Friday, 4 March 2011

Breakfast al-fresco with Swan

"When I was young, we always had mornings like this" - Toad of Toad Hall, A.A. Milne dramatization (1929) of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.

The other morning before we'd got to the breakfast table, I thought we could do with a change of scene so I suggested to the kids that we had a breakfast picnic on the way to my daughter's nursery.  This was a cunning way of mine to avoid having to wipe the kitchen table as we were running late.  The only disadvantage was that, just this once, we'd have to clean our teeth before breakfast.  Crazy.  I filled some wraps with cream cheese, chopped banana and raspberry jam, and made up flasks of warm milk for the kids and some coffee for me. 

The children were very excited and I was wondering which picturesque spot we could make it to en-route to the nursery for our winter picnic.  Five meters down the road from our house my daughter stopped at the first street bench and announced this was were she wanted us to have our picnic.  Realising the clock didn't give me much option and keen to build on the children's enthusiasm for this venture, I agreed.  It was actually quite fun to sit down outside by the house (rather cold too) and watch the world go past; commuters, delivery vans, school children - and pretend that we weren't part of this commute.  We played one of our favourite bench games that we call "Dog or Pram" - you have to guess which will go past first.  My daughter also played 'fantasy dog ownership' commenting on which passing dogs she'd like as pets and why. The picnic was going down a treat, the only thing I had to wipe was son's mouth/ hands.  We even witnesses a fabulous flock of swans flying overhead on their way to Hampstead Heath ponds.  It was a little 'wow' moment.   We even had a few smiles and good mornings from passers by and our next door neighbour stopped for a chat on his way to get his paper.  Once he'd gone and I was clearing up, I noticed someone had left a can of Special Brew under the bench where I'd been sitting.  Some of the innocence had been lost - maybe those smiles had been in sympathy for those poor children whose mother gives them breakfast on a street bench?  We gathered our things and made it to nursery on time.

(N.B. Husband is away)

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