What brought this on was not so much a dredge through the playground of childhood memory, so much as the reality flying past me.
The children have a large plastic box filled with pencils, probably two hundred or so. The pencils are of all colours and lengths and conditions and brands. The collection has been augmented by several sets given as gifts to them over the last few years, but the collection's backbone is the remains of a 72-pack Tracy once owned. I suppose she still does, in trust.
The youngest child often gets the pencils out by the simple expedient of upending the box on the floor. This way you get to see them in their scattered glory, and pick one that catches your eye without having to riffle through dozens. This is brutally simple childhood logic. Someone wrote a book about it once. They lose this logic over the years.
While William and Thomas are quite good artists, Thomas has found another purpose for the pencils. Alexandra has an extensive collection of hair bands, and one coloured hair band fits snugly around the length of a full-sized pencil, with a little stretch room. Binding each end with masking tape, Thomas turned one Derwent Orange Chrome pencil into a serviceable bow. It works like this. I sit with newspaper and tea in the kitchen in rare silence. Then a clatter as a Derwent Prussian Blue hits the refrigerator door, knocking a fridge magnet off and releasing a school circular which somehow swishes across the room and floats under my feet, annoyingly. Then a volley of missiles; a blunt-nosed Imperial Purple, followed by a Vandyke Brown and a Pink Madder Lake. They fall harmlessly to the ground, and then a Lemon Cadmium hits the newspaper.
They draw with them as well. I'll post a picture of one of their drawings one day, and then this blog will really be down there with the mundanities of life. Perhaps I should go back to recipes.