Thursday, 11 July 2013

Of Rabbits and War....

So the children were playing outside with their rabbit and guinea pig when the lady from next door pops her head over the fence to have a chat.

My first concern was that the kids footballing antics had upset her. Usually she is lovely but occasionally she can be upset, particularly after spending all day planting her borders only to have her pansies crushed by a 'booted' ball.

But today she was in a good mood, chatting with the boys about their football skills, their bikes and eventually their pets.

She chatted about how lovely the rabbit was, how well behaved and sweet, just like its owner Lea! (I stifled a laugh)

She told them how when she was a girl that she had three little bunnies and about how much she loved them and how she played with them everyday,even during the war when they kept her and her big sister company during the German bombings of the Blitz in her home in East London.

She told them how one by one her rabbits escaped and ran away and how heartbroken she was and how she sat cuddling the last bunny as bombs hit her street, just before she was evacuated.

The kids sat open mouthed as she talked... And to be honest, so did I.

Then came the clanger. After the war was over her sister explained to her that the bunnies hadn't run away, but that due to the shortage of food, each rabbit had been served to her for Sunday lunch. They had spaced the bunny slaughter out so she wouldn't notice and so that she still had something to comfort her during the bombing raids.

She told them how seeing their rabbit had brought back all those memories of her own bunnies.... To which Lea said, "You are not going to eat mine!" 

The lady laughed and said, "No, I've never eaten a rabbit since." To which TJ replied, "Well, you can eat my guinea pig if you want... Guinea pigs are rubbish!" And he then went back to kicking his ball.

But something must have sunk in as TJ today pulled out a copy of War Horse, the excellent book, and said, "Daddy, do you think that lady would like to read this and tell me more about the war?"

I think she probably would.

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