Thursday 17 January 2019

Hello Again, Hello...

Hello again, hello, I just called to say hello…yes, Neil Diamond. Hope you all had a splendid Christmas. We did. We moved house just in time to get the tree in and the tinsel up. Christmas always begins with the arrival of my eldest son, complete with his renegade humour and a wonderful portrait of my daughter under his arm. I had my first chemo early December and another on the 28th. It’s horrid, but there are worse things in life. Suffice to say us chemo takers deserve a badge. Next round…tomorrow…bleurgh, pass the meringues and cream. In other news, my hysterectomy scar has settled into something like a very long studded question mark. It looks cool and I am considering getting my eldest to tattoo around it. I’m looking forward to getting my bikini on.

Back to Neil Diamond. My grandpa loved Neil Diamond. He used to play it in his Simca, while he sang along, before disappearing into tool shops for long hours, leaving me in the car for long hours, which was sometimes boring, sometimes not. And always hot. In Zimbabwe, in the 70s, boredom was often present. Usually this was an opportunity, as it should always be for imaginative children. And all children are imaginative: they just need the space to be so. If the hand reaches for the television controls or the gaming i-pad too often, the imagination cannot run wild, and it is into the wild that we must go, to create order out of chaos. That way artistry lies. I used to make up whole words in my head as I sat in that burning hot Simca.

As I write this, one of my young sons is constructing a playground out of card for his pet mouse. My daughter has made a modern doll’s house and my other son has constructed Noi’s beach shack with buggy – made out of old calling card ‘bricks’ – The Rev…(his own grandfather) called while you were out and left this card with his kind regards…quaint ain’t it? Without the imaginative space to dream up these ideas, these wonderful constructions would not have come into being. My youngest son spends hours at Lego, he is just learning to read, but from the age of 3 he could follow lengthy 12-year-old Lego instructions – because he had the time to do so. We would just leave him to it.

Schools, with their SATs, and timetables, with playtime a squeeze, cannot, by their nature, allow the time for the imagination to be set free. Time must be made at home instead. If you have lighties as we called sprogs in Zim, make sure they get bored enough to entertain themselves with their own imaginations. They might turn our to be the next Marie Curie or Alexander Fleming – his name was once the name of the hospital where my broken arm was set, after I flew off a gum pole I was tight roping up while listening to Nancy Sinatra’s, These Boots Are Made For Walking. Our heads were made for thinking, and imagining.