This morning, before he went camping, Jason got up and took the children to school with me. It was nice to share the job, despite the fact that we got stuck in traffic and squabbled for twenty minutes on the way there.
We always squabble. People who aren’t natural squabblers find it troubling, but for us, it is as much a part of our marriage as breathing. We feel bereft if we cannot have a gentle bicker to while away the hours.
The only time to worry, when we are debating something, is if we get icily polite with each other, and there are long silences while we both pick our words with great care. If there is no cessation in the grumbling, all is well. The children either ignore us, or join in until it is a giant, five way free for all and we are all bellowing over the top of each other. It is usually resolved with the power of biscuits, or a soothing bun.
After we had dropped the children off we went out for breakfast.
We went to my regular haunt, Salvador Deli, where I partook of their excellent vegetarian breakfast. It has been noted in these annals that I am not a vegetarian, but on these occasions I am willing to sacrifice the meat ration for an enormous portion of bubble and squeak which I douse liberally in their home made ketchup and eat with relish.
We sat by the window as we ate, bickering, and smiling at each other because it was Friday morning and we were bunking off, and we were bunking off with each other and it was excellent, and frankly things could have got no more excellent at that precise moment – until they did…
A very excited whippet in a smart, red jacket, came shooting round the corner and started running down the high street, sans owner.
It was gleeful – this dog. Positively gleeful. Its tail was rotating like an out of control windmill, and it kept frisking about the pavement, darting this way and that, drunk with the heady excitement of freedom.
We watched its progress down the road.
It stopped outside the green grocers. It is a proper, old fashioned green grocer, with an awning and fake grass, and baskets piled high with gorgeous looking fruit and veg outside.
The dog clearly thought it was gorgeous too, because it sniffed round all the displays, before standing up on its back legs, resting its fore paws on the astro turf and delicately snoofling at a basket of particularly fabulous looking pomegranates.
It was so taken with the pomegranates it then ran inside the shop to tell the owner how many it wanted, and wasn’t life absolutely blinking excellent, frankly, when the sun was shining and the pomegranate was on the leaf etc…
Shortly after this, an elderly lady came out of the shop, accompanied by the whippet, which she was pulling by its collar. The whippet was writhing around like a fish on a line, but still rotating its tail like a propellor. After them came a youth in a tie dyed t-shirt looking positively bewildered, and another lady.
They stood, amidst the whirling dog, who was now grinning up at them and hoping that everyone did love the pomegranates quite as much as he did.
The elderly lady gave the care of the dog to the youth, and went to her car, whereupon she produced a lead.
The dog was not terribly pleased to see the lead, as it was having the best time of its life, and didn’t fancy it being curtailed by an interfering lady with a lead, who clearly didn’t feel the same way about pomegranates after all.
As the three people were attempting to get the lead onto the dog with little success, a rather flustered lady in a gilet whizzed round the corner, spotted the furore and made a beeline for the dog.
It was only at this point that the dog’s tail started slowing down somewhat.
She was most embarrassed, judging by her body language as she wrested the dog from the people.
As they set off, back up the road, the dog’s tail got slower, and slower. Every now and again it would grin to itself and take a peek at its owner’s face in the hope that she would see how splendid the whole thing had been. She did not. The look on her face might best be described as reproachful. Every time the dog saw her expression it would look mildly repentant and stare back at the floor, until the memory of the incident made it start to smirk again.
They disappeared around the corner, but not until they had comprehensively made my day.