Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Zach flourishes in the Languedoc

ST JEAN DE LA BLAQUIERE 1. Five-year-old grandson Zach (Or The Zachster as RW (zS) inventively calls him) tells me that Birmingham, West Ham and Blackpool were relegated from the soccer premier league this year and Swansea, QPR and Norwich were promoted. Impressive but depressing – soccer isn’t my thing.

As compensation he rattles aloud through Horrible Henry’s Underpants, a work of dubious literary merit and is seriously attentive listening to passages from Fungus The Bogeyman. This is really an adult’s book and includes quotes from Milton (“The Bogey, subtlest beast of all the field.”) and Herrick (“Putrefaction is the end/Of all that nature doth entend.”). Casually Zach refers to silent letters, citing “know” as an example.

He brought a schoolbook: OUP’s monumental Building A House (Sample quote: “The electricians put wires inside the walls. The wires will bring electricity into the house”) which he reads competently but boredly. I ask him if he’s the best reader in his class and he supposes he is. He ponders then offers, “Perhaps Lisa is.”

After strenuous rehearsal he addresses the village baker with Bonjour monsieur le boulanger adding Je suis en vacance. the next day. Goodish accent.

On the long drive down he marks his I-Spy book regretting, as we all did, that the French edition isn’t out until July. Played the French version of Snap at the overnight hotel.

Parents – especially grandparents – tend to overdo their offpring’s intellect so I limit myself to a phrase which never appeared on my report card: Satisfactory work and progress.

Here he is as referee (with a tendency to cheat) at a game of marine volley-ball – mother and sister on one side, dad and sister’s boyfriend on the other.


Lucy said...

Glad you had a splashy sunshiney time. Welcome back!

We were still being read aloud to from Horrible Henry last year, I think, by Benj at about ten, so either Zak is the Best Reader next to Lisa, or else HH has a long run and you've got several years of it to look forward to.

Lucy said...

Sorry, meant Zach. I'm not the best speller in the class.

marja-leena said...

Great to hear from you and with a proud grandfather's voice! Our youngesr grandchild is about the same age so I know how much fun they are. Enjoy the holiday!

The Crow said...

Welcome back! Sounds as if you had a great time, BB - 'you' being inclusive, here.

Looking forward to tales of Zach in future posts.

Hattie said...

The children of today are routinely brilliant. Better child rearing, I think, unless we are continuing to evolve intelligence-wise.
My children and I LOVED Fungus, unknown in the U.S. but we lived in Switzerland when they were young. I wonder if they still publish the companion volume, the Fungus the Bogeyman plop-up book.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: No apologies needed about your imagined misspelling. I am at odds with his parents on this; they not only prefer Zac but have had several soccer shirts created which carry this abbreviation on the back.

I have been taxing Mrs BB regarding Zach's reading abilities since his progress seems astonishing. She tells me that both our daughters could read before they went to school. Is this remarkable? I certainly couldn't though I remember getting a note from one of my primary teachers when I lay abed ill (I was a sickly child) saying that no other child had advanced to far in the Mrs Peg series of readers. Mrs BB, whose academic prowess exceeds mine in every sphere, could probably read in the womb.

M-L: It's his seriousness that impresses me.

The Crow: Next post covers lagniappe.

Hattie: Fungus surprised me with its adultness and its irony. The latter is often one of the last things kids pick up, I think.

Rouchswalwe said...

The Zachster impresses me, and I speak as a big sister. He has opinions, yet reflects on what he has just said. Enjoys both stimulation of the mind as well as physical activity. Keeps an eye on the adults and keeps them on their toes. The soccer thing ... well, he is still young. Time enough to learn about baseball!