Sunday 19 September 2010

This weekend the children were mostly burning the house down

So there I was chatting to Rich Dad on the sidelines of the second rugby match of the season, and he mentioned that he's 6-8 weeks behind in the training schedule for his trek to the North Pole. Evidently he keeps picking up injuries because when he was young he wasn't fit so doesn't have 'core strength' now that he's older. It made me realise a couple of things - one that mindless decisions made in our youth have lifetime consequences, and secondly that being rich doesn't just enable you to but a bigger house and a flashier can afford the time and expense of doing things the rest of us can only dream of...good luck to him - he is really making the most of his success.

I remember when I took The Boy and his sister to see their mum in the hospital in Dublin after her brain hemorrhage that it was the first time I had seen them together for several years. Obviously it was an emotionally highly charged time but it was a beautiful sight as they messed around, chatted and generally interacted as only brother and sister could. I've held that memory very close in the years since, and it was probably that which encouraged me to be determined to keep them close after their mum died. Unfortunately I failed on that front but I've continued to hope upon hope that they will become close again as they get older.

Now, though, The Boy has The Cat and The Cat has The Boy. Putting the offspring of different parents together can be difficult, but in this case a great school friendship has blossomed. It is just startling to see the two of them play together, squabble, wind each other up in such a fashion. I love it. I suspect that both had missed having a sibling to play with when they were younger, and are now making up for it.

Friday night they were playing one of their seems to involve The Boy trying to reach the house from the bottom of the garden without being seen. He wears his army camouflage gear. The Cat must also avoid being seen...I'm not quite sure how it all works, but The Boy has written out the rules for for The Cat to LEARN AND UNDERSTAND. Anyway, the game was in full flow and I was on the phone to Grandma in Cyprus. There was a screech from upstairs...clearly The Boy had been spotted. I thought. Moments later, The Boy barged past me presumably trying to reach home base. I thought. I continued chatting away; The Cat's Mum continued cooking dinner.

The The Cat appeared in the bathroom which I was standing by and calmly put her stockinged feet in the bidet. After a short while I noticed the soles of her stocking all appeared to be cut away, or melted. She was deeply engrossed. Eventually I caught her attention and mouthed "Are you OK?" She said yes, but something was not quite right. I lost track of my conversation and said goodbye to Grandma in Cyprus. By this stage The Boy was there tending to her. I asked what had happened, and got "It's fine it's all sorted". I thought I could smell burning...and went to the top room where The Cat had been. The ceiling was burnt...not a scorch mark, the lights had melted and two large burn holes in the carpet, a burnt t-shirt and burnt (Paul Smith!) flip flops. And plenty of ash.

The order of events had been...The Cat had been speaking on her mobile to The Boy during the game - she was in the top room, he had been in the garden. "Can you smell burning?" she asked, "No" he said. Then he said "The fire is behind you." It was of them had somehow thrown a t-shirt onto the spot lights, it had caught fire. The Cat screamed. Pulled the shirt down and stamped out the flames with her stockinged feet. She got a blister for her troubles. The Boy rushed to the rescue. Together they put out the fire.

It was one of those events that is so serious that no one got told off. But much time was spent contemplating the potential consequences.