Thursday, 1 November 2012

Tarantulas, bat-mobiles and skunks

Sam and I drove to Aylesbury today for my godson, Will’s birthday party. We started out at some ungodly hour, eating toast and drinking tea in Muswell Hill, whilst waiting for the toy shop there to open. I ended up with a kit for discovering dinosaur bones (a must-have for any intrepid 7 year-old) and a hoola hoop for Will's sister, Jeanie. (It's horrible to be present-less on your big brother's birthday.)

The party itself was held in a little village hall and had, as its special guest, a zoologist, who brought with her a number of unusual animals to show to the children. There were snakes, tarantulas, strange rat-like rodents and iguanas, but by far the most exciting animal was the skunk. I’ve never seen a skunk before. Not in the flesh. I actually got quite excited when I was given the opportunity to stroke it. It was a fluffy little thing; slightly docile, but terribly sweet. I was rather disappointed, however, to hear that he’d had his stink gland removed. The 8 year-old boy in me has always wanted to know what skunk stink smells likes!

We went back to Raily and Ian’s (Will’s parents) afterwards for the most wonderful butternut squash soup, which we ate whilst building things out of Lego on the dining room table. For the record, I assisted in the creation of a Bat-mobile, a totem pole and a bi-plane, which met a sticky end in a pumpkin.

We sat by the open fire and I taught Will how to play chess, whilst Sam read to little Jeanie-Rae in an armchair. Will is growing up into such a remarkable young man. He’s intelligent and considerate and has a wonderful imagination. As we walked along the street towards his house, he stopped, and stepped out of the way for a nun on a mobility scooter. Jokes about nuns on mobility scooters aside, I was very impressed to see a 7-year old behaving so chivalrously and felt genuinely proud to be his godfather.

As we said goodbye, Raily hugged me and said, “you know we think of you as part of the family, don’t you?” My eyes prickled slightly.

Saturday November 1st, 1662, and Pepys was back in the cellars of the Tower of London digging for buried treasure. They dug all afternoon, under every arch they could find, because intelligence suggested that the gold coins were buried underneath an arch. After about four hours, they went away, “like fools.”

No comments:

Post a Comment