I can’t exactly remember why we’d gone into Homebase. It might have been for a new laundry basket, or something to do with the massive ‘decapitate the back hedge’ project that H has been working on for the past few weeks, or any one of a number of little errands for something where you can’t quite think might sell it, and a DIY shop/garden centre seems as good a place as any to start.
What we came out with, were hoops. Two of them. A little purple one for Elma and a big pink one for Kitty while the afternoon sunshine bounced off the glitter wrappings in shimmery rainbows, and the bumps and curves in the road sent the ball bearings inside leaping and spinning. That first afternoon I tried to teach Kitty to hoopla, very unsuccessfully given that (a) I can’t do it normally and (b) it really really doesn’t work when you’re six months pregnant. She stood there with a little frown of concentration, trying to work out what she was supposed to be copying, before holding it above her head and simply letting it drop to the ground while she stood and wiggled. We might have to revisit that one later.
And when the rain came it was universally decreed by the smallest members of the family that they were too pink, too purple, too glittery, all in all, too special to be put in the shed or, heaven forbid, left outside, and in they came. They’ve been rolled down the hall, spun around in circles, but most often, and certainly most often since it’s bee raining, and the lawn has returned to its favourite sludgy state, the hoops have played a key role in a Kitty-invented game of “Pink Hoop, Purple Hoop”.
As it mostly involves me sitting on a dining room chair calling out “pink hoop”, “purple hoop”, “no hoop”, or the ever tricksy “pink and purple hoop together”, while Kit jumps from one to the other and Elma toddles after her with delighted but baffled enthusiasm; I’m a really big fan!
And when they’ve finished that hoop game, there are still a million and one different things they could be; we’ve had princess fairy dresses (which took a fair amount of imagination), and tunnels, and a few directions from Kit to Elma that makes me think she was paying rather closer attention to watching her cousin do agility training with her spaniel the last time I was in Yorkshire than I’d really realised at the time.
And if all else fails, there’s always just lifting it up and letting it fall around you in a happy rattly crash! It’s a justification for impromptu garden centre shopping if ever I saw it!