Terrible lizards, bluebirds and a painting in the attic

Two of the smalls were around this morning, while their mother snatched a couple of hours’ freedom for studying. We were scraping the barrel with the games still unplayed. But Downfall and Connect 4 whiled away a happy hour, while big globs of gloopy, sticky rain landed on the glass above and around us. Despite protests, when a couple of jigsaw puzzles were unearthed, we got stuck in and particularly enjoyed the dinosaur one.

I tried to explain who Dame Vera Lynn was to one of the children. The term ‘forces sweetheart’ was far too archaic to feature. The small person claimed never to have heard the song ‘We’ll meet again’. I’m sure it was playing on a loop at our VE Day picnic.

Whatever your position on the political scale, however you regard the Second World War, there was surely something rather splendid – heroic, no-nonsense, lacking in personal vanity – about the dame? Having all your own marbles, being able to hold a tune and reaching 103 is pretty good too. I wondered if people would still be listening to those iconic forties’ anthems 50 years from now?

And the Streetcat Bob died a few days ago. Aged ‘at least 14’. He must have been, as his transformational relationship with his recovering addict/Big Issue seller human dated from 2007. By all accounts, Bob was a remarkable marmalade feline. I saw the film and blubbed throughout. I might rename our ginger cat ‘Vera Roberta’ for the weekend.

Miss Baxter brought in a critter while we were having a TV supper and watching Professor Brian Cox on astronomy. The part I saw started with dinosaur footprints. The husband was following the whole thing. I drifted off, deeply impressed by the spareness of the commentary, the flattened yet emotive vowel sounds of the boyman scientist in his black teeshirt and walking trousers. You know the sort of thing.

There may well be a really scary painting in the Professor’s attic. There’s probably no longer a small mouse under the sofa in the conservatory. It would be good to predict with confidence those mythical bluebirds appearing sometime again soon.

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