I spent a while with Squiffany and Pugsley this morning as their parents were taking some things to the tip. Before leaving, they warned me that Pugsley was under the weather, which showed itself in a very short fuse. There had been some shouting and crying that morning. He was fine when I arrived, but soon proved unco-operative. I was firm but cheerful, and got them both out into the garden to show them what work had been done and tell them how it would look at the end. I asked them what they thought about the pond which, having been completely neglected for about three years, is overgrown with irises and some yellow flowers - maybe marsh marigolds, or don't they grow in ponds? - and there is a lot of duckweed. Even the frogs have rejected it this year. I asked what they think, should I clear it out, refill it with water and baby-proof it, or should we fill it in until the babies are older. Squiffany said refill it and make it safe and Pugsley said fill it in. He was more interested in keeping it when I mentioned tadpoles, though.
He did get upset later - I took them round to watch a tractor ploughing the field behind their house, and he pricked himself on a hawthorn. I looked, there was no mark, but he bawled. Squiffany was remarkably kind and patient with him, doing her best to cheer and distract him. She wondered ruefully what having two little brothers would be like.
What I've been wondering is how minority parties will fare at general elections if the Alternative Vote wins in the referendum. I think a lot of people, either from sympathy for a cause or in protest against the mainstream parties, would like to vote for a minority, but knowing it would be a wasted vote, take the sensible option of voting for someone who might actually get in. But knowing that their vote would be counted again, they might as well give the Greens, the BNP, UKIP or whoever their first vote. There would be no point at all in giving them second place. Since none of the main parties is particularly in favour at present (though, of course, who knows what will happen in three or four years?) this could skew the results quite entertainingly. I haven't heard anyone mention this factor - but I haven't exactly been devouring all the available information and opinions, I admit.
I've had envelopes from both my accountant and the Inland Revenue. I'm even considering getting my papers together and getting it over and done with. I'll probably get over the impulse, but I do have that time-on-my hands feeling during the school holidays. In the evenings, that is. I'm still hacking at brambles during the day.