Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Day with Seven-Year-Old
I took the week off and took the opportunity to spend the week with The Girl. This morning, as I jogged along the canal and The Girl rode her bicycle, we kept a lookout along the hedgerows, and occasionally one of us shouted and pointed to the other.
“Look Papa! Sloes!” she said, pointing to the small oval leaves of the blackthorn tree and the black fruit hidden in its recesses. She knows we make sloe gin, but the few trees we have seen are thorny as their name, often deep in brambles and rose-vines, their fruits high and inaccessible. But we stopped on the road and looked up, and saw branches covered in plump sloes just out of reach.
“I’ve got an idea, Papa!” she said. She got on my shoulders and stripped dozens of sloes from the trees, dropping them as I caught them in my shirt.
Later that day, we talked about the fact that the puffins on our shores moo like cows – because they just weren’t comical enough – and we decided it would be sweet if puffins and cows can talk to each other. Cows would never know how to swim in the sea or fly over cliffs, but puffins could tell them what it’s like, and cows could tell them about the green fields the puffins might never see. On the other hand, The Girl pointed out, if they are from different parts of the island, they would speak differently, although she allowed that a puffin could learn to speak with a cow accent.
After I read to her from The Phantom Tollbooth and tucked her in bed, we got to talking about what letters would taste like. We both agreed that A would taste like maple syrup, and The Girl seemed very sure that K would be crunchy and bacon-flavoured. When I brought up the letter T, we both responded at the same time - - dry, salty crackers. I suggested M would be chocolate, but The Girl seemed quite certain it would taste of plums and blueberries. Finally, we put different words together and tried to imagine the flavour combination.