Spike: What can you see?
Me, gazing at the tatty and bleak winter field: AN ELEPHANT!
Spike, eyeing me: Are you joking?
Me: Okay, you got me.
Me, pinned in by cushions: Oh no! I am stuck, now.
Spike: It's just pretend, Bobby. (His name for me).
What a relief. For a minute there, I thought I really was a jailed monster! We did some drawings of Wally, (aka Waldo) (Have you ever looked closely at the Where's Wally drawings? bit... nutty? The artistic equivalent of subconscious ramblings, seems to me. Like when you are asked to think of a word, any word, and all you can think of is PUBIC or something really embarrassing. (Not that this has ever happened to me!) All sorts of mad things are going on: half-dressed men push carts and princesses eat ice-creams.)
My niece Dazzle is getting quite no-ish, as she approaches two. She sings a no-no-no song, with great delight. She's funny. Are you my best girl, Dazzle, says her mother. No, says Dazzle, no, no, no, arching her back against her restricting car seat. She can say quite a few words now, but no generally seems the best fit, as far as she is concerned.
But yes, I am eating my way through Leinster. I have to eat every 3 hours, which is a lot even for me. Watch out Wales, I am going east! I'll toss down a few hundred of your sheep and drink your lakes for a pre-lunch snack! Technically I am a vegetarian, but the slavering giant within doesn't seem to care.
Me: Oh. I think they've improved that now, Ma.
Ma: Oh good. I am glad to see things have come on in the last 40 years!
Ah, Ma. She is such a stalwart. So stouthearted, but my uncle's sickness and the undeniable change in my father since his stroke is hard on her. I am fonder than I used to be of my father, he is so much sweeter and less arg-ANGRY, but for her, the fact is her spouse has lost a part of his powerful and charismatic personality. He's just different, less capable, more befuddled, more stooped.
Those are the terms of life, I realise. The hard part is accepting them.
Ooh! It's racing up to 11.15. Time for elevenses!