When I was little, around six I guess, my brother, who was eight had a Meccano set. I thought it was the coolest thing in the whole damn world. And I wasn't allowed to play with it. I don't think I was even allowed to look at it sideways.
Was it because it wasn't a girl's toy, or was it just that Hec wanted to have some stuff that was just for him: something my meddling little mitts wouldn't get all into. Whatever the reason, it was strictly out of bounds. And I don't remember EVER crossing the line into the forbidden territory.
About 36 years later, I was in a toy shop in Athens pondering what to get Milo for his third birthday. It had to be something light, something that could be transported easily back to Australia. Something durable, something deconstructable. Something either age appropriate or something he could grow into... SOMETHING MECCANO!
And so it came to pass that Milo got his first set. And the first time he played with it, was with Hec. I think they made the helicopter. Sure its components aren't metal. Sure it doesn't have any mechanical bits or engines or pulleys or strings or anything, but still, it's 21st century Meccano. And that's Meccano none the less.
Today, Milo is a few months shy of turning six, and after school he pulled the bag of bits out of the drawer in his bedroom and asked me to help him assemble the car. So we did. He located the parts, I did the construction.
By the time we'd finished we were both too stuffed to even look at the thing. But the point is we did it. And together. And in doing so I fulfilled a dream.
11 September, 2012
It's been a long, cold winter since the last time I wrote. This whole year, actually, has been a long, cold winter. But with the arrival of this September, little glimpses of sunshine have broken through the chill. So maybe spring will spring soon. And maybe this long, cold winter will come to an end.
It's a week short of twelve months since I last wrote anything about the house at Porter Street. And funnily enough, just yesterday I found myself digging and planting without gloves, which is what my last blog entry was about. How curious that the universe led me tonight to click on my blog, when it has been so distant from my radar for the last 51 weeks.
I think I didn't write because I lost sight of inspiration as we settled into preparations for our first full summer in the House at Porter Street. It was our first full summer with our oddly merged family and its sometimes straining dynamic trying to make sense of itself.
It feels like I can't really say what happened to the summer which took us from 2011 to 2012. But if I try, I can. There was swimming in the pool.
There were blue tongue lizards in the garden.
There was a wicked storm on Christmas Day that kept our beloved visitors trapped here with a thunderous light show over the valley and torrential, driving rain that was almost more exciting than Father Christmas, his avalanche of presents and all the food we'd consumed throughout the day.
There was our sunflower.
There was preparation for Milo starting school in February, and then the adjustment to the new paradigm as my baby and I went from constant companions to mummy missing her school boy (with giant schoolbag) having a whole life away from me for six and half hours a day, five days a week.
It all felt like a revolution. Life was happening, and we were all swept up in the fullness of it.
And then the world as we knew it ended. 6.42am on 9 March, 2012. Because that's when Evie rang to tell me that my brother had just died. My dearest, darlingest, one and only brother.
And so, right in the midst of a blazing hot summer, when everything seemed to be happening with nothing going on, there began the longest, coldest winter.