Day 2

Usual Saturday logistics. One of the staff at Stagecoach confided guiltily (as they all do, eventually!) that Katie is her very favourite, even though of course ‘we’re not really meant to have favourites’. After Stagecoach and while we waited to collect Dashi from theatre skills, we went with Katie’s friend Chloe and Chloe’s mum Danielle to the cafe run by the local branch of Age Exchange, where Chloe went all out to con me into buying them sweets (strictly against her mum’s rules – Danielle is very health conscious and won’t even let the children eat white bread, let alone sweets). When Danielle needed to go, I agreed that Chloe could stay and I would drop her home afterwards so that the girls could continue playing together. But when I spotted that the two of them had stopped colouring and were clustered around an elderly lady, I worried that they might be making a nuisance of themselves (or even that Chloe might be trying to get her to buy them sweets!). I raced over to intervene but the lady said that the girls were being perfectly polite and lovely. She then leaned in and confided that she has Alzheimer’s ‘but not the dangerous kind’! We had about another half hour until we had to leave and the girls did indeed sit there like perfect little angels while the elderly lady told them what life was like when she was younger. It was a lovely example of what the Age Exchange designed the cafe to do (i.e. bring the generations together). I live next door to the guy who was behind setting up the cafe, so I must mention to him how well it is working. The girls love being together so, when we dropped Chloe off and Danielle asked if Katie could stay for a while, I didn’t have the heart to refuse even though it meant another trip back up the hill to get her later on. I have always felt a bit guilty as I haven’t exactly done my share of the play dates while I’ve been working, but when I mentioned this to Danielle, she said not at all, that having Katie is like a little holiday because she keeps Chloe (who is otherwise rather high maintenance) occupied. Nick collected Kate at five and Kate, clearly suffering from the stress of being perfect for everyone else all day, demonstrated her own slightly high-maintenance side – torturing her brothers, botherating her parents, and hassling the dog!

There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead…

Peace reigns again and Kate and Dash, best of friends once more, are both in their onesies (much too hot for the weather but Katie’s is new and she can’t wait to wear it) waiting to be photographed before bed.

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