It’s definitely been wellie boot weather just recently. There’s something very satisfying about splashing through puddles, feet safely encased in their rubber shields.
Scout loves puddles, too. She sticks her snout into them, up to the eyebrows for preference, and roots out interesting things from the bottom. They get unceremoniously dragged to the surface and killed, terrier style, by a jolly good shaking. If I kick at something floating on the surface or flick water at her she pounces and bounces, yipping and growling with happy excitement. I feel sorry for the children being walked through the park by adults who carefully steer them around the puddles. What fun they are missing!
I’ve been thinking about the story I’m going to write for my dissertation and reading other people’s stories on similar themes. As part of my story takes place on a river, I read Minnow on the Say by Philippa Pearce. It was written in 1955 – 4 years before I was born – and feels like a different world. Eleven year old children earning money from a paper round; travelling the countryside by bicycle and canoe without adult supervision, but not until after they’ve finished their household chores. Taking packed lunches wrapped in sheets of paper and bringing home treasures in their handkerchiefs.
I’m not saying that was necessarily a better way of life, but sometimes I feel like modern children are missing something special. I understand that parents feel protective, but are the pictures on television as thrilling as those we see for ourselves? Can finding out about flora and fauna on the internet ever compare to finding a bird’s nest or watching a newt slip into a pond at first hand? What about climbing trees, padding in streams, building dens. They miss so much … and then I saw this.
After the dogs had finished investigating the den, we left the park and headed home. I had a huge grin on my face. For all those parents steering their offspring around the ‘dangerous, dirty’ puddles, there are still children who are out exploring and creating their own adventures. Am I foolish to find hope in this this small thing?
I like a quiet life. There – I’ve confessed. I’m not much of an adventurer or a party animal. I enjoy the occasional concert, movie or trip to the theatre. I like going for walks, curling up with a book, eating nice food, listening to music, snuggling and cuddling. I DO NOT LIKE FIREWORKS … OR BALLOONS … OR ANYTHING THAT GOES BANG.
My plan this evening was to sit at the dining room table with my laptop and catch up with some outstanding assignments on the Blogging 101 course I’m doing. Instead I’m sat on the floor, tapping one-handed on the keyboard, trying to calm to dogs who are shaking and drooling with fear because some (insert your expletive of choice here) is setting off fireworks at 6:30 on a Saturday night.
My dogs are usually pretty chilled (check the picture of Tucker) but fireworks send them to pieces. On the evenings when you usually expect fireworks (Bonfire Night, New Year) we make sure all the blinds and curtains are drawn, have the TV on extra loud and even give them some medication to try to help them relax. I’ve not found anything that works totally, but it does take the edge off things for them. Events like tonight when the bangs and flashes are unexpected and unannounced give me, other pet owners, parents of nervous children and anxious people who are spooked by loud noises no chance to prepare or protect ourselves or our loved ones.
Our Blogging 101 assignment was to include a ‘new to you’ element and to address it to your ideal audience. In the ordinary scheme of things, my ideal audience would have been agents, editors and publishers of books for children but, today, my ideal audience is anyone who sends up fireworks and my ‘new’ thing is a plea to you to think twice before sending up a rocket or lighting a Catherine Wheel. They look pretty, but to lots of people and creatures they can be terrifying.