Copyright© 2011 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
Catherine sat in her recliner thing and bounced as she watched us lay the table for tea. I gave her a little piece of bread and butter to nibble on as she watched. Trish, much to my surprise offered to feed her.
“I thought you didn’t like her spitting food all over you?”
“I don’t, but I want to learn how to feed her.”
“If I let you, remember that you’re much older than her, she doesn’t know much of what she’s doing, but you do.”
“I know, Mummy—I’ll be good, I promise.”
“Okay.” I opened a small pot of liquidised food I had in the fridge, and warmed it in a jug of boiling water. About five minutes later I tipped it out into a warm dish and handed it and the spoon to Trish, who’d pulled on one of my aprons—I hardly ever wear them, they look silly with jeans.
I watched as Trish gently and carefully fed her little sister, testing the spoonful of food on the back of her hand to make sure it was warm but not hot. Thankfully, Catherine was hungry and gobbled down the food.
I made a large pot of tea and reboiled the kettle, then called everyone for tea. I put some bread, a slice of meat and one of cheese on my plate along with some salad stuff—mainly watercress and some cherry tomatoes. Then sat to one side and let Catherine at my breast—she hungrily sucked on my nipple and I sat back and drank the cuppa Jenny had poured me.
She had Puddin’ sat in the high chair eating bits of meat and cheese with soldiers of bread and the way she was tucking in, she was enjoying them.
By the time I’d finished feeding the drowsy baby, all the food, except the bits I’d put on my plate had disappeared, like a swarm of locusts had eaten everything in sight. Julie took the almost sleeping baby and changed her for me while I sat and ate my tea.
Then after we’d cleaned up, we played cards, or most of us did. Trish played and nearly beat her granddad at chess. Livvie narrowly beat Billie at Pelmanism, the memory game with cards where you have to pair up cards from a pack laid out on the floor, face down.
Finally, I saw the girls off to bed and read them a story, a chapter from the Maddy Bell, Gaby stories—which they all love. I read them one about the American visitors and the visit to the pop festival.
When we had some peace and quiet, I showed Erin’s email to Simon. “I’ll see how the bank is fixed for sponsorship, and maybe we could encourage the BBC to advance some cash.”
“I don’t know how badly I want to make the film, Si; it’s not as if I don’t have enough to do.”
“Let’s see what the bank says first, we were part sponsoring it anyway.”
“Oh all right, but don’t push too hard, it is almost nepotism.”
“No it isn’t, it’s encouraging conservation and making people aware of the wonders out there right under their noses, and which without some help, they’d never see.”
His eloquence nearly threw me until I recalled the same description appearing in a critic’s article in the Guardian about my first film.
We went to bed and after cuddling for a while, I drifted off into long and satisfying sleep. I awoke with Trish poking me. “Mummy, may I have a cuddle.”
I drowsily glanced at the clock, it was about five, and I moved towards the middle of the bed and let her climb in. I was tempted to ask her why she was awake but was too sleepy.
At seven the alarm went off and I came to enough to feel a third body in the bed, then remembered Trish had climbed in earlier.
“Mummy, can I use a computer today?”
“If you behave, yes.”
“I will, and thank you.” She kissed me on the cheek and got out of bed.
“Not now, missy, I called after her and took her into the shower with me. I had a quick glance at her groin as we washed it and it looked as natural as Livvie’s and Mima’s. There was no doubt that Michael O’Rourke was a very talented surgeon.
While Livvie and Mima were even more accepting of Trish and her revised anatomy, Billie had become a little more shy and only entered the bathroom on her own, shutting out her sisters as if she didn’t want her body to be seen. It might have been her age, she is a bit older than the others and therefore on the edge of puberty when children become so self-conscious. She was on androgen blockers to prevent her becoming masculinised, and I suspected before too long would be on a low dose of oestrogens to keep her level with her contemporaries.
While I was doing her hair, I asked her if she had any special friends at school and she said she got on well with another girl called Zoe. I told her if she wanted to invite Zoe over for an evening at a weekend, to feel free. She said she’d think about it.
I was aware I hadn’t made that many friends at school, in fact, I didn’t have a single one from my own school, being something of a pariah. My main friend had been Siân whose help and support during the Lady Macbeth period had been invaluable. Admittedly, I do have a slight problem with authority figures and when I would have rebelled to some extent against Murray and my dad, she gave me assistance in doing it in ways which surprised them and encouraged me to think laterally when dealing with bullies.
Boys tend to deal with violence with more violence or by withdrawal and ambush. Girls tend to avoid violence mostly, and withdraw often becoming depressed. I was becoming the latter until Siân helped me to see a better way. She was only months older than I, but in those days she was so much more mature and confident. I must get to see her again sometime soon, perhaps take a day out in Salisbury or even Winchester.
Talking of said capital of Saxon England, when we did that in history, King Alfred, patron saint of burnt cakes, and his resistance to the Danish invaders, one of the boys in my form asked the teacher if Alfred had won because he had extra firepower.
Thinking the boy meant archers, the teacher said he didn’t know, the boy then elaborated to suggest Alfred’s use of Winchester carbines would have given him great advantage and is why he named his capital after the gun. Talk about putting the cart before the horse—it might be of little surprise that the boy in question failed O-level history comprehensively, but was making his name as an inventor of gadgets such as they sell in novelty shops.
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