Among the thrilling adventures which make life so much richer, novelty rates highly in my culture.
For my daughter, the thrill of so much novelty is balanced well with repetition.
Many things bear repeating. For me, chocolate. For Obama, an inauguration. For my daughter, anything with half a tune involving yaw, roll or pitch. Or perhaps a cloth.
Lily loves to repeat the usual stuff: Row, Row, Row Your Boat; Round and Round the Garden and Where’s Lily? – all of which can be indicated to the casual observer non-verbally. Yet one game stands as the simplest but perhaps the deepest of all games. It transcends language. It provokes smiles.
There. A concept of critical national importance.
I was in a park in Blackburn, just this last Saturday, with Lily and her dad and grandpa. Mention must be made that all four fountains were in working order. Ducks swam toward us when I imitated them or threw imaginary bread in their direction. Three geese were also there. Now, I am not scared of geese, which is an integral part of this story.
My daughter loves taking a look at things, especially animals. I showed her that there were some geese on the pond-side of some very parksome railings and drew the pram up close. Lily leaned forward. So did the geese. Lily opened her eyes wide. The geese looked at each other. On the count of three they began to hiss. I tried quacking, but this made this breakaway sect flap their wings. They did not look like the kind of birds who would be fooled by imaginary bread, innit. They were far too streetwise, right? I was surprised to note that their coats were not of the Burberry persuasion.
It became apparent that my daughter would need to learn the power of one of the most important words in the English language.
Turning their tails, flapping their wings and ducking (yes, ducking) out of my stare, the geese retreated like chavs in Sunday School and the magic worked.
Which has prompted one more novel thought in my blog for today: how one might make chavs welcome at church.