As ever, Prog Rock comes bearing gifts.
For the CFO, a CD of the most eardrum torturing modern jazz. It makes me feel nauseous after about 10 seconds. The CFO loves it.
For Lashes, a fart whistle and a kit to build a small meccano style motorbike. Lashes decides to make a robot from it and spends the rest of the evening rapt.
For Fingers, an alien in an egg.
For me, two bags of self-raising flour, a Bettys cake, Heat, Grazia and Easy Living. But most precious, a memory stick with two ancient recordings on it - me aged 2 talking to my mum, and the same for the Space Cadette.
I listened to them this morning with a little trepidation. I wasn't sure if it might be sad, but it's not, really. It's sweet and funny and strange. I have a Yorkshire accent - not sure where that went - and she sounds WAY more Scottish than I remember, and a little Joyce Grenfell. Odd. Touching.
The Crazed Fantasist
M: So was baby Dean at Joanies today?
M: And what did he do?
M: Anything else?
M: What did Joanie do when he went waa waa?
E: Smacked him
M: Never! What did he have for his lunch?
E: Vitamin C
M: Are you sure? Is that all? Did Dean have anything else but vitamin C for his lunch?
M: Not a bottle of milk?
E: No, medicine and vitamin C.
Plus ça change
M: And what did the three bears have for breakfast?
M: What did you like best at Granny's?
And this one:
If only I had I'd be a damn millionaire
M: So what job are you going to do when you grow up?
E: I'm going to be a plumber.
M: Are you sure? Last week you said you wanted to be a farmer.
E: No, I want to be an engine driver this week
Apart from that, you will be unsurprised to hear we mainly discuss Jammy Dodgers, cake, and chocolate buttons. A shell I have apparently stolen from one of her friends; the topic treated very delicately by my mum ("I spoke to Julia and told her that Emma is very sorry but she seems to have taken her shell by mistake"). And at one point there's a really sweet exchange where I say, graciously, "I like you, Mummy" and she says "I like you too Emma". It was rather lovely. My sister is mainly preoccupied with singing about Little Lord Jesus. I'm not sure quite what happened to that, but then she did go to the crazy speaking in tongues Christian camp with her cousins one year, I suppose.
There was one very peculiar moment, when I had opened another window to write an email with the audio file on in the background and was only half listening, when my mum's voice said "Emma?" in a questioning tone and it was absolutely like she was in the room trying to get my attention. I think I'd listen to it again and again, just for that moment.