Little Miss Curly Head is desperate to gain entrance to the children’s playground, sadly closed as a result of the Pesky Pandemic. “Lift me over!” she commands her poor mother who sighs heavily and casts
a worried look in my direction. She is clearly expecting me to shake my head and wag a warning finger...
She need not have worried. Not only am I the least judgmental
of people but I am also contemplating what the Rascally Trio would have been doing, faced with the same situation. I suspect they would have been casting around for something which might serve as a battering ram to attack the barred gate. Miss Curly Head’s
mother gives in and lifts her daughter over the fence and into the deserted playground where she whoops with delight and clambers excitedly up to the very top of the climbing frame. Miss Curly Head, that is, not her mother - honestly!
“She should be at school,” her mother tells me, having obviously summed me up as a generally sympathetic listener. “She was due to start in March which obviously didn’t happen
and now I’ve been told she can’t start till after half-term. All her friends are at school - she has nobody to play with.” Miss Curly Head appears to be having a Fine Old Time all by herself in the playground.
A member of staff arrives and speaks to the mother. I bury my head in my book, so as not to appear a Nosey Parker. Miss Curly Head is told, in no uncertain terms, that she must leave the playground
straightaway or her mother will be in serious trouble. She gives this possibility serious consideration then, extremely reluctantly, allows herself to be hauled back over the fence. Mother and daughter head off, possibly to buy a drink and an ice-cream though
I am making this bit up because I don’t see them anymore after they head off into the cafe.
Okay, you are thinking that this isn’t particularly interesting
(unless, of course, you are Miss Curly Head and / or her mother) but what you need to know is that this chance encounter is, to me, a sweet by-product of a most welcome Taste of Freedom. Here I am, in the local garden centre, sitting at a table in the open
space area of the cafe with a blessed hour stretching out before me. I have bought myself a large latte and a similarly over-sized fruit scone and I have the enticing prospect of a new book to dip into. Back at home, the Lovely Kay is keeping Mr B company,
while at the same time endeavouring to find various household tasks which I have been neglecting.
It’s my new weekly ritual - two hours of “me
time” on a Wednesday, replacing all those little outings which used to keep me sane but which, like the children’s playground, have been decreed out of bounds for the last six months. It was the Darling Daughters who persuaded me that I should
introduce some regular Time Out and, obedient as ever, I did as I was told...
I send Kay a photo of my extremely large cup of coffee, my half-eaten fruit scone
and the book I am reading. She messages back to say that I deserve my treats and that all is okay at home. She and Mr B are watching “a house programme”, she informs me, by which I guess that Mr B is introducing her to Escape to the Country. I
send the same photo to my Little Sister who says she wishes that she could be with me - which would be absolutely splendid though I doubt I’d do much reading in her company...
I am thinking that I need to be organised in future, to plan ahead so as not to waste my precious hours of freedom. I certainly can’t afford to fritter the time away. The local swimming pool re-opens on Monday and I haven’t swum for
simply ages; will my Recovering Shoulder manage twenty lengths of my faulty breast-stroke? Which of my favourite places shall I re-visit? Should I take a picnic when I go out? Or find a place to eat out at socially distanced tables? It’s all so very
For two hours a week, the world (or at least the part of which I can reach in the time at my disposal) will be my playground...