• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 04
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Emergency Nanny got the call late last night – she needs to fill in for busy-mum-of-two who has to get on with the important work she conducts in a small-town cafe – long hours at the computer face, emails about documents and clients, phone calls to discuss the difficulty of sourcing the best gifts for goody-bags. Emergency Nanny is striding out to save the day – she’s wearing her uniform in suffragette colours, her cape a huge purple wing to speed her over the pass between the mountains, broad-brimmed hat to shelter her eyes from the glare of sun on snow. The sky is watery, striated yellow and orange. it is early – Nanny always rises early – and she is on her way as the sun breaks over the peaks that surround her tiny refuge of a home.

She’d rather stay here in her retreat, closeted and comforted by snow, no sound but the heavy silence of the mountains in their winter weight, where all shadows are green as her dress and buttoned boots. Here she has a well-stocked larder and a well-tended fire and her desk with a view. But another desperate city parent is willing to pay whatever it takes and this job will buy her another month or so in her hideaway. No fly-in, this nanny – and don’t mention Mary Poppins – this is just a means to an end. She’s a sturdy walker; this journey clears her thoughts and puts cherries in her cheeks as she hikes down into the valley, heading back to suburban streets. Sometimes she wonders why she ever signed up to this agency, to these short-notice demands on her time. But it is easy money, and it pays well.

She knows she’ll get no thanks from these parents who put their children down as shareholders in their business start-ups, their property companies, their entrepreneurial schemes. As she walks she smiles to think of these busy people tap-tap-tapping away at their keyboards, missing all the good stuff, this early morning sunshine, the snow puffing around ankles, soft and dry, how surprisingly warm the air is when the snow settles.



She knows that this trip will pay for time to watch the skies and the trees and the seasons, time to write another chapter on the semi-fictional life of a nanny, a sideways view of city life with a philosophical, naturalistic bent.

Yes, she tells herself as she measures her stride, picks up the pace a little, thinking in handspans and footfalls; yes, she’s pretty much getting the balance right.