A traditional bank holiday

We’ve had that most British of bank holiday weekends: rain, donkeys and A&E.

The lovely Monkey-face, mrbookandbed and I spent a lovely but too-short day with friends at the seemingly impressive and very attractively put-together Kent Life. After an unforeseen run-in with a donkey. Donkeys seem to take shelter in the rain it would appear, irrespective of whether they have little people on top of them. Sometimes that shelter has low-hanging branches.

So it came to pass that those branches swept Monkey-face off her donkey-shaped perch and onto the ground (hi 5 for helmets) and we ended up in the nearest A and E. A-bloody-gain.

Which also meant we had another donkey-made opportunity for reading. It’s almost like I orchestrated the whole hospital interlude, what with having Meg and Mog in my bag which she happily sat and quietly read. Well, until another little girl came along and tried to read it, thinking it was a book from the A&E’s kid-pen repetoire that is. A fracas ensued which came to a halt before more damage, which was fortunate when you consider that both of them already had had head injuries (the child who wasn’t Monkey-face had been given her Star-Trek-forehead of an injury by a younger brother no more enamoured of sharing than the monkey, so possibly that caused the child who wasn’t MF to back off.)

When we were at last allowed to leave, Monkey-face got into the car, clutching her latest copy of the Head Injury document you are handed upon leaving hospital under such circumstances. In truth, we’ve been given so many of these leaflets from so many A&Es that in these times of austerity they would probably have benefited from overlooking our copy. Perhaps it was just the lightness one feels after coming through unscathed, and I do find that everything immediately takes on a glow. I’m certainly far more grateful, more zen, than I ever am naturally in the immediate aftermath of a consultant sending you on your way. It’s maybe this respose, but today I found joy in this leaflet: Monkey-face clutched it and studied it fervently on the way home. Of course, I doubt she intuited anything from it at all. But, she’s understanding that letters, with or without pictures, give rise to stories and reading and meaning and books. She knows that they mean something higher. Only yesterday morning she saw me reading The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber on my iPhone and said “is that your book mummy?” and she took my phone from me and studied the text. I lost the page as she turned them and peered, but I found that immensely reassuring. It struck me again how absurd is the general view that anyone who reads books in e-book form is killing the medium. (Although I accept that the current financial terms for e-publishing are prescriptive for authors.) Monkeyface realises already that deciphering the characters leads to literacy and that linking letters together form stories and that that can be done on paper or electronically. Head injury or no head injury, she wants to decipher words, be they on an NHS pamphlet or on my Kindle app.

The donkey didn’t harm her and she still wanted to read. In my book, that’s a pretty good end to a traditional British Bank Holiday.

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