Ridiculous, isn’t it, how the little things occupy so much of your time. Some represent more than is apparent. Like the small globe in front of me, a gift from my daughter, containing purple and pink glitter and a picture of us in the misty chill of winter. But then there are the bills to be opened, emails to be sent, appointments to be arranged. Scouring pads to be bought. While around you people are getting sick, going missing, moving away, getting married, having babies.
I’m not quite sure where blogging belongs in all this. It brings with it problems of its own: template selection, etiquette, comments, quality of writing. And one of the biggest difficulties of all: keeping track of all the blogs. I’ve solved the problem by getting myself a ‘feed reader’. It took me a day to download (upload?) all the blogs onto it, but now it appears to work by sorcery. Every so often a little box pops up telling me that Wife in the North or Drunk Mummy have completed another small work of art.
Nevertheless it’s a little thing. Yesterday I was looking after my daughter and her friend, who were sitting on my head as I made my way through 100 of the world’s favourite nursery rhymes. Suddenly three fire engines lurched round the corner followed by an ambulance. Sirens whined, blue lights whirred, people arrived at windows clutching babies and looking on with fearful expressions. I opened the door and craned around the door jamb to see thick black smoke gushing out of the basement two houses along, across a small alleyway. Firemen in purple suits jumped dramatically from their vehicles, unfurling hoses and spinning taps. A couple of them ran down the steps into the basement and emerged a while later, panting, faces smeared with soot. It wasn’t like watching a fire on the news. It was real and urgent and frightening.
Although people with children were stopping to watch I didn’t want my daughter or her friend to look on so I closed the door. It seemed to be under control, but we carried on downstairs, just in case. Eventually I started cooking tea: browning chicken and boiling vegetables, listening to the girls chatting.
”Do you like pink or yellow?”
“I like pink too!”
“Do you like pink fish, by any chance?”
“Actually I do.”
“I do too.”
“I’m going to be Sophie.”
“No, I’m going to be Sophie.”
“No, you can be Amy.”
“But in the next game you can be Sophie.”
I have all but forgotten about the activity outside. The doorbell rings. Seeing it is the friend’s father I open the door and exclaim brightly “Burnt the toast again!”
Suddenly I see the look of horror on his face. “I came round the corner and I thought…”