“Here you are,” she offers. “There are some instructions on here, as well.”

I take the squirrel somewhat dubiously. We drive home – me, the Toddler, and a squirrel.

“I’m Sammy the Squirrel!” reads the instruction sheet. “It is all dark and lonely at nursery at the weekends. Please take me home and look after me!”

I glare at the squirrel. It looks back at me with beady buttony eyes. The Toddler strokes its label, absent-mindedly.

“Please will you write in my special book about what I’ve done with your family, drawing pictures or adding photos,” the sheet continues.

I look at the squirrel. I look at the Toddler. She is two years old now, and still very backward in her essay constructions. In fact all she can really do is draw butterflies – odd GM-mutated ones that just look like zig zag lines. I doubt that she will be able to write a ‘what we did on our holidays – me and squirrel’ piece.

I have not been given homework for coming up for twenty years now, and to be honest I had hoped to have left all that stuff behind me. Now I have to write the bloody ‘Diary of a Nobody’ in vermin form. It sits on the table, clearly looking forward to a few days of adventure and excitement – unfortunately I then completely forget about it and resort to taking a couple of snatched photos of it in the pub.

This does not happen to Martin Amis.

40 thoughts on “The lady hands me a squirrel.

  1. gently steaming yak says:

    private secret squirrel?
    maybe not.

  2. Mr Wibble says:

    We all know What Happens When Fluffy Animal Toys Are Sent Home To Make Stories, don’t we?…

  3. Blossom says:

    At least you weren’t in charge of the live variety of nursery pet (budgie, guinea-pig…).
    It would have been much more tragic, and with much worse fall-out on Monday if you’d forgotten all about it for the weekend & returned it deceased.

  4. Gimli says:

    Grey or Red. If grey, I know a nice recipe…

  5. If only you had some experience in writing such things.

    A bit like the “Were you a member of the German Nazi party from 1933-1945?” question on the US immigration form, this is just a cheap and easy trap for social services to boost their taking into care quotas. So, photographic subjects to avoid:

    – Sammy in satanic ritual.
    – Sammy with any drugs paraphernalia in the background.
    – Anything else that may suggest that the Toddler is not getting a great upbringing – eg banjo, chickens, Short Tony…

  6. Brennig says:

    Have you no backbone? It’s not your homework, it’s The Toddler’s.

    Just plonk her in a corner, give her the raw materials to do the job and set a respectable time limit for her to do it in. By all means offer periodic words of constructive advice, but the project’s not yours to do! This is why children are out of control thugs. All because parents spoon-feed them their homework and don’t force the little darlings to stand up on their own two feet. Oh yes. It’s true you know. Absolutely. 🙂

  7. Richard says:

    Including of course “Sammy’s missing 48 hours in the village pub”.

    Oh dear, Jonny.

  8. Katy Newton says:

    I don’t have children, myself, but I don’t think you need to have children yourself to know that if your daughter’s nursery is full of squirrels you should be moving her to a new nursery.

  9. sablonneuse says:

    The Toddler gets homework???!!!
    What kind of a sweatshop are you sending her to?
    Just take a few a photos of the squirrel with its paws round a pint (preferably tipping at an angle and I think you’ll find that’s the last time they send any furry creatures home with you again.

  10. The school bear came on holiday with us once … passport and all. It was a source of much anxiety in case he got mislaid.

  11. Pat says:

    Where does the time go to? I can’t believe it’s two years. And she’s drawing butterflies- never mind if they are a bit ragged – you should see my daffodils – who eats daffodils?
    Of course it must be a red squirrel and you must be a good Daddy and rise to the occasion.
    Blogland expects…

  12. JonnyB says:

    I have a photo of it drinking wine. That will stop this tomfoolery.

    I mean, as if I don’t have ENOUGH ect ect

  13. Mr Angry says:

    Be honest, you’re very much looking forward to writing the Squirrels account of it’s weekend with the Billericays.

    It will be nice for you to get some feedback, in person, rather than via weirdos over the Interweb.

    “Here’s Squirrels account of the weekend, all present and correct.”

    “Thanks Mr Billericay.”

    “Oh. Are you not going to read it now then? I just thought….”

  14. JonnyB says:

    Yes. They’d better fucking leave comments.

  15. lettsy says:

    Anyway, how’s the new phone?

