[Pre – holiday in England]
We return from the garden centre. I am full of beans. [translation = ready to plant]
My son is wasted. [translation = American term meaning excessively tired, as opposed to the English, term meaning inebriated.] I took him with me as he doesn’t react quite as violently as his brother does to this kind of trip. Spouse cared for the other two.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am entirely delighted that my two severely speech delayed boys now talk, it’s just that the thought processes behind the production of those words, is still far too fast and complex for me to understand. More often than not, I tie myself up in knots. [translation = intractable ones]
My son collapses of the floor like the deflated balloon that he is, together with matching sound effects. [translation = shopping is exhausting for him]
“Whatcha got mom?” asks his sister with enthusiasm.
“Ooo I bought loads of lovely things just look!”
“Gee but you were only gone half an hour!”
“Really, it seems sooooooo much longer. [translation = ten minutes drive there, 3 minutes choosing, 7 minutes queuing, paying and packing, 10 minutes drive home] Anyway, now we have to decide what to put where? Want to help?”
“So you remember the vine that died on one side of the arbors because of the frost?”
“Well, should we replace it with this glossy Jackmanii, or this smouldering Stephanotis?”
Junior appears in the kitchen, “what you do! Plantings are in dah garden not in dah house! Dirty!”
“They'll be in the garden soon enough, we just have to decide which one to put where? Do you want to help?”
“NO! I am hating dah gardin and I am hating dah plants also.”
“Fair enough.” He hovers close by, brewing.
I reconnect with my daughter. “So what do you think?”
“I love that velvety purple, that will look lovely next to the other three white ones on the back fence.” I pause. Two arches. Three vines. Three white vines.
“Hmm, maybe we had better put the Stephanotis there then they'll all be white, and they'll all be scented which will be lovely when you're sitting there.”
Junior buts in, “what it is, 'assorted'?”
“Um, various, mixed, that sort of thing.”
“Why you are calling him Jack den?”
“Because that's what he….er, it is. It is a Clematis Jackmanii, it's Latin, named after the chappy that bred him, er…. it…..I think.”
“What rhyme it is?”
“Yes. What be rhyming wiv Jackmanii?”
“Jackmanii, Jack boy e i, Jill girl e i, e i e i o e i!”
“That'll do nicely, well done.”
“He is ancient?”
“Who, er who is ancient?”
“Well, he…it’s probably got a couple of years growth I suppose.”
“A couple is two!”
“Yes, that’s right, good boy.”
“You said he was ancient.”
“Did I?” As usual I have completely lost the thread of this conversation.
“Yes, you said he was Latins. Latins is ancient too, he cannot be only two.”
“Oh, yes, I see what you mean. Breeders give plants Latin names so that everyone in the world can understand them. It’s a common language. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, everyone……understands……Latin.” I peter to a halt anticipating an onslaught of additional questions that I am surely unable to answer. However, to my surprise, he seems completely satisfied with this response. I turn to my daughter again, who has waited patiently [again] throughout.
“So, shall we make a start? Find the fork?”
Junior has been cogitating for a few minutes.
“But he is not a Jack, he is a 'patio plant,'” he spits twanging the elastic of the label.
“He's a patio plant too. A plant can be more than one thing. Just like you! You're masculine, a scholar, a chanters, a lyricist, an American, a fleet of foot, a Brit, a feline friend, a chocolate connoisseur, a jester, lots of different things all at the same time, all rolled up into one little boy.” I stop my brief list. I wonder if he can translate all those terms. Should I have used simpler language? I wait for him to process. Why do I keep doing that? Using too many words?
“I not little,” he asserts after a brief pause.
“True, you’re quite big now.” I wait a bit longer….reminding myself of the discrepancy between his receptive and expressive language skills. [translation = understands what comes in but can’t necessarily come out with the right words]
“What it is ……'a Brit'?” [translation = oh no, tragedy!]
We will be in England in less than three weeks. Pass me the Globe!