Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Adventures in babysitting

Babysitting was not a lucrative gig when I was younger.  Getting a house to myself for an evening, eating loads of crisps, biscuits and chocolate and squirting perfume everywhere were the perks for me. The scents 'L'air Du Temps' by Nina  Ricci and 'Anais Anais' by Cacharel will always remind me of babysitting.
I liked Julie's house, it was really clean and neat, a few things let it down though. I never got used to seeing an A2 sized portrait of Julie staring all misty eyed at me from above the fireplace. Soft-focus, feather boa, perm, coral lipstick, pearl necklace (need I go on?). The rabbit wallpaper in Callum's  room was the stuff of fly agaric mushroom nightmares too, horror film style.
Julie was a single mum, on the lookout for love, her son Callum's was 2 when I started babysitting.
Callum had the deepest ginger hair, he was pale and chubby, had little speech and ate only dry, cold foods. It took a while for me to get to know him, but over the years I became quite fond of him.  AC/DC videos were always playing when I arrived, with Callum hoofing up and down the living room clutching an inflatable red guitar.
It always took ages to get Callum  to sleep, in Julie's bed with a dummy in his mouth, one in his hand and a satin nightie in the other for comfort. I don't think he ever slept right through either, I would turn around to see him standing on a stair, staring into space, silent. Looking back, I wonder how  I wasn't too spooked to carry on.
Julie found love after around a year, and the babysitting dried up. I would see her in town looking miserable, fatter and bored. A few years later they split up. Babysitting resumed. Julie lost weight, seemed to be having fun again, and a youthful aura surrounded her.
Julie found love again, and I didn't see her or Callum again, until recently. Julie looked bored, fatter and miserable. Callum was at least 6ft, and seemed a happy 20+ year old.

I wonder what happened on those nights out, and if the thrill of the chase was better than catching the prey?


  1. It quite often was, as I remember (from nights out in general I mean). Any allure the blokes in 'Mama Mia's' (famous Pontardawe 'nitespot' back in the day - dunno if you know it) might have had from across the dancefloor usually evaporated once they'd spilt Stella on you and gone in for a smoky snog...

  2. Tangent - do you realise that all your favourite books listed on your profile involve food? And I include Not Now Bernard, as he is in fact eaten by the monster.

  3. Ooh, well spotted! Coincidentally, I was just reading Scarlett's blog asking what books people are currently reading. I am incredibly ashamed to say I have only tread about 3 books in as many years! I think I'll check out that book swap link you suggested. I too speed read when I do get into a book, so does my dad. I also speed eat, speed bath and walk very fast.
    Ii do love children's books though, and must be the only person who never tired of reading Green Eggs and Ham 10 times per day to an Autistic boy who loved it. 'A train, a train, a train, a train'... masterpiece!

  4. I always wanted to get in the baby sitting thing as my friends always made loads of money doing it but there was no one with any little uns near me. It must be quite strange seeing the kids you babysat all grown up! Scarlett x


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