  16. zed says:

    How long do you have to look after the squirrel for? Just the weekend? Thank god my kids never came home from their crêche with a squirrel and homework – I would have lost the damn animal for a start.

  17. Brom says:

    I see it as an an obvious outlet for your dray sense of humour.

  18. NAGA - Potty Training Services says:

    I know just how, The Toddler, feels.

    Butterflies are not easy.

    Why not encourage her to write something by example! “We Take The Squirrel Shopping….in a shop. The End.”

  19. clarissa says:

    Maybe the squirrel can guest write the ivate secret dia from time to time?

  20. guyana-gyal says:

    You can always make excuses as to why the squirrel didn’t do his homework.

  21. Fanto says:

    If the nursery thinks The Toddler capable of filling in the book then maybe they know something you don’t. She could be a child genius with this squirrel project simply being the thin end of the wedge, leading you to a lifetime of chess match attendance and pushy parentalism.

    Have some faith in your offspring Johnny. She may have inherited LTLP’s brains …

  22. AndrewM says:

    Hide squirrel in LTLP’s pants drawer.

    Await results.

    Write blog.

    Publish book.

    Earn ££££££££££££££.

  23. JonnyB says:

    I shall ring the Friday project people right away!!!

    I am stuck. It’s much more difficult than writing this. I have already eaten some nuts to get into the method, but there’s no inspiration.

  24. josephine says:

    Surely it should be hibernating at this time of year? Get the Toddler to write a couple of ZZZZzzzzzz’s or the odd BBBRRRRrrrrrr and explain it spent the entire weekend cuddled up next to the hot water tank eating the cladding (or at least that’s what our squirrels seem to do in winter).

  25. JonnyB says:

    Hullo josephine – your comment got sent to the spam pile for some reason, so sorry for the delay in publishing it.

  26. Grumpy B says:

    Just write a piece “How I got rogered by the rabbit” and that will be last homework they send your way.

  27. Sophie says:

    “Sorry, Miss, the squirrel ate my homework …”

  28. Some opening lines for you:

    “I eat a nut!!!”

    “I build a drey!!!”

    “The other squirrels laugh at my pink phone!!!”

  29. Z says:

    As I started reading, I really did think you were going to have to cook and eat it.

    I agree with Brennig. It’s the Toddler’s homework, not yours. If you do it for her now, where will that leave you when she’s 11 and you can’t understand Latest Maths.

    If you feel you have to do something, then I concur with Sablonneuse.

  30. Is a squirrel a new kind of phone? Does one talk to the tail? Bet I can guess where you stick the batteries.

    Best not let it near a blog unattended if I were you, Jonny. We know how you are when you roll back from the pub in an amorous mood, what with you being too scared to wake the LTLP and all. It’ll just be endless posts about crusty fur, feelings of shame and humiliation, and begging for the sweet sweet release of death. No-one needs that on a Monday morning…

  31. guyana-gyal says:

    Draw lots of sqiggly lines. Tell the teacher it’s Squirrelese [squirrel language].

  32. guyana-gyal says:

    …uh…squiggly lines…

  33. NAGA - Potty Training Services says:

    You have eaten the Squirrel’s nuts?!

    Is this a delicacy in Norfolk?

  34. Duck says:

    Shave its fur off and give it a tattoo. That should guarantee they don’t entrust you with any further nursery pets.

    Or, as you pay them to look after Toddler, present them with a bill for looking after the squirrel.

  35. Splang says:

    Diary of a Squirrel

    Gerrymandered into new home by small girl and overweight rubbernecker. Surely this guy isn’t local? Left on kitchen table to observe disturbing pink-phone usage. Overall, a worse experience than that notorious squirrel-exchange program with those French toads. Be glad to get home.

  36. Dr J says:

    “This does not happen to Martin Amis.”

    And his work is all the poorer for it.

  37. beth says:

    “This does not happen to Martin Amis.”

    Also, no one in their right mind would entrust a squirrel to Martin Amis.

  38. panu says:

    do not worry. The squirrel is active only after nightfall.

    Martin Amis has Kingsley Amis to think about.

  39. ewe_are_here says:

    If my 2 year old ever comes home with homework I’m pulling him out of schoool.

    Just sayin’.

  40. JonnyB says:

    Hullo ewe-are-here and welcome!!! But then I would have to look after her.

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