Chapter 13 Term Two
During the week, another group of five-year-olds started school. The oldest children in my class went into another class, leaving me about the same number. The weather was much warmer and they no longer needed to put on coats, gloves and hats before going out to play, so the routines of the day were simplified. They still changed footwear at each recess.
One morning I took time to do my hair up on top of my head instead of having it hang loose. Susan, who had short fair curls herself, did not like my change of style.
"I don't like your hair like that," she said very seriously. "It makes your eyebrows look angry."
"I've got nits in my hair," offered another without a hint of embarrassment. "They laid their eggs in my hair."
There was fervent activity following this piece of interesting information. Every head was inspected at regular intervals for several weeks, the dressing-up hats disappeared, and parents were asked to dress hair extra neatly. Peter also brought home a note about the boys having their hair of moderate length, and carefully inspected, so apparently the problem was quite wide spread.
On Thursday we had the heaviest rain I experience in England. There were blackouts and local flooding, so of course the children had to play indoors for a day or two. Friday was a beautiful sunny day. On Saturday we drove in pouring rain to Canterbury to get a grease and oil change, and to return the borrowed emergency kit and reflective triangle, which were compulsory on the Continent.
Angela rang to ask if I would take her to Chatham to a school of dancing which she had heard about. When we arrived and were cloaking our coats, Angela said,
"There are a lot of youngsters. Some are not more than sixteen."
"Yes," I agreed. "Most of them could be my own children. It's very strange. There would be one or two your age."
Most of the dancers took it quite seriously, and apparently thought Angela and I would be able to dance, as we hardly sat out a dance all evening.
During one dance with a teacher in his early twenties I asked, "It surprises me that there are so many teenagers. We've had a lot of dances, so I'm not complaining. I've even learned some new steps."
"Tonight is the 'under 21 night," he informed me.
"If you want an older crowd, come on a Thursday night. I often come to both."
At the end of the dance I introduced him to Angela.
"Jim says we're here on the wrong night. We'll have to see what it's like on Thursday, if you're interested."
It poured all day on Sunday. When the milkman came for his money, I cancelled our milk order.
"I have to leave at eight in the morning," I explained. "The milk sits on the step all day. In the winter it was alright, but now it is a bit warmer, I'll have to get it each day from the shop."
On Monday we had a short sudden hailstorm, and the children had to rush indoors from their play. The rest of the week was fine but overcast. On Saturday we celebrated David's 11th birthday. It was very simple, as all their school friends lived so far away, and in any case I could not afford and could not cope with elaborate affairs. We bought some sugar mice and made a few cakes, which we took to Mote Park in Maidstone. The children rode on the trains while I read in the van. After our party lunch, we watched the big and little boys playing with remote control boats on the lake.
The next morning was sunny, but by the time I had been to the laundry and got the washing done, it was beginning to rain.
"You know, I read that Sydney has twice as much rain as London, but it feels as if it should be the other way round." I said.
"How come?" the children wanted to know.
"It is mostly overcast and drizzly. The actual rain which falls is not very much. You notice there is no outside tap, and not many people have hoses? It is unusual to go for any length of time without a light rainfall."
"Not this week anyway."