An Exciting Day

By | August 10, 2022


‘Gillian? It’s Angela. My day’s been so much fun – I’ve been stuck in a tree! You must meet me for a glass of wine, dear, so I can tell you all about it.’

Earlier that day, Angela had shimmied into an old floral cotton dress. She glossed over the fact that the buttons up the front were straining and admired her shapely legs in the mirror. One has to make an effort, even for gardening, she mused – you never know who might pass by. Indeed, weeding progress was slow as she stopped to pass the time of day with neighbours, dog walkers and a group of youths dribbling a football on their way to the field beyond their cul-de-sac. Sadly no hunky men to amuse her today but she enjoyed the banter with those she spoke to. ‘These weeds are growing like billy-o,’ she said to Millie as the young girl from three doors down wheeled her bike along the pavement. ‘Hold on a minute – why are you looking so glum?’

‘I’ve got a list of things I want to do before I’m 10 and one of them’s riding my bike without stabilisers but I can’t do it. All my friends learnt when they were in infant school and it makes me look stupid.’ Angela was moved by the child’s disappointment.

‘Wait there,’ she said, dropping her trowel, hitching up her dress and climbing over her front wall, ‘I’ll help you.’

She demonstrated; she instructed; she held the back of the seat and jogged along for a few paces but something in Millie wouldn’t allow her to take the plunge, unaided, on two wheels.

Apparently, Millie had already crossed off things like getting her first-aid badge from Brownies and baking a cake without any assistance from her mum. She had two items to go. Angela admired Millie’s ambition to achieve her list of 10 things before she was 10 and, with only a week to go before the birthday, she worried that the girl might be crushed by her failure on the bike. ‘How about you change this item to something else? What about kissing a boy?’


‘Okay, what’s the other thing on your list?’

‘Climbing a tree but I haven’t found a good tree yet.’

‘Your luck is in, Millie, dear! I have a large old sycamore in my back garden just itching to be climbed!’ Angela had held a secret urge to climb the tree but at 53 with a figure to match her general lack of exercise, she’d sensibly dismissed the notion. Here now was a broad smile on a nine year old face and Angela’s heart swelled. Between them they wheeled the bike into the back garden and analysed the route up the sycamore.

‘Well, what could I do? The child needed encouragement,’ she said to Gillian that evening over a glass of wine.

‘You could have offered advice from the safety of the lawn, Angela.’

‘I couldn’t help myself,’ she said with a cheeky smile and went on to describe the rest of the incident in great detail.

Millie had chosen a very sensible set of branches that would get her more than half way up. Half way was a long way off the ground and would certainly count as success. Her energy and agility more than made up for her lack of height and she showed her delight at every step. It was a good route. Angela’s long legs could manage that, no problem. She was sure she could manage it, and without thinking any further she set off after Millie. It was exhilarating. She made it to the branch below her young friend and they sat there admiring the view into other people’s gardens and over to the field beyond where the lads were playing football. But when it came time for the climb down, her foot couldn’t find the first branch on her decent. How had her leg been long enough on the way up yet too short to risk stepping back down again? She shuffled a bit, wondering whether she should face forwards, backwards or just shut her eyes and jump. Millie couldn’t get past her so they were both stuck. Better not show her I’m scared, she thought. Let’s think of something to take our minds off the problem for a while.

‘Millie, dear, you have only one more task to do before you’ve completed your 10 challenges. How about you forget the bike and make that last task singing in a tree. Millie thought it was a great idea but didn’t know Angela’s suggested song – All Things Bright and Beautiful – so they opted for Chim Chim Cher-ee from Mary Poppins. They sang joyfully at the top of their voices not caring who heard them. Angela secretly hoped that a hunky fireman would be passing and come to their rescue. Instead, Millie’s dad strolled round to take a photo of them and he helped the pair down without Angela having to admit to her scary predicament. All three of them were delighted with the achievements of the day.

Angela took another noisy slurp of wine, turned to Gillian and said, ‘And that’s how I ended up, up in a tree.’

Last Updated on August 10, 2022