Looking back

Nostalgia For one reason or another, I have been remembering snippets from my childhood lately.

* My father, singing in the shower. Every morning. Steam seeps from under the pale-blue door, and the sounds of splashing accompanied by the operatic yet essentially-tuneless tones of "Oh-ho-me-oh-ho" echo through the house. It isn't until well into adulthood that I realise Dad has been singing his own version of O sole mio.

* I wake up extra early and set the table for breakfast each morning. When everyone else gets up, they say "Look! The fairies have been to set the table!" I beam with pride, even though I know they know. But my morning is fraught with tension because I am terrified of being caught. If anyone gets up before I am finished and comes in to thank me, I am devastated. I race out of the room in a temper of tears. I still don't know why.

* My cousins and I are going to be detectives when we grow up. We set sticky-tape and talcum powder traps all over the house to entrap burglars and parents.

* The horse-mad phase. The outside of my bedroom door is a larger-than-life poster of a horse, gazing out into our hallway from over a stable door. The door-knob into my room is in fact a cast-iron stable latch. Inside, the floor is covered in straw matting. All my furniture is made of wood ("like a stable"), and aged and cracking bridles and spurs found in my great-grandfather's garden shed are the chief decorations. A wall-frieze of Norman Thelwell cartoons circumnavigates the room.

* Mum has given me my own patch of garden, and we plant radishes together. The sun is hot on the back of my neck, the earth smells good. In the weeks that follow, I water and watch my radishes impatiently. I am so excited when we finally pull them up. Wash them, slice them, eat them in a salad. And then tears. "Mum, these are horrible!"

* Our tree house. It is up, up, up in a willow tree, accessed via rope ladder, and it is SO great. Why did I never decorate it?

* I'm in trouble for something, I don't remember what. I hurtle into my bedroom and throw myself face-down on my bed, next to my cat Peppy. "You are the only one who understands me Peppy!" I cry. Peppy purrs.

* Peppy's favourite place to hang out is the second floor of my Barbie Townhouse.

* I can't decide what to call my new doll. In the end, I decide on Betsy-Ann-Amanda-Aunty-Rose and the name is never to be shortened.

* Which reminds me: Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo. And his little brother Chang.

* My budgie Simon is a hand-me-down from somebody else and he is already old when we get him. He has a strange growth at the top of his beak. We take him to the vet to find out about the growth and find out that Simon is a girl. Mum tries to rename him Simone but it won't stick. I try to teach Simon-the-girl to talk but if she ever speaks, it isn't to me.

* Daisy chains, made from clover flowers.

* There is a soft, clay patch at the side of our house. All the neighbourhood kids come over to our house with plastic spades and we dig a really gigantic hole, big enough for us to climb inside and get covered in clay from head to toe, before we are discovered. We estimate it will take a good week to finish this project. We are digging to China.

What is making you nostalgic?

Photo is by Lizzy Gadd, licenced under Creative Commons

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