Another nursery tale:
During the bedlam of ‘tidy up time’ – a vague description of the transition time when the adults start packing away all the good stuff and the kids follow behind unpacking it (or ,worse still, decide to entertain themselves) – anything can happen. And usually does.
On this day we were all especially frazzled. An inspector had been to visit, an olden days inspector who smiled and offered kindly advice and support, instead of demanding the paperwork and skulking off to tick some boxes, but still an inspector. At one point he had put down his folder to help a child with an activity. (That is how you can tell it was the olden days!) When he stood back up he found that my charming children had swiped every last one of his pens. Well, it was the East End and he had put them down – fair game.
It took us a while to track down enough to cheer him back up and then we were all behind with the things we had meant to get done. This is not unusual when you work with under 5’s, but that doesn’t make it less frustrating.
Eventually we got to tidy up time. I was busy trying to attach a six foot tall elephant to the cupboard doors, hoping the paint had dried enough not to just drip and drop directly down onto the floor and invoke the wrath of Pearl, my cleaner. A small hand tapped my back and a disembodied voice said;
“Teev, I found this.”
“Thank you” I replied and reaching round behind me I took the object and dropped it absently into my pocket.
Herding everybody towards the carpet for story time, the room now looking at least a bit respectable, I remembered the object and took it out of my pocket. “Funny” I thought, “Where would a big screw like that have come from?”
As I dropped it back into my pocket I looked across the carpet just in time to see the book shelves gracefully concertina down to the ground, surrounding the children in an avalanche of brightly coloured Elmer’s, Caterpillars and various other story books.
At least I knew where the mystery screw had come from.