Rose's Blog Christmas 2013
Hello? Is there anybody out there? It's me, Rose.
I was eleven when I started writing this blog. I'm seventeen now. I don't feel seventeen in my head, or when I stare into a mirror (where nothing much has changed) but when I look at the extreme oldness of my family I know that it is true.
What I thought, when I began to write this evening, was that I would make this like one of those round robin family letters that fall out of Christmas cards, all neatly folded and illustrated with cut-and-paste stars and pixellated photos. The things that make Mum look a little faded as she says 'Oh how lovely. They've all done so well and that must be their dog. Four pages like a little book. Do you want to read it, Rose? Or shall I put it behind the clock?"
There is quite a collection behind the clock, actually. Dad pulls them out and snaps, "Botox!" and "What on earth does he think he looks like on skis?" and other grumpy remarks. "What would we put?" he demands. "I suppose we could make something of Saffy. We couldn't mention Caddy without bringing in the children though..."
The children. Buttercup is seven now, dark eyed, smiling, silent. His quietness makes his speed seem magical- he steps away and vanishes, sometimes so completely that Caddy and Michael despair, alert Security at the zoo, close all exits, ring the police. And then he reappears remarking, "I was just over there," pointing to where we have searched a dozen times. It's not just at the zoo. School. Town. Dad lost him at St Pancras Station only last week. "I was just there," said Buttercup, pointing to the Christmas tree where he definitely hadn't been the five times Dad ran round it howling his name.
Buttercup got so good at vanishing from living with the twins. Who get worse. You wouldn't want to find them in a Christmas card. Or Indigo, with that beard. Antarctic fashion, and before you say, "Indigo? Antarctica? How exciting!" It isn't. Think about it. It's all ice and hideous buildings. And you can see penguins at the zoo. Also it's a funny place to go to be a chef. If you ask me. Which no one does, especially after my unfit-for-Christmas card GCSE results: E,E,E,E,E,E,E,E,E,A*
So who does that leave? Mum? We could say, 'Eve is over her little fling now'.
Dad? "I don't like to blow my own trumpet," says Dad, referring to his much missed mini-series on afternoon tv.
It leaves Saffron, I will come to her later, after Friends.
Tom. Oh brace yourselves for bad news, all you invisible ones who want me to remain my eleven year old self for ever. Tom, married, and worse still, working for Disney. How tragic is that? After all that rock. Alas.
Sarah. Not alas at all. At present in South Africa on safari with The Latest.
David. David has gone far. When Saffron inherited the house with yellow roses in Italy (which I hope you have not forgotten) it was very tatty indeed. It needed DIY which is not a Casson family talent. However, David, down from the attic to look at Saffy's photos of peeling walls and cracked windows, suddenly blossomed. And in no time at all he was off to Sienna with Saffron and his grandad's tool kit all stowed in the burger van and he has been there ever since. He has learned to speak Italian ("I thought I'd better," he explained) and to drive on the right ("Nearly every one does round here,") and he discovered he could sing. 'O sole mio!' as he adds the fried onions to the (amazingly popular) burgers, and 'You are my heart's desire!' and other Italian masterpieces. "He is very much loved," said Mum, whose fling took her to Italy, amongst other places. "Saffron is a very lucky girl."
For of course, Saffron is, and always was, David's heart's desire.
Which leaves just Molly and Kiran and me.
Molly still writes regularly to David Attenborough. Kiran is still the brain. "Cambridge," she says. "Less murders."
"Less murders than what?" I ask. "Oxford," says Kiran. She hasn't changed a bit and neither has her family's Christmas tree, the Six Foot Deluxe Fibre-Optic Norwegian Fir. We helped put it up last Sunday.
It shines as brightly as ever.
