Tonight Ida tried to eat a sausage with her feet. It may sound like the everyday peculiarities of a toddler but it made me laugh out loud with pleasure as I knew immediately what she was trying to do.
We went here this morning with some very lovely friends (hello!) We forged ahead despite the grey sky and the faintest feeling of entering a place meant only for local people. We were early – I think it’s a lot busier at weekends.
It’s an established charity that has recently opened to the public and has lots of plans for the future. We spent a happy hour or so wandering around the mown paths in its meadowland habitat areas – looking at all the wildflowers, butterflies and birds. The girls gleefully running ahead and choosing the paths winding around. We saw an eagle owl flying outside, dear lord those birds are big, and a barn owl flying and leaping, displaying its remarkable hearing and silent ghostly wings in a barnish theatre space.
I don’t mean to review it – although overall I’d give it a really good one. Ida was lit up with pleasure about the owls. She’s always loved them in principle – we have a variety of cuddly and carved ones. She is very fond of stories about them, Owl Babies, the Meg and Mog books. Her face as Gizmo the barn owl swooped over our head on to the upheld fist of the woman talking to us was nearly as beautiful as the silent sweep of the creamy wings themselves. Her squeal of visceral joy as he demonstrated the deadly pounce of his feet. Her absolute attention as she sat clutching her feathers (found, found! not plucked) during the talk was just magical. I didn’t notice her paying attention during the description of Gizmo using his feet like knives and forks but clearly she was.
It was really quite impressive that she could lift the sausage up in her toes. It made her father laugh out loud and Zeph fell off his chair. Of course with audience reaction like that I fear it’ll be on tomorrows menu as well.
It was a really great day. We went to the park after school as well with more friends and a smorgasboard picnicish snack. Ida slept the second her head hit the pillow – no musical beds tonight. She was pink and angelic when I just checked on her, clutching her patchwork owl and her crow feather.
It’s easy to count my blessings tonight. I feel very enriched. By teasels, purple scabious, proper coffee from a flask, good friends, a scatter of tiny birds from the thistles looking like seed heads in the wind themselves, the dignity of owls, a daughter who can eat with her feet and push teenagers off her preferred park equipment and a son prepared to read “Owl Babies” twenty times in a row to his sister.