The sky this week has been like a damp, grey, fuzzy blanket. The itchy kind my nanna used to keep on her sofa. You’d accidentally exfoliate your legs as you leapt on it to escape from crocodiles. You know the ones? Of course. Everyone’s nanna had those blankets.
I think of crocodiles when I think of my nanna because she had a big, crumbly volume of poetry with a crocodile on the front cover. This was the point in my life at which I thought ‘Anon’ was an actual person. ‘This Anon chap wrote a lot of poems’, I thought, sitting in front of the three-bar electric fire on a scratchy blanket, a slice of toast at my elbow and the crocodile book on my knees.
She didn’t stand for any nonsense, my nanna. She wanted your best manners for everyone from the fishmonger to Uncle Barry, whom we didn’t see much, but who probably lived upstairs and definitely had the best Batman movie collection we’d ever seen. The fishmonger smelled disgusting, but there were always pink wafer biscuits at the end of it, and a fire, and Mr Anon to catch up with.
Now that’s the way to spend a wet autumn day.
Yesterday, stuffy with cold and headache, dizzy from a frantic weekend, we stayed in. By 5pm Henry was bouncing off the walls, so I did one of those right-shoes-on-out-out-out things I’m doing a lot at the minute. There’s only so long you can stay indoors watching Small Potatoes before the air goes stale in your mouth, even on an itchy-blanket day.
I rolled Henry up into his coat and we went for a walk round the block. There’s more to do than you’d think. The tree on the corner has shed all of its fiery leaves at once, hiding the pavement underneath damp and shiny yellow. He doesn’t believe in pavements, anyway. Who needs ’em. There are drain covers to stamp on, puddles to wash your hands in, other people’s cars to embrace when your mother’s not looking. He was wet to the knees within five minutes but I let him wander for ten more before we went inside.
And then, fuzzy-haired and pink-cheeked, I found a blanket and we read a book about crocodiles. Because that – thank you, nanna – is the way to spend a wet autumn day.
(if I could be a no-nonsense, best-manners, pink wafer sort of mother, well: I’d think that was pretty much a-ok.)