, 1 April 2007

April Fools

Pinch and a punch, first of the month, white rabbit no returns!

I wake this morning to the strains of ‘Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat’. Giggling drifts down the stairs from the girls’ room as they miss their cues with ‘Go, Go, Go, Joseph…’. N gets up to make tea and say good morning to his daughters. Snatches of conversation reach my ears. There is talk of giant Barbie head, one of the treasures from yesterday’s sale. The word ‘rubbish’ seems to feature. N goes downstairs to put the kettle on. L comes into me and shoves her little face in mine: ‘Mummy, do you think Barbie’s rubbish?’. I can’t remember what I say, but she runs off happily enough crowing ‘Well, I like it!’.

I open the curtains gingerly, mindful of yesterday. Sunshine streams in. The sheep are less static this morning, drifting from the far field towards us, following each other on a well-trodden path through a marshy little stream and a crumbling wall. Still fat, no lambs yet. The farmer has fixed a strip of wire fencing to the bottom of the wooden gate onto the lane, opposite our drive, where errant sheep had barged off its bottom rung, making good their escape. My plants are safe again. Until the lambs come.

N comes in with tea. He puts a leg up on the wide low windowsill, elbow on knee, hand on chin and gazes through the glass and stone at the tableau stretching before him. ‘Marvellous’ he says in the mock tones of his departed father. L rushes in again in her spotty dog pyjamas, hair wild. ‘Mummy, Mummy, Barbie’s in the bathroom and it’s doing it’s nails’. This is a worrying development. We now have a giant Barbie head dragging itself around the house and performing self-manicures. Stephen King, where are you now? I feel a reluctant urge to go and watch. Barbie Head is indeed perched on a stool, her hands draped elegantly in a turquoise plastic heart-shaped bowl of water, nails the same shade of blue. G is engaged in bathing a baby which has half a black coconut shell on its head in lieu of a bathcap, giving it a strangely oriental air. E picks up Barbie Head’s curling tongs. ‘Do these really work, Mummy?’ N lets out a sort of ‘pah!’ noise. More helpfully, I read the back of the box. ‘Hair magically holds curls!’ is the boast. ‘You might find that the dustbin magically holds Barbie’ says N, menacingly. I ignore him and show E how to use the tongs, explaining that they would normally be hot. She beams at me as she holds the nylon strands in a twist. N warns her not to invest too much time in it and that the dustmen come on Tuesday mornings.

I leave them to it. Papers to read, red herrings to find, plants to plant, roast beef to cook, and a long walk in the spring sunshine to be enjoyed. I like Sundays.
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