Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Walk In The Park

Opposite our house is a little park, and it was to this park that I yesterday decided to take the Blue Kitten during a break in the seasonal Cornish rain.

While the Kitten is used to going to the park with her dad, an afternoon outing with me is a bit of a rarity, given that I'm one of those Daily Mail hate-figures; a full-time working mum.

Still, it all started off very successfully: we managed to navigate the crossing of the road OK, the Kitten obediently held my hand until we were safely inside the park with the gates closed behind us, and the planned game of kickabout with the plastic football unfolded in frankly impressive style.

(Indeed if Fabio Capello were to send a talent scout down to Penryn, he or she would undoubtedly return Up Country raving about a tiny blonde bombshell, the quality of whose dribbling and running-forward skills cannot be disguised even by the wearing of one-size-too-big Dora the Explorer wellies.)

Not only that, but we had a great game of peeking at each other through some of the new and slightly perplexing municipal exercise equipment, and I successfully dissuaded the Kitten from shredding the poppy wreaths around the war memorial (the park wasn't always a park; until May 1941 it was an impressive Georgian terrace flanking a three-sided Georgian square, brought to an untimely end - along with 18 of its residents - by a stray German bomb probably intended for Falmouth Docks).

There followed a chase around the path and a gaze through the railings at the Bowling Green, which, I informed the Kitten, had been there since the sixteenth century at least; the sea captains domiciled in Broad Street playing endless rounds of bowls while waiting for favourable winds and tides to take them to fight Spaniards, or loot Spaniards, or sell granite to Spaniards according to the prevailing politico-economic circumstances of the day.

(Today, the good citizens of Broad Street and Quay Hill stay indoors playing Fallout 3 and Bioshock 2 as they wait for favourable calls from literary agents, television commissioners, organisers of international sculpture exhibitions and artisanal tea-growers, but the Bowling Green remains, its clubhouse very much a terrestrial departure lounge for Penryn's elderly residents if the frequency of its flag flying at half-mast is any guide.)

This is where it all starts to go wrong. Wearying of my fascinating local history lesson, the Kitten makes a dash for the wrought iron gates, furiously shaking them in an effort to escape the park and go and do something more exciting, like rolling about in the road. In rapid pursuit, I gather up the football and discarded jacket and catch up with the Kitten just as she manages to wrestle her way out on to the pavement. Here, she decides, will be a good place to lie on the ground shouting 'DEATH!' and 'Six Six Six!' for the entertainment of passing motorists. Nothing will persuade her otherwise.

There is no option but to pick her up, temporarily abandon the fallen-off Dora the Explorer welly boot, and bundle her home (which is only on the other side of the road). Heroically, I gather up Kitten plus football plus discarded jacket, and the mission is close to being accomplished.

Except that I can't get up. At eight and a half months pregnant, I am stuck squatting on the pavement opposite my house clutching a wailing two-year-old, a football and a jacket, and I can't move. Something has to be jettisoned, so I let go of the football, which trundles forlornly into the road. A passing motorist slows down, picks it up and throws it back on to the pavement, but there's nothing I can do about that now. I am the worst mother in the world, unable even to go across the road to the park without getting into difficulties and endangering the life of my own child and that of sundry passing motorists. I try not to imagine the Daily Mail headlines.

Seconds later, the Kitten and I both arrive home in floods of tears, much to the bemusement of Mr BC, who thinks we only went for a nice stroll in the park. I dash back out to recover the lost welly boot and the football, only to discover two lost wellies, one of which is in the middle of the road being studiously avoided by passing motorists, and one of which is on the pavement opposite.

There is no sign of the plastic football. I imagine it rolling away down Quay Hill, gathering pace as it approaches the junction with Commercial Road, causing a multi-vehicle pile-up outside Jumblies Day Nursery before bouncing nonchalantly on to Exchequer Quay, rolling towards the edge, falling into the Penryn River and commencing a maritime rampage across the Carrick Roads, causing multi-yacht pile-ups as it bobs merrily towards Falmouth Bay and the wide blue ocean.

