Saturday, October 22, 2016


Elsie knocked on the window and waved. She pressed her drawing up against the glass and I smiled up at her and carried on raking the leaves. Molly was with Marek, further back in the garden, putting the ivy branches and leaves he was ripping off the fence into the big compost bin. She had to stand on her tippy toes but she was doing a great job.

I finished the last pile of leaves and grabbed the brush. There were more leaves round the front.

I swept down the path and out onto the pavement. A man was walking down the road so I left the rest of the pavement and went to the leaves on the drive. As the man passed, he turned and said something.

"Sorry?' I paused in my sweeping, and the man asked me directions to the local swimming pool. I leaned on the broom, pointing the direction and he smiled and thanked me. As I returned to my task, I noticed he hadn't moved. I thought he was saying something else.

"Sorry?" I repeated, and he explained that he'd told a cyclist the wrong way. "I thought it was more over there," he pointed. 'Ah, no, more that way." I said, and kept on sweeping.

The guy was hanging around. I started to feel uneasy.

"I guess you're married' he ventured next. "Yes." I said, not smiling now. Expecting him to give and up and move on.

"Is your husband here?" he asked. I felt sorry for him. He looked like he was missing a brain connection or two. "Yep," I confirmed, "in the garden."

Surprised he still hadn't moved, I kept my head down and continued my sweeping, unsure whether to abandon it, and go back into the garden, or brave it out. Defend my patch.

He was mumbling again.

"What?" I said. I soon wished I hadn't.

"The thing is" he repeated, "I've been looking for someone to suck me".

My eyes grazed his erection, sticking out, pale and white from his jeans. I took the conscious decision not to give him the thrill of a reaction, and walked calmly to the side gate.

"Marek" I called, "there's someone showing me his penis out here. I think you should come."

At my raised voice, the man started off down the road. As I watched, he pulled his hood over his head and walked faster.

"What is it?" Marek called, appearing round the corner of the house, rake in hand. I repeated the problem.

The man wasn't running, but was far enough down the road. As Marek stepped out onto the pavement he disappeared, presumably down the side passage that leads to the path running down the back of the gardens.

Marek set off after him, and I scooped Molly up, hot on his trail. "Come with me", I said, shutting the side gate behind me.


It wasn't until I was on the phone to the police, girls hushed beside me, that I realised I was shaking. My voice wobbled as I repeated the details, and assured the police officer I didn't need anyone to come and see me. My thoughts were with my young girls, and the horror that someone could do something so vile within metres of their safe lives. "I just want you to know that someone is doing this, right now, right here."

After the call, Elsie watched me trying to explain the shock, trying to reassure them that I was ok, but that a man had been nasty and it had made me feel sad. Molly showed me how to wipe the tears with the back of my hand. She offered her doudou. I hugged them close and wished I could protect them.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Three years of spuds

In July 2013, we'd just bought the land, only partially cleared it, and had managed some courgettes and tomatoes.

In July 2014, we planted potatoes and they got blight but the girls helped us dig up the harvest for the first time, and the potatoes themselves were fine.

In July 2015, we tried out the other side of the garden for potatoes, and got a few, interesting, knobbly ones

In July 2016, the potato plants got blight again, but when we dug them up, we found the potatoes fine again.

The girls got properly stuck in this year.

We all know what we're having with our roast tomorrow...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Molly the charmer

We are at a family reunion. I am speaking with one of my Dad's cousins, when Molly appears, and watches our conversation with interest.

'Hello!' the cousin says, and I introduce Molly.

'How old are you Molly?' She holds up three fingers.

'I have a granddaughter the same age as you then! Poppy is three.'

Molly looks up at her, confused by the term granddaughter. 'Is that a boy or a dog?'

* * *

We are at the Center Parcs pool. Six little girls from our family splash in the water, and Molly separates from the crowd to watch a baby playing with her mother. She leans down and starts smiling at the baby.

'Hello Baby!' she says, leaning a bit close, and not being at all careful about where she's splashing water.

I wander over and suggest she doesn't crowd the baby, who is happily ignoring Molly.

