Unearthed from the depths of a dusty old suitcase thrown up into the loft somewhere around 1990, one small and decidedly grubby stuffed cow.
This is Ashley, once the dearly beloved ‘cuddly’ of Son No. 2, who named her after the little girl who lived next door to us in New Zealand.Â Â The same little girl who pushed him down the steep driveway on her trolley, gathering speed past the pongas and chirping cicadas and the bright bougainvillea, to end up underneath her father’s truck with his face smashed against the petrol tank and pouring blood.
I remember carrying Son screaming (him, not me) into Ashley’s Mum’s kitchen for her to look into his mouth because I couldn’t bring myself to do it.Â She sat him on her counter and swabbed him out and pronounced him okay, except for a cut and black bruise on the gum above his front teeth. So, that would be why his teeth grew through as they did, and why they still lean inwards to this day, despite the braces.Â But it could have been much worse, because the truck could have been moving.
Anyway, Ashley (the little girl, not the cow) didn’t do it on purpose, and they remained firm friends until we left.Â I have a charming picture of the two of them sitting in front of our bungalow.Â Ashley in a pretty dress, Son No. 2 in nothing but one of Ashley’s necklaces, which she had given him. Â Well .. he was only four at the time.
And Ashley (the cow, not the little girl), has spent a decade or so in the loft, shut inside a suitcase.Â She looks pretty good on the whole, doesn’t she?
Though she might not last too much longer.Â Sid has been eyeing her covetously!