Janet Christie: ‘It says 1901-1910, so he was just a young kid. Didn’t live long. Shame’

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There’s a no-man’s-land where adults and teenagers occasionally meet for a Christmas Day ceasefire and connect – watching the footie, or when they discover Iggy Pop, but for the rest of the time, we inhabit parallel universes, talk a different language.

Middle Child is sliding out of the front door. I pounce.

“Where are you going?”

“To meet my friends,” he says. “At the statue of the kid in the park.”

Aha! Got him. There is no statue of a kid in the park.

“The kid in the park? The only statue in the park is Edward VII,” I say.

“Yes, that’s him. Edward Something.”

“He’s not a kid.”

“Yeah, he was. The dates say 1901-1910, so he was just a young kid. Didn’t live long. Shame.”

“No,” I say, “1901 to 1910 was when he …”

“Was alive. But he died young and they musn’t have had any kids to pose for the statue so they just used an old guy. Seems strange, but … whatever …” He shrugs, as so often …

“No,” I say, then slowly, “1901 to 1910 was when he reigned. He didn’t get to be king until his mother died. He was old by then.”

“Aw … Aw… really? Me and my friends have always wondered ... Now it makes sense. I’ll tell them.”

“No wait! There must be other stuff you’ve been wondering …”

But he’s gone.

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