Day 221

Level 2 Chi Kung.

If you are reading this on your iPad at the breakfast table, look away now.

Checking on Katie late last night, I discovered her lying, sound asleep, in a pool of vomit. Katie has always been a vomiter and now, at the age of seven, produces emissions of a force, volume and sheer vibrant colour that Billy Connolly would eulogise (4:30 for those who want to skip straight to the classic diced carrot riff).

She was already in the recovery position, and was clearly breathing, so I left her there. Katie is not a child who takes kindly to being woken from a sound sleep and it would be a brave woman who’d try it for any lesser reason than the house being actually on fire. In the morning I let her sleep until we had got the boys off to school. When she did finally wake, she was astounded to find herself all sticky with vomit and was happy to get straight into a nice warm bath while I changed her bed and dragged all the bed linen, pillows and soft toys downstairs to wash. Although she didn’t seem in any way ill, she couldn’t go to school as they have a 24 hour rule, so we settled down to have a cosy day together. She wanted us to do an art project together, so, as her birthday is just over three weeks away, I hit on the brilliant idea of sorting out the invitations. She wants to have a pizza-making party at Pizza Express again, so, after checking availability with the local branch, we produced this invitation. My role was pedestrian: to type and format the text on the inside of the card (‘Sherlock invites you to celebrate Katie‚Äôs 8th birthday) and to make the printer work.

Katie's 8th birthday invitation 1

By the afternoon she seemed perfectly well enough to go to her art class and was certainly very keen. So we got rugged up and ventured out into the cold, Katie very carefully carrying the rather beautiful and delicate little nest she found while gardening with her father on the weekend. She was intrigued when I pointed out that we could tell that it was an old, disused nest, and thus ok to disturb, by the fact that all the soft stuff is gone – long since bandicooted to line new nests or, as the tutor put it: ‘the birds have taken their soft furnishings with them’.


When I collected Katie at the end of the lesson, she was keen to show me her progress on creating a drawing inspired by a scene from the ballet of George and the Dragon. The children were encouraged at the start to create a template of a dancer and then use it to create numerous characters. Katie obviously created the template from George – depicted as a knight in full amour and chain mail tights – as all her subsequent characters, including the dragon and the world’s least Disney-fied princess, are basically knight-shaped. Because she depicted George (and hence the others) with one leg kicked high in the air, the resulting line-up has an unfortunate resemblance to a very chunky can-can line-up! I was busy trying to keep to smiling widely and avoid actually laughing when the tutor came up and told me how impressed she was with the sense of movement in Katie’s work. I looked to see if she was taking the Michael but no – completely serious. And I suppose that, while it would be hard to deny that Katie’s characters look like they are doing the can-can, on the plus side, they are, unmistakably, DANCING!

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