Friday 27 April 2007

Mistress of All Evil

Chit-chat, chit-chat, that’s all I seemed to do yesterday. I jumped ship en route to football and escaped to the library – people wandered in and out (chit chat, chit chat). I popped into the bookshop and ended up helping Patsy try to find some antiquarian classics tome (chit chat, chit chat, giggle-giggle). Meandered down the lane, past the mill-leat, past the cottages all huddled together like a bunch of girls in the playground (chit-chat etc). Discovered Adrian on the pitch, struggling to maintain control. Christian was lobbing mud. Ben and Luke were wrestling in a puddle. Jools and Fran (two of the mums) had come over to offer support and the odd bawling-out. They beckoned me over (you’ve got it - chit-chat).

Off to South Molton to grab some goodies for Sunday lunch from the market. Bumped into my friend Rachel by the cheese stall. Just about to launch into a mega chit-chat when her eldest child, Ruth, self-styled Mistress of All Evil, butted in:
‘Jane.’ Said peremptorily in a much deeper, darker, growlier voice than a child should possess.
‘It’s my birthday. I’m nine. I’ve been galloping on the moor this morning.’ She tugged down her grungy black skull-embellished T-shirt with pride.
I have a very soft spot for Ruth. Always have, ever since she firmly turned her back on pink as a two-year old and declared that Snow White was a wuss and that the Evil Queen was where the action was. But truly she is a little terrifying. At three, when someone asked the children what they wanted to be when they grew up, she looked scornfully at the girls who piped sweetly that they wanted to be, variously, ballet dancers, stable girls, vets, princesses, mummies.
‘I want to rule.’
‘Oh, be prime minister you mean?’ said I, deeply impressed. That’s my girl!
‘Furrowed brow. ‘Oh no. He only rules Britain AND he has to answer to the cabinet.’ Scary.

Her parents are both lovely people – kind, mild, easy-going. Her younger sister, Helena, is truly bonny and blithe and good and gay (in the original meaning) trip-trapping through the big bad forest with a basket for granny. So where did Ruth’s mania for world domination come from?

Poor Rachel. She’s a good mother, a concerned parent. She’s read every book going, from The Terrible Two’s through The Difficult Child to The Trouble with Tweenies. She still doesn’t understand why one child should be a strop-fest with dictatorial urges.
‘Maybe she needs more structure,’ she sighed.
‘The army?’ I offered.
‘God no,’ said Rachel. ‘She’d go straight to the top and would you really want The Mistress of All Evil with her finger on the nuclear button?
‘Not the army.’

Anyhow, they hauled us off for lunch at That New Place (truly is called that).
‘Guess what I was for National Book Day, Jane?’ said Ruth.
Now, let me think. She’s madly into Harry Potter but Hermione would be far too nice.
‘Professor Snape.’ A good choice, I thought.
She laughed throatily. ‘No, silly. I was a dementor.’
Silly me indeed. I caught Rachel’s eye and she leant over to whisper dramatically, ‘She sucks out all the joy you have ever known!’

Meanwhile Gabriel, the nearly two-year old (and my beloved godson), lounged like Nero before grabbing my hand and dragging me firmly off to a quiet corner for a bout of his favourite sport of Pointing.

Eventually we hauled ourselves away and dropped in to the ‘organic shop’ for a few bits. There’s a gallery attached and inside a woman weaving (thought of Mandy). James watched entranced and, inevitably it ended up with a bit of chit-chat that became a bit involved as James wanted precise explanations of sheep drenching and worming and parasites. Adrian all the while, sitting patiently as a Labrador, in the car.

Back home and a quick turnaround. Blogging for me, chain-sawing for Adrian, solo cricket (don’t ask) for James. Then I slapped on a bit of mascara and raced off to meet my sister for supper at the Thai restaurant in town. V lives outside London and isn’t down that often so off we went (chit-chat, gossip-gossip, moan-moan, cackle-cackle) for four hours until we realised that we were the only ones left. It was a lovely evening and if you’re ever around these parts, ask someone to point you to the place (otherwise you’d never find it).
I drove back at the witching hour and the tawnies welcomed me up the drive and Adrian welcomed me at the door. Putting an arm round me, he and I stood and watched the stars until our noses started to freeze and then we went in and sat in a little pool of light on the sofa in the kitchen for one last dose of ever-so sleepy chit-chat, chit-chat.

PS – thanks for all the encouraging messages yesterday. Toady – I hope you’re psychic! SuffolkMum, Camilla and AnnaK – do wish one of you could take over my dear house. CL – thanks for the ribes advice – sooo nearly brought some in and something was niggling at the back of my memory. The last thing we need is more pee smell.

PPS – thanks too for the enquiries after LS. Still lost, sadly. Hope is fading.

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