Some kids were visiting. I took them out exploring in the neighbourhood that was unknown and exciting to them. Two little girls, sun-kissed legs under floral summer dresses, one little boy with a bushy blond hair and big blue eyes, the fourth child, a little girl, in a buggy with bare toes pointing straight up at the blue sky.
A turn right and we found two large redcurrant shrubs. All speaking children claimed not to like redcurrants. The baby is still omnivorous, she loved them. I dared the older children to find the brightest coloured berry. Halfway through the competition I told them that if they did find the brightest berry they had to hurry and eat it, before I did. Suddenly they all liked redcurrants, and always had. Next they learned how to eat all the berries off a cluster, or raceme. Suddenly they loved redcurrants. We picked a few more racemes to bring as snacks on our little venture. We moved on.
Further down the road we found eggs. Huge, round, bright-white eggs. The wee boy claimed they were balls of hay, wrapped in plastic. But after a few winks and raise of the eyebrows followed by a smile he enthusiastically joined in on the story that these eggs were tractor eggs. Each egg containing a wee baby tractor just waiting to grow big enough to come out. Some were probably purple, some were pink, and some had to be red, because the kids had seen that on the telly.
The best surprise came down the opposite direction of the same road. While discussing where the “shrunkens” (tiny little humans who had set up a tiny heliport in one of the gardens around us) might be hiding from us. The the youngest speaking girl let out a shriek and stared at me with terror in her eyes pointing at something I at first didn’t see behind the buggy. A kitten. Coal black and younger than four months. It came running towards us, tail high. It purred and it played and had two of the kids jump around, sweeping, swinging and waving straws for the kitty to play with. The terrified little girl found refuge in my arms, while the youngest of them all had fallen asleep in the buggy.
We played and we ran, we skipped and we jumped. But suddenly our adventure had come to and end. The wee boy was injured. The kitty’s claw had hit a spot of unarmoured flesh and torn it up to the extent where nothing could fix it but a small plaster from the zoo, preferably one with a giraffe on it. The tiger patterned would not do, the tiger being too closely related to the little cat. To take his mind of the toe, which he was afraid would be his bane, we turned our attention to the flowers growing on the side of the road. By the time we came back to the waiting plaster we had picked ourselves a nice little bouquet.
The flowers decorated the table for some days. The weather changed and summer-dresses gave way to warmer garments. Closing my eyes I can still hear the children laughing, the birds singing, the soft purring of the cat.