Today I spent the day with my sister. She still lives in the village we grew up in and that our parents grew up in. It still feels like home there, it’s busier but that’s about all that’s changed. We had a trip to the bakers. It probably has a name, I don’t think I know it, it’s just The Bakers. It has a window full of over-sized, glorious looking treats, some, infact most, that have looked the same since I were a child. The jolly women behind the counter braced themselves for a toddler invasion, and served us with a smile, I recognise the staff, it feels familiar, it smells amazing! “A white cake please lady”, “Ruru wans PINK”, “Bye ladies, thanks you ladies”. We bumped into an old family friend, who Kate, my sister, is friendly with, she chatted happily to my boys, like she knew them dispite having never met before. Once she’d walked away Ruru asked “Where’s new Grannie gone?” “new Grannie want pink cake?” We started to walk towards the churchyard, a classic cut through point for families with small children, avoiding a busy road, I’d played in this church yard a lot as a child. Eddie swiftly parked his dungaree-clad bottom on the nearest bench and demanded cake. It was intended for after lunch. The lure of the duck pond helped avoid a breakdown.
Watching our 4 children run off together made me very happy. I do occasionally day dream about living back in Lenham, I think the place has a resounding call to anyone who grew up there, perhaps it’s like that in all villages? If we did live there the boys would be in the same school year as their youngest cousin, and probably join her at Nursery School. In my day it was called Play-School and run in a small church hall. I remember a rocking horse, with wirery black and grey hair called Dobin, the thick, blue plastic cups that were peeling slightly and plates full of play-school biscuits. Otherwise known as Highland Shorties according to Kate, they’re round, with ridged edges, a circle of dots in the centre and coated in granulated sugar, in our family they are still called play-school biscuits.
Once lunch was finished, which everyone wolfed down after our stomp around the village, the 4 tiddlers disappeared off, Kate and I sat amongst the cake crumbs and strawberry tops and drank tea, tea that was slightly too hot but downable. The kind of cup of tea that makes you feel sleepy sick and so so soothed. We nattered, putting off the clearing up process for as long as possible, we reminisced about childhood cereals and Monday night shopping nights. Those 30 minutes, sat there, being us, avoiding chores was the best 30 minutes of today. I fear if I did live in Lenham I may be parked in my sister’s kitchen far too often and neither of us would get anything done.