I am now something of an expert on Pluto.
No, not the planet, knowledge of which might prove useful in the unlikely event
I should I ever be offered a job by NASA - but Pluto, the dog.
For a start I didn’t realise that Pluto is one of the “Sensational Six”,
the biggest stars in the Disney Galaxy. Well, we tried - we really tried - to come up with the other five but we could only come up with four. As in, Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy. It turns out that the one we couldn’t think of is Daisy Duck. I mean,
really - could anyone describe Daisy Duck as “sensational”? Apologies to any of her fans...
When I say “we”, I am talking of grandson Morgan
and I who have once again been tackling on-line Lessons in Lockdown. We were getting on famously learning all about Stonehenge (regular readers will be pleased to hear that we seem to be managing to synchronise the playing of our videos now) when My Boy (Morgan’s
dad, working from home) dropped in to see what we were doing. He sternly reminded us both that we were supposed to be engaged in composing a description of Pluto, paying particular attention to capital letters, full stops and paragraphs. Stonehenge could wait,
he said. Which, bearing in mind that the earliest stones have been standing there for 5000 years or more is probably inarguable.
We turn our attention to
the task set by Morgan’s school and I make a few helpful suggestions, completely failing to pick up on the fact that the character study is not supposed to actually name the subject but to be descriptive enough for the reader to guess his / her / its
identity. “I think you’re missing the point, Nanna...” Morgan chides me. I love the way he so clearly sees me as one of his classmates.
Here are the things I didn’t know about Pluto. I didn’t know he was originally called Rover and that he has a kid brother called KB. I hadn’t actually cottoned on to the fact that he is the only one of the Sensational Six who doesn’t
dress as a human and who prefers not to speak. This has made him, according to Wikipedia, “a pioneering figure in character animation by expressing personality through animation rather than dialogue.” I probably realised he was pretty old, especially
for a dog, but I didn’t know he made his first appearance in a film ninety years ago. Now you know as much as I do and for homework you might like to watch “Lend a Paw” which won an Academy Award in 1942....
One of the tricky things about on-line lessons is when it comes to the actual writing down, using pencil and paper. I can’t, for example, look over Morgan’s shoulder and check out his capital
letters, full stops and paragraphs, his command of which, he assures me, is exemplary. Morgan doesn’t lack self-confidence. He is also participating in our lesson wearing a yellow plastic bow (as in, bow and arrow, not the beribboned variety) on
his head, like a kind of pirate’s hat which makes it difficult for me to concentrate on the Peculiarities of Pluto. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
After we have signed off with our usual applause for each other (deserved or not) and high fives, I decide to complete the Stonehenge activity set by BBC Bitesize and try to fashion a model of Britain’s most famous Ancient Monument using Mini
Weetabix (from the larder cupboard) and sticky Sellotape pads (from my craft cupboard.) It is very, very fiddly but I am rather pleased with the result and send a photo, via WhatsApp, to my classmate. Morgan fails to respond but his older brother, James,
informs me that he loves it.
The original stone circle has lasted around 2,500 years and counting; my mini Stonehenge crumbled and fell into biscuity pieces after
just one day. I had to deposit it in the bin, yet one more symbol of our modern day throwaway society.
I’m thinking maybe I took BBC Bitesize a little too