Wild Child


I harboured shades of anxiety about plucking a child from what was her normality – indeed normality per se – and popping her back down in a quite alien environment. 

Hat no longer goes to conventional school, she has no like-minded peers close by to play with, no birthday parties to go to, no need to host her own (oh Thank God!), no proper shops and – especially – no siblings at home now to spar with. Except for the fact we – her parents – a collection of familiar animals and her doll’s house are in Outpost with her, her life has morphed beyond recognition.

She’s just the same, though. She’s the same old happy Hat.

Yesterday, walking by the dam, armed with a walking stick and a stick of sugar cane bought on the roadside which, when she tired of carrying it, she threaded through the belt loops at the back of her shorts, Hat commented that she liked being a Wild Child.

(She means a child living in the bush, not socialite Tamara Beckwith/Tara PT Wild Child)


I like being able to take my boots off and squelch my toes in the mud and my mum won’t get cross.

(I could hardly get cross after that, could I? And I can’t see either of aforementioned Wild Children – Tamara or Tara – enjoying mud-through-toes-sensation or anything else about Hat’s wilderness for that matter)

What else?

I like having lots of wild animals.

But we don’t have lots of wild animals, I reminded her, the wildest we got was chickens from the local market (and they’ve all turned up their toes).

No, but I will collect wild animals.

Like what, I wanted to know.

Like guinea fowl, she said.

How are we going to get guinea fowl, I enquired.

You are going to get me some guinea fowl eggs and I am going to put them under a chicken’s bottom (clearly unfazed by recent poultry raising failure) and we will have guinea fowl.

And with that my Wild Child skipped off to hold hands with her dad, swinging her walking stick, sugar cane still in situ.


10 Responses to “Wild Child”

  1. Mapesbury Mum Says:

    Hattie – you make the most of that – a few children I know would love to swap places with you! I have 2 children and a dog here longing for a bit of fresh air out in the rain which I am ignoring as washing the floor on our return is not on my list of things to do on a Sunday!

  2. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Thanks Mapesbury Mum – I agree: Sunday absolutely not a day for floor washing! x

  3. Roberta Says:

    I was wondering ~~~ would you adopt me?

  4. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Absolutely! I’d love some company … specially this coming week; husband away and Hat and I shall be abandoned in splendid isolation. After Hat’s gone to bed, evenings are going to seem mighty long … oh for somebody to chat to and share the odd bottle wine with.

  5. Roberta Says:

    Lovely! We’ll try to decipher each other’s accents. (Mine is US Southern /Hick)

    I quietly decipher yours as very British with spatterings of Swahili and Bush.

    We’ll have to draw pictures!

  6. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    you’re absolutely right: British with that not always easily pinpointable twang that people question as australian, kiwi or – believe it or not – even american sometimes. but at the end of the day, definately a Mary Poppins The Rain in Spain with touch of Swahili!

  7. Iota Says:

    Can I come too? I’ll bring a bottle.

  8. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    oh yes, yes, the poor the merrier! I wish … too quiet here …

  9. Pig in the kitchen Says:

    Ooo, it’s off to a good start! I have a sentence for Hat to translate. ‘Est-ce que tu aimes ta nouvelle vie Hat? C’est genial d’etre un enfant sauvage n’est-ce pas? You can then do spin off lessons, focussing on the words nouvelle, eg: une nouvelle jupe, etc, and ‘sauvage’, c’est un chat sauvage, etc, and ‘est-ce que tu aimes le chocolate, est-ce que tu aimes les devoirs’, etc etc.
    There was no charge for this service.

  10. Roberta Says:

    Great! Iota you bring a couple of bottles of wine, I’ll secure the snacks and we’ll have a pajama party!!! Wooo Hooo!

    Dear Pig, you can come too, but leave the French at the door…I can barely speak American English. I hate all of those conjectures and stuff…makes my head hurt.

    I tell you what, bring snacks. And don’t forget your footy pajamas!

    Off to Mems house for a PJ Party! Whoooooo Hooooo!

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