In due course it will wash up, faded and deflated, in a lobster shrimp net along Louisiana's BP-blighted Gulf Coast, its historic role as the first football of England's legendary female 2026 World Cup striker unrecognised and uncelebrated.

Today the Blue Kitten's dad will take her to the park. It's by far the best all round.


John Cowan said...

That is a sad, touching, and very sad story. Hopefully you'll be able to have a laugh about it eventually.

Smat said...

oh dear. At least the "falling over and not being able to get up" wasn't my fault this time.
BK should be playing rugby rather than football though, much better game.

Terri Nixon said...

Aww, don't think of the ball as 'lost' - think of it as having earned its freedom, and remember how much happier it will be NOT having regular close encounters with Dora the Explorer ... the scary, entoothed monsters of the deep will hold no fear for such a brave little ball.

On the other matter, the matter of physics versus the willing-but-unable mum-to-be, 'twill soon all be over. And then the fun's REALLY going to start.

LC said...

Is there a post coming about Fallout 3? It's one of the few games I've managed to play through to the end of late, due to the fact I got buy-in from my wife who liked to follow the story line as I played and would occasionally shout out useful advice like: "Who's that over there? Go and talk to them, they might be important. NO! OVER THEEERE! Go edgeways round the thing! Oh, it's ok, it's just a tree, never mind..."

Dave said...

Why do you wear wellies that are one size too big for you? Have your feet shrunk inwingedig pregnancy?

Dave said...

Sorry, 'wingedig' was the wv. Don't know how it got in there.

Christopher said...

An hereditary disposition? I expect you'll remember an ancestor falling over in the shrubbery and having to be rescued by the fish man. I would have thought there were fish men a-plenty in Cornwall. Perhaps they were all inwingedigging.

Rebecca said...

My family has a house on Grand Isle. I'll tell everyone to keep an eye out for the ball and, if it manages to escape the nets (most likely shrimp, rather than lobster, though - lobsters are up north), we'll celebrate it for you. Of course, the house has been mostly vacant since the spill. But maybe by the time the ball gets to those waters, that will have changed. We can only hope.

I'm sorry your experience at the park ended so unfortunately after what seemed like such a lovely time. But I, for one, would love to see a little video of the Kitten's Death and SixSixSix routine. And, surely, there should be some record of this for posterity. Maybe you or Mr. BC could add a camera to the outing supplies, just in case.

patroclus said...

Ooh, I go out to watch the Red Arrows for a moment, and lots of comments appear! (NB is there anything more British than watching the Red Arrows? I don't think there is.)

Fear not everyone, I wasn't so much worried about losing the ball as I was about my inability to transport my own child a mere five yards to my front door. Although I did worry that the ball would create merry havoc with the traffic as it bounced and rolled its way towards the water.

Rebecca: Lobster inaccuracy duly corrected, thank you!

Dave: 'inwingedig' sounds like a preposition one might find in the works of Geoffrey CHANCER. I fancy it might mean 'during'. Traditionally the feet swell during pregnancy, but fortunately I've been spared any kind of foot resizing.

Dad: You will recall that said ancestor was rescued by a Higher Agency, who sent His representative on Earth (the fish man, and I think we can agree that the fish is highly symbolic) once the ancestor had uttered 'a little prayer' This is probably where I went wrong.

rach said...

Aha, so that's what the strange things in the park are (the exercise equipment, not you and the Blue Kitten, obv). Mystery solved!

Jayne said...

Awww. This made me laugh. Also made me remember something similar happening to my sister at some late "due to pop any second now" date when she dropped her purse on Oxford Street and ended up sitting on the curb sobbing because she couldn't stand up again.

Still - not long to go now. After you heroically blogged the Blue Kitten's birth am expecting you to tweet updates this time...

Rosie said...

Ha, ha. I really like your writing style. Pregnancy is horrible.