Sunday, 25 February 2018

Compost For Stories And Garden

6am. Grandchild 3 stirs me from disturbed sleep - fleeing snores and soothing a toddler and a jumbled dream about my dog trying to wake up because she wants a coffee - with this sentence:
‘Granma, Dog’s done a poo in the kitchen, a really big one!’

Explains the dream.

I say not to worry, I’ll clean it up - does Mummy keep cleaning things under the sink? Yes, says my observant side kick, and opens a drawer to fetch me a dust cloth.
I do not use the duster.

‘I think there’s another bit here,’ G3 advises.
‘Might just be a bit of ordinary dirt,’ I say, but she’s stuck her toe in it, so, yes, it was poop.
Toe and floor are disinfected. I make coffee, strong coffee.
Dog lies in corner, affects an apologetic face.
G3, unaffected, eats two breakfasts before her sister shouts to be fetched.

She’s beaming in her cot, our Grandchild 5, framed in curls, holding up her arms.
She’s also sticky. Too late, Granma!
Straight to the shower, G5, never mind the glower.
That should be enough, but after all that breakfast (we’re up to three and a half by now) G3 needs bathroom assistance and she’s said please, a Granma cannot refuse.

Grandad appears, he cooks up another breakfast and makes more coffee and can toilet himself, all of which I am happy about.

When the parents return and hear about the mess and laugh and make hot chocolate, these grandparents take repentant Dog for a walk at Harrowbeer, which was an airfield where Second World War pilots once mustered, and now people come to tread their boots on the grown over landing strips, and pick their steps through what the ponies have dropped.
We should have brought a bag, Grandad notes, mindful of feeding a large garden.
No thanks, this Granma says, I’ve had enough for today.

But when we get home we remember that we’d ordered ten bags from the annual dung run.
I say, ‘I’ll get my gloves.’

And though the wind has icy teeth, daffodils filter light, snowdrops nod, lumping bags brings on a glow, and there we go: good compost in the making, good memories, good stories.

Sit with another coffee (mug sized cup, perfect for hand warming) thinking of this: always after grandchildren time I sort of digest who they are - ruminate - how they are growing, what people they are becoming.

I have a grand view, hedged fields, the tree line by the river, valley slopes.
I wonder at my own future too - we are all always works in process - tip up my cup to read the grounds.
Pretty sure it was shouting YES, though I hadn’t phrased a question. 


  1. Delightful vignette, delightfully written. Beautiful children. Most admirable Granma. There is so much love in this post!

  2. Coffee grounds seem to have an apple fallen from the tree, behind that a goose, underneath it all a mix of roots and dung? Think I'm happy with that.

  3. It’s both amazing and humbling to observe our families growing and evolving. It sounds like you are enjoying the ride.


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