Pinkie is poorly.
Myself, Wild Owl and Archer arrived at the purpose built Brownie lodge that is nestled in woodlands in deepest darkest Essex. The lodge is secured around its perimeter to ensure no wandering Brownies wander off, and that no badies/dogs/horses or anything that can’t fit between the metal slats of the fence can come in. Squirrels can fit, easily, very, very easily, too easily in fact.
So, there we were setting up our Enchanted Forest (the holiday theme), and Wild Owl and Archer were outside stringing up fairy lights, meanwhile I was in the kitchen unpacking the grub and generally making sure everything was clean enough for our guests. Twice Wild Owl pranked me with screams that some creature or another was in the hall with me, so on the third time I nonchalantly wandered over, frankly to give her two fingers, and almost stood on a squirrel. Wild Owl ran off screaming with laughter and calling for Archer to get her camera.
“Choice words recurring, be off with you squirrel, more choice words.”
Squirrel was unfazed, he had a good mooch around while I was screaming, swearing, closing doors and finally throwing bits of craft supplies at him. Eventually, he doft his hat and casually walked back to the door, glancing around before leaving, almost looking for the source that was clearly upsetting me, before actually heading back outside. Then as I quietened down, I heard it...tears of mirth from Wild Owl and Archer. I think a chair had been found such was the hilarity, and possibly clean pants too.
“The neighbours will think this place has been rented by a Tourettes support group,” managed Wild Owl.
“I’ve learnt some new words,” laughed Archer.
The squirrel lurked in a nearby tree giggling along, even though he wasn’t sure what the joke was.
The children arrived, as did more adult helpers in the form of DC (the boss), and Grisham. We fed the children, we played with them, we explored, we got ready for bed and we read stories and then we… we all stayed awake most of the night. It turns out that Mallory Towers and the like where large dormitories of girls all sleep soundly, is in the words of Enid Blyton - a load of bollocks. These people don’t sleep, they bounce off each other until the wee small hours, they laugh and play and have a really good time. Meanwhile the people that have been stringing up fairy lights all day get close to the brink.
“Why aren’t they tired?” wondered Grisham the newbie. We didn’t even dignify that with an answer.
We waited until finally it was quiet. It was a long wait, but we got there.
Now as we all know, some children go to sleep late and lay in, and others nod off early and get up early. On pack holiday they all go to bed late and are all up and jumping by 5am, yes that’s 5am. The only time it is reasonable to get up at 5am is to catch a flight to somewhere sunny, not to be serving up bowls of Cheerios. Wild Owl was not impressed. The thing is, our Brownies are an adorable bunch, there’s not one that I wouldn’t have home for tea, so its very hard to stay cross with them for long. We tried, we really did, but before too long we were making fairy wings, wands and crowns, we had baked cakes and made dens, we had played outside and had made fairy lanterns — we were so busy we forgot to be cross.
That night, they were so tired that some of our little'ees were in danger of nodding off into their dinner, toddler styling.
Word had spread to the squirrel that defences were low and he had decided that while we Enchanted-Forest-fancy-dress-partying, he’d raid the bins. I was in the kitchen (Fitbit read 11k walking in said kitchen that day), when I heard the unmistakeable clatter of a metal bin lid on the floor. I went to investigate, and there he was, my nemesis casually licking a piece of tin foil.
“Do you want a lick?” he offered.
“Choice word Off,” I sneered.
He glanced around, decided he was happy where he was and had another lick. Now, it was at this moment I caught sight of my reflection in the window, my blood boiled.
“How dare you,” I screamed at Squirrel, “I’m dressed as a sodding fox at least act scared.”
“Yeah, not so much,” he smirked.
I ran inside to get Archer and a broom. By the time we got back outside, he was just finishing his pudding of camp fire charred marshmallow. We stood and watched in disbelief as he was about to have another. Archer ran towards him in a game of chicken, I could see her wondering what she was going to do if she caught the sticky faced vermin, fortunately he sauntered off just as she was at arms length.
“I don’t believe it,” she said, “he’s ransacked the whole lot.”
Sure enough all our rubbish was strewn around the back of the lodge, and it had rained. We set to work picking it up, with squirrel chuckling just out of sight.
The weekend was great fun and exhausting. I badly needed a lay in, but alas Monday was a normal school day so the alarm went off just after 6, and as there is no rest for the wicked, or the Reluctant Owl as the saying goes, I was up.
I dropped Pinkie to school and walked directly into a PTA meeting — it was school fete o’clock.
The fete went off on a dry day without a hitch, money was made, children had fun and I got to use the candy floss machine — a childhood dream. The thing is with a big do like a fete, it can suck up weeks of your time, as it did. So basically, since mid June I have been working solidly for free, for the joy it will bring to Pinkie and the children of my community. Surely, the karma police would send me some sort of lottery win, or even finding a tenner in a pocket from last years shorts would do, but no. The fete was on Friday and Pinkie started coughing on Saturday.
This cough is not my friend, we are throwing all we can at it and are hoping for the best. We are waiting to see if the antibiotics are man enough, and we are waiting for cough swab results to see what we are actually up against. We are waiting, and the waiting is driving me nuts. So if any of you bag snatchers are out there having a very sunny time of things, can you get in touch please, there’s been a mix up at Karma HQ.