Red kites and Blue Peter

I’ve been watching a red kite circling this afternoon. I can’t see it now but it’s not far away. There’s that distinctive cry. Back in 2012, when my sister was bottle-rearing the twin lambs, if she saw kites, she would, just to be safe, put Dave and Mildred into the guinea pig run.

We should be getting ready now for our dog show and family fun day. Last year was the first year and it was a huge success. A good turnout, great weather and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. It felt very much like the summer fetes of my childhood. But with no rain.

Today is the third anniversary of the death of John Noakes. Watching Blue Peter, and receiving the latest Blue Peter annual as a gift every year, are clear childhood memories. 

Not getting my autograph book signed by John Noakes

I never had a Blue Peter badge,
not one. I wasn’t a joiner,
a taker- part. And as for Brownies,
though the plan was always to get
a raft of badges to buck up
the drab, ditch-water brown dress,
I didn’t. The pony-trekking trip
was also , it must be said, a flop.

Instead I sang, recited, read,
my head full of dreams and stories.

There was a fete once, some wet Berkshire
village green, Bradfield, Burghfield
or wherever, and he was there
with his dog. Was it Patch? What a thrill.

He was there as judge of pets,
art, fancy dress, cakes or carrots.
Or all of them. You know the drill.
And it poured. Relentless.

We sheltered, he and I, under
damp canvas, watching the drips
at the scout tent door, drinking
sweet weak tea, just willing it all
to end. Did I get the autograph?
No. But I stroked the dog instead.

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