We always had Sunday lunch early when I was a child, as soon as we zipped in from Church, so we could enjoy ‘A nice long afternoon’, my Mum said. I was not quite sure how that worked, and always hated afternoons anyway, especially Sundays; they stretched into doing nothing until teatime and then Church again in the evening.
I learnt then to escape into a world of imagination. How wonderful to be able to go anywhere in my head!
Sometimes I didn’t need my imagination.
My Australian grandmother was known for inviting all sorts of people into her home, and so when she told all those young Australians who were going to London for a while to look up her son and his family, she must have thought we would be delighted.
I realize now it was not super-convenient for my Mum when suddenly and surprisingly the doorbell rang on a Sunday afternoon and it was one of those young Australians, popping by for tea.
I loved it.
I loved how healthy and glowing they all looked, I loved how they didn’t put the tinned cream on their tinned fruit, but on their chocolate cake and most of all, I loved their accents. They were speaking the same language as me, but oh how different it was! Ever since then, just hearing an Australian speak puts a smile on my face.
Those endlessly boring childhood Sundays were the best preparation ever for our current Corona self-isolation. And of course now we can be in touch in so many ways that our imaginations are not quite as necessary… I can show my darling Borneos in real time the snow that is falling here (even though it’s not enough to build the snowman they asked us to build for them), and they could show me their guinea pigs, and chickens, and doves, and how they were skipping, and where Germany is on the big world map in their living room.
Yesterday I bought loads and loads of seeds.
In my world of imagination I can already see the zinnias, nasturtiums and sunflowers blooming and taste the gin and tonic I will drink sitting in my Strandkorb on a sunny summer Sunday evening. In my imagination I will be planning lessons for you all, thinking which outfit to wear next week and looking forward to my next trip to Borneo.
We had a lesson a long time ago about the British poet and painter William Blake, who wrote
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower “
My Australian cousin Leah is the very famous and renowned ‘Queen of Snow Globes’. The photo at the top of this post is a detail from one of her Snow Globes, one of her Worlds of Imagination.
Here she is, talking About her Worlds of Imagination:
“It’s like a protected little world. It’s all safe in there…”
We are all in our own little isolated worlds at the moment … stay safe and stay well!
Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
Leah Andrews, Queen of Snow Globes: https://www.queenofsnowglobes.com/
Cabin Fever Activities: