We retired to bed early last night for today was an important day – the Right Little Madam was seven a couple of weeks ago, hence the visit to Harry Potter World. Having reached the advanced and magical age of seven she is now old enough to come out for lunch and select her own outfit as a special treat. It was felt essential, after the travails of the earlier part of the week that HWIOO get the best night’s sleep he could in the circumstances.
Unfortunately it was not to be. At one o clock this morning we were awoken by someone wending his way home from what had obviously been a good night out. “I am a name not a number,” a voice bellowed on the edge of my subconscious. I think he followed it up with a burst of Shakespeare but I was a bit groggy at that point. “I am not nothing.” There was a brief pause followed by the plaintive noises of a man unable to find his front door key and accidentally setting off his car alarm. This was then followed by the angry murmur of a second voice and a door slamming shut. I have the distinct impression that the drunken soul unleashing his inner Mcgoohan had been grabbed and dragged indoors by his spouse- a sort of late night Rover reclaiming the escapee before the neighbours started to open their bedroom windows and offer some suggestions as to the names he should be called. Actually come to think about it I wonder if he lives at number six?
In any event it didn’t help HWIOO to have his sleep disturbed in quite such an arbitrary way. Nor, for that matter, did it do any good me tripping over his feet at five this morning as I stumbled to the bathroom. Consequentially, he wasn’t necessarily on best form when we arrived at the Number One Daughter’s which was unfortunate as the difference between shopping with the Little Madam and the Right Little Madam became apparent very quickly.
Going shopping with the Little Madam is rather like escorting a miniature dowager duchess who has graciously bestowed her company upon you. Clothes are perused and discussed. An orderly selection is made based upon colour, pattern and hemline. (Each girl is allowed to choose three outfits to try on with the understanding that only one of them will be purchased.) This usually involves a catwalk dance and skip from the changing rooms to where HWIOO awaits so that he can duly admire the frock in question. The Little Madam does a twirl and then listens gravely to the comments which are then discussed with me back in the changing room. In the Little Madam’s case part of the whole process is the concluding discussion about fabric’; whether the item can be washed (“Mummy doesn’t like dry clean only. It has to go through the washing machine. She’s not keen on white either.”); locations in which the outfit can be worn; which one is the favourite and why – think infantine Audrey Hepburn and you’re not far off the mark. Equally the lunch is all very grown up.
The Right Little Madam came as a bit of a shock- quite why I’m still not sure, its not like we’ve never been out with her before. I can only conclude that the Number One Daughter must have fed the child several double espressos prior to our arrival. The whole experience was rather like herding cats – caffeine filled cats! It wasn’t that she was naughty, far from it. She was utterly charming. She just moves so quickly, disappears round corners, goes through cloth racks rather than around them, dons an invisibility cloak or something similar, is sidetracked by a pair of sparkly trainers, pauses to exclaim over something in lurid pink, returns an item that’s been misplaced, crawls under a display to retrieve a dropped hanger. You think you’re looking at one thing but she’s already assessed it and moved on to the next item that’s caught her fancy and it’s on the other side of the shop from where she was standing ten milliseconds ago. And there’s the fact she asks so many questions, makes so many observations -wants your views on the subject but your brain is approximately seven billion lightyears behind hers so your one remaining grey cell is formulating the idea and the words whilst her grey cells which are clearly bouncing around like particles in the hadron collider have arrived at the answer, digested it, spat it out and charged on to the next new and exciting idea interrupting themselves only to exclaim joyously over something with a Frozen theme.
If only there was an energy transfusion service. I say this because the oddest thing about the shopping trip for me was that on one hand – quite literally when I could keep hold of her- there was a bouncing energetic seven-year-old who was very pleased indeed to be out with Granny and Granddad and on the other hand there was HWIOO who became progressively paler with the passage of time and who actually did shut his eyes and try to grab a power nap whilst the Right Little Madam was concentrating on her brownie sundae at lunch time. Don’t ask me why we were feeding her substances that topped up her energy levels…
So we’re home now having selected a suitably pink, blinged up and slightly Harry Potterish outfit. HWIOO is sleeping peacefully; he’ll need as many naps as possible- there’s a week before the summer holidays and the Madams are looking forward to spending some quality time with Granddad. I wonder how good they are at DIY?