At the Museum
I go out every day, no matter what the weatherâ€™s doing. Well, I need the exercise and it gets me out of the flat. It doesnâ€™t take muchâ€“one block up the hill, cross over, left, all the way to the end and over that road there,London Road, they call it.
Itâ€™s funny, having a London Road in London, but thatâ€™s because it used to be in Surrey in the olden days. Where was I? Yes, I made up my mind when I retired Iâ€™d take a daily stroll, get myself a cup of tea up at the cafĂ©, go round the Gardens and if anyone smiled at me Iâ€™d smile back. Every day the same, you might say, but it wasnâ€™t, any more than going to the office.
The first time I ever went to those Gardens was with Mary, God rest her. We took the children then, of course. Once round the long path and then it was, â€śDad! Can we go to the Museum?â€ť
Before I could answer, Mary would always say, â€śNo shouting, mind!â€ť and off theyâ€™d skip to the walrus, the masks, the fish by the staircase, the beehive.
â€śHow dâ€™you get the honey outâ€“can you switch the bees off?â€ť
â€śWill you be a fossil one day?â€ť
â€śWhen I grow up Iâ€™m going to be a eagle!â€ť Memories stay with you: teaching them to tie their shoelaces, brush their teeth, write their thank-you letters â€¦
When I get up to the cafĂ©, itâ€™s as if theyâ€™re still with me, not miles away, doing grown-up things with gadgets I canâ€™t understand. Mind you, kids are a lot noisier these days.
I was daydreaming over a cup of tea the other day when some child ran a scooter over my foot. I looked down at him; he looked up at me.
â€śIâ€™m four!â€ť he said, â€śIâ€™ve got a brotherâ€“have you got a brother?â€ť
For a moment I couldnâ€™t find any words. Barry and I were twins, until the Great Goddess Diphtheria paid our house a visit. When youâ€™ve had a brother like Barry, youâ€™ve got a brother for life. Iâ€™m sure it was only a heartbeat before I managed to answer, â€śYes, Iâ€™ve got a brother.â€ť
â€śIs he bigger than you?â€ť
1, Little Brownings,
London SE23 3XJ.
Filed under: Out of my window