Cheerful, noisy, happy life returned just for the day yesterday. In no time at all the garden buildings had become a den, a shop and a stable. The whole garden became a village, a farm, a jungle, a road down to a different village and a pond-side exploration place.
"The sound of this little fountain is so relaxing", said Grand-Daughter as she scampered past. Towards the end of a long play session the rockery, now a carpet of wonderfully scented English Pinks, was also discovered to be somewhere you could relax for a few seconds and think about anything you liked. Secret paths, hiding places, concealed doors leading to even more secrets were rediscovered and invented.
Grandson Senior remembered his plastic motor-bike and roared down an adrenaline-boosting slope with his knees under his chin. He has grown a lot in recent weeks. Then he mastered my sound-system in order to play his nursery rhyme CD, and had more fun than seemed possible, washing his hands with extremely slippery soap.
All the work of maintaining this time-consuming place becomes so wonderfully worthwhile. What else has there been to do in the last three months, and how incredibly fortunate I am to have such a place. Even more fortunate to have the grandchildren to let loose in it.
Some day Grandson Junior will come and have a go too, but at the moment he's having his first holiday beside a lake in Austria, where hotels are open and people have much more freedom to move about.
Some things I didn't get right. The rabbit who unexpectedly came for her birthday party was not provided with a carrot cake. I didn't know it was the rabbit's birthday. How un-Granny-like is that? But surely even a toy rabbit should be able to understand that I can't just go shopping, that I haven't been shopping for three months, that I wouldn't even know what you're supposed to do in a shop these days.
Have I got carrots in the garden? No, I've got raspberries though. Rabbits like raspberries. Have a bowl and pick some raspberries. Oh, your brother has eaten them, and your Mummy has scoffed a few as well? Oh dear. But as a special treat in warm weather have some frozen peas in your bowl. Yummy!
I'm still not getting it quite right. The horse who has been left in my care came with a list of feeding, grooming and exercise instructions. You can see it lounging about over the stable door. I haven't fulfilled all the requirements, but the horse hasn't either. I needed the manure for the garden.