Rose's Blog February 2012
LINK TO NEWSLETTER! http://www.hachettechildrensdigital.co.uk/hilarymckay/
Here I am again! In pink this time. So where did I get up to? Michael bought Caddy a puppy, did I tell you that? Yellow and woolly and when it grows up it will be a labrador. Caddy called it Timmy after Timmy the dog in Famous Five who was so good at finding secret passages and gold ingots and other interesting things. And did I tell you that Buttercup, now aged six, goes to my old school? Well he does. And since it is rather a long drive from the zoo where Caddy and Michael live he often stops at our house, instead of going home. Which is lovely because nearly always Buttercup is my favourite person in the world.
Buttercup is Timmy's favourite person in the world too. Right from the start, Timmy never understood that he was a birthday present for Caddy. Nor did he do any of the gold ingot-secret passage stuff. What Timmy did, from the moment he was unwrapped (yes, Michael wrapped him) was give himself to Buttercup. Utterly and completely. Caddy says if Timmy could answer the question, 'Who are you?' he would say, 'I am Buttercup's.'
Timmy can just about bear Buttercup going to school if Buttercup comes home at night, but when he stops at our house, poor Timmy cannot bear it. He does not eat and he does not sleep. He searches. He tries to dig through doors and floors in order to find Buttercup. We thought it might help if Buttercup telephoned him to reassure him that he was all right. So Buttercup did. 'Hello Tim,' he said. 'I'm at the other house. I'm at Rose's.'
Then the line went dead because at the other end Timmy had become wild with excitement and taken their phone apart. Perhaps he thought he might find Buttercup squashed up small inside it. So telephoning didn't work. Giving him Buttercup's old clothes to cuddle didn't work. Nothing worked.
Coming to live here.
'At my house,' said my friend Molly, 'nothing ever happens. There is Mum and there is me. That's all. Have you still got David?"
'Yes. All the time now, in the attic with his drums.'
'Does your mum still live in the shed?'
'She comes out quite a lot these days.'
'And you dad?'
'Well you know. Zips about. Caddy's zoo have invited him to be artist in residence.'
'Saffron and Sarah and Indigo?'
'Still about. On and off.'
'And now Buttercup and Timmy! Lucky, lucky, lucky you!'
I'm back! I said I wouldn't, yet here I am, with Molly and Kiran peering over my shoulder. 'For when you get stuck,' says Molly. 'Or ridiculous,' says Kiran. They are both right. There is nothing more likely than that I will get stuck or ridiculous, but never mind, here I go:
I am sixteen now. I have been sixteen for two months, and it still doesn't feel real. At school we are supposed to be slaving for exams and choosing subjects we want to study next year. Kiran has so many that she cannot pick between them and I have the opposite problem. That's enough about school.
Tom! That's what everyone asks about! Everyone remembers me and Tom. Me, Tom, Indigo, Frances (that's Tom's little sister). We were friends for a long time and then came Awful Meg.
'Maybe everyone was right about (A) Meg,' admitted Tom to Indigo (on being dumped). 'How's Rose?'
Indigo, who was talking on the phone to Tom, immediately passed this kind enquiry on to me, and I told Tom I was very well thank you and I said, 'Poor Meg. It is never nice when you have to dump people. Why did she do it?'
'She found somebody else,' said Tom gloomily. 'I don't know how.'
'It was probably not difficult,' I said. 'I seem to remember there are quite a lot of people living in New York.' But this helpful explanation just seemed to irritate him.
So that's the Tom news. The Indigo news is that he just cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats and Sarah went to meet him for a surprise at the finish which was such a shock he fell off his bike. Because she was supposed to be in Italy with Saffron.
And Michael bought Caddy a puppy for her birthday and David and Buttercup are still playing drums and Jassy and Juniper are saving up for a motorbike. They have a tin full of pennies. And Mum is in her shed which is state of the art fashion now, full at it is of retro and junk, and Dad was on tv being interviewed about the difference between Art and Vandalism. And he said you could always tell because Art was hard and Vandalism was easy and the studio audience applauded like mad, but he spoilt it a bit by smirking.
And Kiran and Molly have just read this through and Molly said, 'Well done Rose,' and Kiran said, 'You seem to have got away with it this time' and so now I will stop.
Love from Rose