"A man walks onto a pitch..."
Never fear, I am not about to launch into a footballing joke. To be honest, I am not even sure I know any. My dear Dad - a football aficionado
on Mr B's scale - always said that football was far too important to be the subject of jokes.
No, "A Man Walks Onto a Pitch" is the title of the latest book which Mr B and I are reading together. It's by Harry
Redknapp and it was a Christmas present from our brother-in-law, Baz, who read it himself and immediately went out to buy a copy for Mr B because he just knew he would appreciate it. It's a good Christmas present, don't you think, that you are still enjoying
at the end of January?
Each chapter of the book is devoted to a different decade, starting with the Fifties, and for each decade Harry - or Our 'Arry as Mr B and I have taken to addressing him with quite unwonted
familiarity - chooses his Team of the Decade. As you can imagine, this provokes much discussion as we avidly turn the pages to find the Team Sheet. Or, bearing in mind that I am poorly qualified to pass judgement on Footballers Past And Present, it is mostly
Mr B doing the talking.
Mr B and I have been reading aloud together ever since his poor old head started getting so muddled that he couldn't concentrate on the written page any more. Out of adversity can come
something quite special - and we love our afternoons Reading Together. Mr B finds it particularly funny when I - who never swears - have to read out some of the more torrid language without which, it seems, no sporting tome will pass the publisher's checklist.
I reckon it is extremely good practice for me - not the purple language, you understand, but the reading out loud. What's more, it's practice that I need because this coming week, according to the Middle of the Darling
Daughters, is National Story Telling Week. She has therefore invited me along to Young Faris's pre-school Playgroup as a Visiting Story Teller. Faris, she tells me, will be rapt that his Nanni is coming to Playgroup.
I am a little worried what Our Rascal will think when he realises he has to share me with all the other two and three year olds at Story Time. He doesn't have a particularly good track record when it comes to sharing his dinosaurs...
But who am I kidding? Comparing myself to a dinosaur, even of the small plastic variety! It's high time I knew my place in the Great Order of Things.
Now here is my problem.
I do have a story of my own which I could tell the Little Munchkins. It would be an excellent piece of market testing to try it out on such a discerning audience. Let's face it, two and three year olds will not humour me. They will not sit there politely,
smiling angelically, if they find my story (i) boring; (ii) hard to understand; or (iii) plain ridiculous. They will fidget. They will pull each other's hair out of sheer boredom. Some may try to leave the Story Circle and leg it back to the sand pit when
nobody is looking. I could hardly blame them, now could I?
I am thinking that a few props might be a good idea. Because my story is all in my head, there are no pictures and for the average two or three year
old a book without pictures is, well, just no fun at all. I shall scout around for appropriate props to illustrate my tale, the more colourful and out of the ordinary the better.
I used to tell spooky action
stories to my Brownies, in those long ago days when I was a Brown Owl (or Brown Ale, as the Dads called me). These involved the Brownies in lots of jumping up, twirling round and making appropriate sound effects which was enormous fun but might be a step too
far for the Littl'uns of St Oswald's Playgroup.
No, I shall have courage. I shall brave my focus group of Tweenies and take their verdict on my story on the chin. They will be far, far better judges of my
story telling ability than any publisher, however renowned.
Though I will probably take "Pushchair Polly" - the tried and tested tale of a child who outgrows her pushchair but refuses to abandon it until enticed
away by the charms of a push bike - along with me too.
Just in case Story Time goes horribly wrong, you understand...