Hear, hear!


“Money please. I’d like something to drink and a llama,” announced my daughter.

Slightly startled, I immediately wondered if I had enough cash on me, as, having not been to the local market for years, I’m completely out of touch with livestock prices. My second thought was that there may have been a slight chance that I had misheard her.


“Could I have some money? I want to get something to drink and banana.”

Instant relief. Neither of us were going mad. The huge weight lifted from my mind was that we could now go home in the mini with roof up. I’d swiftly worked out that if we were going to get a llama in the car, it would have to travel in the front seat, belted in, with the roof down. As it was chucking down with rain, this would have been a disappointing start to our relationship. Driving along half-blinded with a soaked animal making llamay protest noises, filling my car with the smell of wet fur or worse, could have ruined several minutes of my day.

I assumed my hearing was defective again last night when Charlie asked me, “Do you sometimes have the impression that some things are turning to jelly, sort of random like?”

I thought this through carefully but absolutely couldn’t work out what he had really said. After getting him to repeat the whole phrase I realised that unfortunately I had heard him correctly. Since it was well past his bedtime, I chose the easy way out and replied “Not really. Except jelly.”

I have yet to tackle him about the concept of things turning to jelly in sort of in a random way. The problem is that this brings all sorts of bizarre images into my mind and I’m tempted to work through this as a potential idea for a story before I am faced with the dull reality of clarification.

Perhaps it is only the interaction between me and the kids that is faulty. About a week ago, coming up to a friend’s birthday, she asked me if I could sign a consent form, “because it’s a really boring party.”

“Why would you want to go, then?”

“Why not? As she’s one of my best friends?” I had the faint impression of hearing duh unspoken but threaded through her words.

“But if it’s going to be a really boring party?…” I tailed off, realising that somehow I had got it wrong again.

She looked at me pityingly. “Mother.  It’s a paintballing party. Not a really boring party. Do concentrate.”

I’ve not yet worked out whether it’s incipient deafness, inattention or whether there’s so much miscellaneous stuff crammed inside my head at any given moment that it’s not surprising that messages from outside simply can’t make it down my external auditory canals and penetrate into the grey stuff.

To keep my mind off my obvious failings, I went shopping with a friend yesterday. Nothing over exciting or mentally taxing, just groceries. Reading from the list in my hand I announced that I needed some bananas.

“Are you sure?” Kate replied, shocked. “Is your garden big enough?”


About alisongardiner1

Writer of YA series of books. Broadcaster/podcaster Litopia After Dark.
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