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The peanut is under the coffee table

PUBLISHED: 10:02 29 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:02 29 January 2018

The squirrel encounters the squirrel proof feeder (the squat one with the steel metal roof) for the first time. Is he beaten? No. Picture: LJM

The squirrel encounters the squirrel proof feeder (the squat one with the steel metal roof) for the first time. Is he beaten? No. Picture: LJM

Archant

You’re as old as you feel, they say. In my head I am 25... but my brain has yet to convince my body

What makes me feel my age?

Getting out of the back of a two-door car.

It seems incredible to me now that when I was at university, in Liverpool, the police stopped the Mini I was travelling in because there were seven of us in it - four in the back.

Like a magician producing doves from his hand, we piled out on to the Smithdown Road and looked suitably sheepish. The police officers were very stern but let the driver off with a warning and kindly took the overflow (three girls) home. The following week, aforementioned driver came out of a lecture at Uni to find his beloved Mini supported on bricks - someone had made off with his wheels.

I digress.

My friend Jane who has a sporty Audi with two doors gave my husband and me a lift home. I had no problem getting in the back and congratulated myself on my nimbleness (nimbility?). But it’s different getting out. For a start the camber on the road meant it was an uphill struggle. I passed my laptop bag and my handbag to my husband who was. I think, trying to pretend he wasn’t there. Then I planted my left leg, the one with the titanium knee, on the ground and rocked back and forward until I had gained enough propulsion to eject myself from the back seat. We were all pretty much helpless with laughter by then (although I noticed my husband didn’t dare laugh until I did).

I won’t lie. If a peanut rolls under the coffee table, I note it but don’t necessarily immediately retrieve it. I might wait until it has been joined by a toy car and a Cheesy Wotsit before lying on the floor to see what’s under there. Or I might wait until the grandsons are staying over and get them to do it.

I try to save up a number of floor-based chores that can be completed in a single, carpet-based session. This includes dusting and polishing the bottom shelf of the TV unit, applying Brasso to the fire surround, dusting the skirting boards and using Vanish on any grandson splips on the carpet.

My mum, who is older than me ((you often find that), can still touch her toes with no trouble. Mind you, at a little over five feet, she is nearer to her toes than I am.

I recently spent a day with youngest, soon to be middle, grandchild Wil. (Five-year-old George was at school)

Nearly-three, Wil has a reckless streak and indeed performed a couple of reckless streaks in the course of the day. He is nothing if not unpredictable. After his evening bath, with naught on but a towel, he luged down the stairs like a tiny, fearless winter Olympian.

“Don’t do that. Wil.”

“One more,” he said.

The day began more sedately. He carefully coloured in a snowman picture – the snowman was, of course, shaded in red because it is Wil’s favourite colour and he saw no need to be hidebound by the fact that snow is white.

We, that is to say, I completed four small Paw Patrol jigsaw puzzles and we ate buttered toast and party eggs for lunch, washed down with weak blackcurrant cordial. I decided to allow myself a post-prandial chill (I wasn’t sure I could take the strain of colouring an entire herd of elephants red) and put CBeebies on the television. Wil nestled beside me and all was comfy and warm. After a full session with Mr Tumble, I turned to speak to Wil only to find myself addressing his feet because he was standing on his head on the sofa, watching TV upside-down.

How lovely it must be to simply invert onself without having to think about creaking joints and dizziness. Which brings me to the squirrels. They are interesting rodents but we could no longer afford the sunflower hearts necessary to keep them and the goldfinches fed. These small. fluffy-tailed creatures jump down into the garden, scoot across the lawn, shin up the bird-feeder pole and attach themselves, upside-down, to the sunflower heart dispenser. Having had to fill it every day for a fortnight we decided it was time to buy a “squirrel-proof” feeder.

It was squirrel proof for 24 hours, which is how long it took for the squirrels to work out how to get to the food. Meanwhile, over at the pergola, the peanut feeder had been breached and all the peanuts had fallen on the ground. Even the time-honoured methods of repelling squirrels have failed. We bang our fists on the window but they don’t even turn around. We go out into the garden and hiss: “Shoo!” This doesn’t work either. We did buy a guaranteed squirrel-proof feeder but have yet to suss how it works. Maybe we should get a consultant squirrel in...

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