'What's it called?' Molly asks the mother.

'Freya' the woman says, 'she is called Freya.'

'That's a funny name' says Molly, and turns back to her group with a last little wave to the baby.

* * *

We are walking through Sherwood Forest, on our way to the big old oak we have heard so much about.

We see yet another dog, and as it comes close, Molly points. 'Look, that dog looks like a pig!'

'It's a dog called a pug Molly' I say, catching the owner's eye despite him desperately trying to pretend he didn't hear a thing. 'Isn't she sweet!'

'She's called Milly' the owner says, 'would you like to stroke her?'

'No thanks' Molly says, and continues on her way.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Elsie has taken the big white envelope I've already emptied and a black biro and is scribbling on the back.

'What are you drawing Elsie?' I ask, surprised by the unusual content of the scene she is creating.

'It's a prison!' she says brightly, adding bars to the windows.

'Who's in the prison?' I ask, noting the small window at the bottom, with a little stick figure just visible within.

'A bad man' she says. 'He wanted to make a big war. A war with the whole globe.'

'So now he's in prison?' Molly checks. 'Why is he on the roof?'

No, that's not the bad man!' Elsie says, laughing. 'That's the princess!' I recognise the standard long hair and big grin of Elsie's favourite subjects.

'What's a princess doing in the prison?' I ask.

'She's not in the prison, she's on the prison' Elsie explains. 'She's keeping an eye on things.'

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Breakfast table copycats

Elsie: When I grow up I’m going to be a doctor, and then when I retire I’ll do another job.

Molly: When I grow up I’m going to be a doctor, and then when I’m tired, I’ll sleep.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Goat goes to playgroup

There are book phases just as much as food phases and behaviour phases. We are currently in the Goat goes to Playgroup phase.

Dog puts on a dress. Goat is in a mess

'Mummy?' Molly turns her face towards mine. Her large eyes convey the utter seriousness of what she about to tell me.

'Yes Molly'

'I sometimes get in a mess'.

Yes Molly.


Molly spots me across the playground and runs over.

I bend down to kiss her, then we get her bag, and walk out of nursery. Molly slips her hand into mine and I tell her we are going to pick her sister up, then Daddy, then go home for tea. The Wednesday schedule.

'I did cry for Daddy today' she tells me. 'Yes,' I nod, 'he said that you weren't having your nap when he picked Elsie up at lunchtime to take her to the Polish school. Did you not sleep at all today?'

'No' she says.

'But there was no need to cry. Daddy had to take Elsie to the Polish school and go back to work. You had to stay at school until I came to get you. It's always like that, but usually you are sleeping when Elsie leaves.'

'I know', she nods, happy now.

'Why didn't you sleep?'

'I wasn't behaving properly.'

'Really? Were you disturbing the others?'


'Did you scream and shout?' I try another guess.


'So what did you do?'

'I did put on my shoes and I did put on my coat and I went to play.'

Monday, February 8, 2016

the girls' holiday diary - the journey and day 1

We left our house in the middle of the night and when we woke up, there was a really colourful sky.


Then we drove, we parked the car and we were in Wroclaw! We saw little people with big hats. They are called Krasnoludki and there are lots of them in Wroclaw. We saw one holding a sunflower and two pushing a ball, trying to move it. They even have their own bank machine. 

One man was making bubbles. First we put money in a little box, then we played with the bubbles. Molly didn't pop the bubbles, she just looked at them. Other people popped them.

We drove for a long time, there were lots of cars and when we got to the mountains, it was dark.

When we woke up this morning, we saw the mountains out of the window. After breakfast we went to Zakopane. We went for a horse ride. The horse was called Eryk

After that we went in a special train up to the top of the mountain. We ate soup in the cafe and found some snow to climb on and throw at Daddy. Elsie threw two snowballs at Daddy.

While Molly slept, Elsie had her very first skiing lesson, with Andrzej. She had fun going on the snow and first Andrzej helped a lot, then Elsie could ski all by herself and Andrzej just helped when she fell over or went too quickly.