Sometimes children are the best medicine. They drive you mad, they frustrate you, they seem to come from another planet… but nothing makes you laugh as much as a child, particularly when they get one over their intellectual father. Here is an extract from Beware the Falling Avocados.
Our destination was the café that operated out of a small booth in a garden near the entrance to the Agricultural Showgrounds. Once a year, at the beginning of August, the showgrounds were the home of the Agricultural Show, a magnificent spectacle of animals, produce and business from around the country. I would make a beeline for the red, green and blue baby chicks, which delighted me every time. The colours came because the eggs were injected with food dye, much like my dad’s experiments with snowdrops and coloured ink. I’m not sure how ethically sound the practice was, but I was reassured that the colours just faded as the chicks grew older. For the other fifty-one weeks of the year the buildings on the site were rented out to businesses, which the café neatly served.
The approach to the showgrounds was down a long straight road past the polo grounds.
“Horses!” Matthew exclaimed as we passed the stables.
“Aren’t they beautiful,” I said. Their glossy coats shone in the afternoon sun. Undoubtedly those horses were treated well.
“Horses have necks,” said Matthew. This was a slightly unexpected observation, but indisputable.
“So they do, Matthew,” said Stephen. “So they do.”
“But shorter than a giraffe’s,” he added.
“Yes, yes…” Again, neither of us could quibble with his factual accuracy.
“Everything has a neck,” said Stephen.
That was his downfall.
“No they don’t Daddy. Walls don’t have necks. Cars don’t have necks.”
“Well, no Matthew, but…”
“Trees don’t have necks. Wheels don’t have necks.”
“Chairs don’t have necks. Grass doesn’t have a neck.”
“Stairs don’t have necks.”
“MATTHEW!” Stephen finally made Matthew stop. “Matthew: I’m wrong, you’re right. Not everything has a neck.”
I grinned sneakily. My son had turned four years old and had managed to get one over his father, a rare event for anyone. I couldn’t wait for him to have many more opportunities.
Beware the Falling Avocados is available as a paperback or eBook from Saturday 18 June – and yes, that is tomorrow!