We had just spent a pleasant, lazy afternoon in town having a late lunch, exchanging books in the library* and buying marker pens for a gathering of Transition Towns the following day**.
I’m afraid to admit that we’d driven to town, even though it is walkable. It was the lazy option, both mentally and physically. You need to be organised to live a low carbon life. We had no food in the house and had left it too late to walk.
We’d arrived back home, and Rowan was getting the buggy out of the boot, and I was trying to manage a little tiff that Maddie and Emily were having while still strapped into their seats in the back of the car.
Maddie was reading the blurb of the three Enid Blyton books she’d got out of the library.
“If you don’t give me one of those books, I’ll punch you again” threatened Emily. She slightly lisped the “ch” at the end of “punch”. “And if I ask you and you don’t give me another, I’ll punch you again”.
There followed a typical little exchange between the two of them where we established that Emily had indeed been the aggressor.
“But it was very lightly” Emily protested quietly.
To be fair, it probably was. It’s difficult not to laugh when she gently closes a door in a fit of pique.
“You might need to go on the naughty step if you don’t say something to Maddie. What do you think that would be?”
“Sowwy Maddie” she apologised.
“It’s not good to punch people if you want something. Then again, Maddie, it would be good if you could share with Ems. If she asks nicely for a book, maybe you could give her one?”
“Please can I have one of your books?” Ems asked, eyes turned downwards.
A book was handed over, Maddie hanging her head as well.
“I think that if you both treated each other as though you love each other you’ll both be happy,” I said, veering into preachy mode.
Still looking at her feet, Maddie said “Daddy, I think Mummy would be happier if you helped her with the boot”.
Game, set, match small people.
I got out of the car to help Rowan.
* I took “Prosperity without growth” back without opening it – not had time – I’ll get it out again when I’ve finished “The Long Earth”
** 22 people from a dozen different local Transition Towns are gathering (have gathered by the time this goes live) talk about how we can work together. In a classic example of “build it and they will come”, a friend Andrew Davies, author of the Future Café, had offered to host an event for me for free, on any subject. The idea of getting the local TTs together came after we’d decided to have a meeting. I’ll write a post about it soon.