A few days ago I took my daughters to Box Hill in Surrey. It’s well-known as a beauty spot and offers amazing views of the surrounding area, including the town of Dorking, nestling in a valley down below.
When we left home there was the odd drop of rain but I decided to risk it and by the time we arrived, it was a quagmire. The weather was genuinely dreadful. Despite getting horrendously muddy and soaked to the skin, we had a brilliant time and really enjoyed ourselves.
This, however, was despite one mishap. Early on in our walk, a magpie flew down and landed on the ground near to us.
This sparked off the most surreal conversation between Elizabeth, my three year old, Helen, my seven year old and I. It was so surreal, I thought I would share it here.
I am repeating this from memory. The odd word may be out of place, but it went something like this;
Helen; “Ooo that’s a magpie. They steal things. We learned about it at school.”
Elizabeth sidles up to me and takes my hand, something she only does when something is bothering her; “Daddy, I don’t like burglars.”
Me; “Don’t worry sweetheart. Magpies only steal from other birds.”
Elizabeth; “But daddy, I don’t like vampires.”
Me; “Vampires? I think you mean magpies.”
Me; “Where did you get vampires from?”
Helen; “She got it from Scooby Doo.”
Me; “Oh, Scooby Doo again. I think mummy and I are going to have to keep a closer eye on what you’re watching on television.”
Elizabeth points towards Dorking in the distance; “Look daddy, a vampire.”
Me; “No darling, there are no vampires in Dorking. You mean a magpie.”
Elizabeth; “But daddy, I don’t like magpies.”
Helen; “Don’t worry Elizabeth. They only steal from other birds. They steal other birds homes.”
Me; “Is that right? They steal other bird’s nests?”
Helen; “Yes, it was one of the things we learned about at school.”
Elizabeth; “Daddy, I don’t like magpires.”
Me; “Magpires? Is that a cross between a vampire and a magpie?”
There was then a brief lull in conversation. I was hoping we were done with talking about vampires and magpies. Alas, it was not to last. After a short while, Elizabeth spoke;
“But daddy, I don’t like magpies.”
This conversation went round in circles for some considerable time. I hope you enjoyed reading about it and I hope, for everyone’s sake, there really are no vampires in Dorking.