02 February, 2008

three girls for the price of one

First, can I just say how HAPPY I am to see the end of the month of January? Everything has to start getting better now, just to have that awful month behind me.

To start things off, it's a bad news/good news thing. Well, the bad news is, Becky and her husband are jetted off to New York City to find a place to live and schools for their three girls. The bad news also is, this means Becky and her family are moving, alas, to New York. Not "alas, to New York," but "moving, alas." What on earth will I do without her? Over the last two years we have shared birthdays, illnesses, gossip, exams, family trials and tribulations and the total joy of watching our children become fast, fast friends. I am not even approaching imagining London without them. However, needs must and when Becky flies away, the good news is...

We get her children! Two of the three, at least. At thirteen, Ashley has moved on to greener pastures. Like Starbucks and sleepovers with friends. But at least we got Anna and Ellie, beginning this morning. The girls immediately set up the jumps in the garden, as you see, and spent a lovely time jumping, scoring, tormenting Tacy and generally getting more than our usual money's worth out of the space. A gorgeous lunch at La Caricatura, fast becoming our Saturday favorite. Today was a special of wild boar carpaccio, which was delicious (although I could not in all honesty countenance the raisins alongside), and the girls tucked into pizza and ravioli and wrote the lyrics for the songs of their upcoming evening play. Then it was onto Avery's acting class, so Anna and I went SHOPPING. Not for clothes or shoes, mind you, but for the raw ingredients of SLIME.

Yes, you read it correctly. Yesterday at school they all made SLIME, of ingredients surprisingly hard to obtain in our posh neighborhood of London. Food coloring, white glue and Borax. Boots, Marks and Spencer, Selfridges, Ryman's, we hit them all. We laughed over what a passerby would think should he see what was in our bags. "It's the beef mince that would put someone off the trail," I said. "No one would know that in addition to slime, we're having bolognese for dinner."

So they made slime, I made bolognese, they raided all Avery's cupboards and put on a very intriguing play about three (apparently) orphaned girls, no, actually the mother had gone inexplicably to Malta, fulfilling her principal role in fiction: absent. No good girls' stories have live, functioning mothers. Now they have been cajoled into cleaning up and are happily eating popcorn and watching "Ballet Shoes," a regrettably excellent BBC production of the Noel Streatfeild novel. I want to disapprove on some high moral ground about not letting children slob before the television set, but the casting is excellent, the original book adorable, and in general, it's lovely.

Tomorrow brings the Royal Academy of Music concert in aid of Children's Trust. They participated in this concert last year and it was very, very moving. I'm a little intimidated by making an extra lunch for a notoriously choosey little girl, and entertaining Anna in between dropping the other girls off and actually going to the concert. Wish me luck in my role as "Nanny."

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