As you may know, I have trained the children up in my image and likeness, and like their mother, they are all keen treasure hunters. Their especial joy is the car boot sale.
There is a large one not far from us and when the season starts we can be seen trotting back and forth in a rutted field, avoiding cow pats and inhaling the heady scent of hot dogs and Mr. Whippy.
We haven’t been yet this year, and I had promised them that we would go yesterday morning. I was feeling a bit torn about it, given last week’s excesses, but I had a stern word with myself about it. Something along the lines of ‘pull yourself together woman’. I had promised them a fiver each with which to fill their bags with whatever their heart’s desired. This is one of the major tenets of our treasure hunting when it comes to car booting. I do not mind if they buy a glass penguin, or a sombrero, or 47 pencil sharpeners. Their money is their own. Luckily, they rarely have enough to buy anything truly startling, and we are limited as to size by the fact that my car is very small, so I don’t get too panic stricken.
They were very excited about it. I woke them up reasonably early, not the sort of early you need if you’re going to pick up the only Ming vase in Leicestershire, but early enough for them all to be a bit grumpy, until they realised why they were getting up.
Then Tallulah went a bit funny on the landing, and it was all downhill from there.
Her best friend, Mary, had a spectacular vomiting bug at school on Friday, and it appears that Tallulah was next in line to inherit the jewel beyond price that is throwing up into a plastic bowl all day whilst feeling you have been brutally run over.
I felt so sorry for her.
My children aren’t ill very often, and when they are they take it as a personal affront.
She was tragic about not being able to go ‘booting’, she was tragic about not being able to eat breakfast. She was mortified at the indignity of what soul deep vomiting does to you, and as the day went by she got steadily greyer and quieter and more forlorn. Like the cow with the crumpled horn.
Her back ached, and her belly ached, and she had a pounding headache and a temperature.
I kept forcing her to strip off so I could check her for rashes. Early training as a mother as to the perils of all things rash related dies hard it seems.
We did our best to entertain her. Oscar played Monopoly with her, but the game fizzled out when it was clear that her usual, cut throat ambition to win was entirely lacking and she merely got a bit tearful and lack lustre about the whole affair. We put the first season of Sherlock on in the afternoon, which would have been considered a great prize in normal circumstances, and she would have watched it with forensic attention. As it was she merely dozed and vomited and shivered under her blanket.
In the evening she asked me if she could have a bath, to which I concurred.
She patted my elbow and whispered in my ear: ‘Will you come and sit with me, in case something happens to me in the bath?’
So I did.
Nothing happened, except for me nearly losing my voice after reading fifty pages of Percy Jackson, and the bottom of the bath having to be scrubbed out because the Lush bath bomb she chose turned out to contain a metric tonne of glitter.
After I had helped her get dry and into clean pyjamas she whispered: ‘Can I go to bed now, please?’
Which worried me more than all the other things put together.
Death Before Dishonour is Tallulah’s motto when it comes to bed times.
When I went to check on her, she was almost asleep, and just roused herself to say to me: ‘I don’t know which I am more excited about, being able to go to the car boot sale tomorrow (it’s on for two days on bank holiday) or having breakfast.’ Before I could reply she was asleep.
I worried about her all night.
This morning when I went to check on her she was already up. I wondered if this was because she had woken up being poorly and taken herself downstairs to distract herself from being ill.
I dashed downstairs only to find her bright, breezy, full of pinkness and vigour and clicking her heels together with a hey nonny nonny, desperate to grab the day by its extremities and chomping at the bit.
It never ceases to amaze me a) how much children can scare the living daylights out of you, b) how ill children can get so quickly and c) how astonishingly quickly they bounce back from those illnesses. So much so that you begin to doubt that they were ever ill in the first place.
So we have feasted on Shreddies and the finest fruit juices in the land and now we are off to hunt for treasure with a fiver in our pockets and hope in our hearts.