LONDON’S cathedral-like avenues of plane trees are now weeping their leaves, the evenings have drawn in and the first frost is in the air. Autumn closes in at last. The family, however, finds itself struggling to cope with the changing season. Searching out winter clothes for the children has revealed that nearly everything in the wardrobe is either too small or threadbare to use. Their evident gratification at the prospect of so many new clothes is in exact proportion to the despair of their parents.
Meanwhile, a school letter has announced an infestation of head lice. Sure enough, a short search revealed quite impressive numbers of the nasty little things. By way of a response, we set to work washing all the linen in the house and submitted the children to long sessions of hair combing with oil. They were a little horrified to be victims of parasites, a word they clearly associate with very exotic and dramatic creatures indeed. I tried to calm them by explaining that nits had been a feature of my childhood, too. I’m not sure they believed me. It seemed beyond their imagination that their bald father ever had a thick head of hair and the question hovered uncomfortably: where could the nits possibly have lived? JG