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I don't know about you (well, obviously I don't, I'm not even sure who you are) but Amazon and their associates have the happy ...

Monday, 6 September 2010

A crush in the creche

We were recently sampling the delights of East Midlands Airport for slightly longer than we anticipated, due to a delay with our outbound flight.  Airports are not the most engaging of places when you really want to be somewhere else, and their primary purpose seems to be to strip you of any and all spare cash at every opportunity.  For example, I’ve noticed that EMA has followed the trend of most airports and now diverts you through the Duty Free Shop on your way to the boarding gate.  There’s no way around this, you have to walk through Duty Free.  Likewise, when you finally stagger out of the Security area having been stripped of most of your possessions and all of your dignity, you then get to walk past a row of shops eager to sell you the very things that have just been taken off you.

Anyway, as we sat there, grimly speculating on which, if any, of the vehicles parked all over the concrete might actually be our plane, a number of families came to join us in our seating area.  Most of the children were in the 2 – 5 age range and were clearly bored out of their skulls.  Regrettably, in a number of cases, their parents had apparently decided that their holidays started here and this did not involve child entertainment duties.  Celebrity magazines were unfolded and children left to their own devices.  Fortunately, one mother decided to take a more proactive approach and set up a miniature crèche consisting of her own four children (from the age range it was apparent what they did on their holidays) and one or two other strays.  She was clearly a natural at this and soon had the children engaged in simple games, reading or colouring.  She made a point of involving those who were orbiting the periphery of the group, too shy to join in but too bored not to.  Those who didn’t want to go along with the majority were accommodated with their own preferred choice of game.  I was really impressed and not entirely surprised to overhear that she was a Primary School teacher in her real life.  One or two of the errant parents made sporadic visits to the impromptu crèche, largely to show willing and assuage their guilt, but rapidly returned to the latest news on Jordan’s romantic life (how does her PR machine manage to come up with something to put on the cover of these magazines every week?)  Eventually, even our intrepid teacher had to have a break, so she called her husband in to the fray.

“Daddy” she said “I have to pop to the loo, could you keep an eye on the little ones?”

My admiration for her was instantly crushed.  One of my pet hates relates to parents who call each other ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’.  It all stems from an uncle and aunt of mine who did this.  I remember, as a small child, being absolutely perplexed when I heard them address each other in these terms.  How could they be each other’s mummy and daddy?  I think it’s a real shame when parents stop thinking of themselves as individuals and, instead, define each other by their family role.  It’s as if their personalities have been stripped away leaving just the childcare elements.

However, ‘daddy’ stepped up to the mark and took over supervising this loose knit unit of children in his wife’s absence, but with some reluctance as he had a motoring magazine that he was deeply involved with.  My abiding memory, as we were called to our boarding gate, was of this picture  of him sitting, cross-legged, amidst a sea of pre-school children all reading, crayoning or playing quietly, with his copy of ‘Top Gear’ as if he was a somewhat older member of the group.  I’m sure ‘mummy’ would have approved.

The first collection of stories - "Steady Past Your Granny's" is now available in Kindle e-book format at Amazon UK and Amazon USA