Blanche Pepper’s tantrum, Thomas Tanbrit’s tears

Thursday 12 February 2015

During the late-morning school-run, I don’t notice that Mrs CM has parked alongside the Old Man’s front side lawn until she returns to the car, alone. She is carrying a water-bottle and a slim, pink-and-blue box with a handle — both items she is holding with her left hand. At a running pace she passes Vinnie’s house (on the roadway, not on the pavement), crosses the street, and reaches the driver’s door of her car. Mrs CM’s hair is brown; it is of neck length, and parted in the centre. Her anorak is open.

When Belle and Blanche are alongside the lower part of the school-house garden, and moments later when they are are alongside the Efords’ driveway and are about to cross the road, I see that Belle is wearing her grey-back coat; it is wide open, revealing a medium-purple crew-neck top. Belle clearly wants to take hold of Blanche’s right hand in her own left hand. Blanche tries to evade her mother’s grasp, and her face (especially her mouth) makes it clear that she is momentarily throwing a borderline tantrum. She seems about to charge across the road on her own — but Belle grabs her by the right forearm or right hand, and they cross the road at a fairly steady pace. Contrary to my expectation, Blanche doesn’t look put out when they are crossing the road.
At the car, Belle lifts Blanche in at the nrd. She then leans in, and stays leaning in for some while — she is strapping Blanche in, and talking with her. Today, Belle is wearing big ear-rings.
Mrs Bronstein is approaching from uphill, with the push-chair. Belle notices that she is approaching, and, with one hand on the top of the door-frame, closes the nrd to let Mrs Bronstein past. The two women don’t say anything to each other, but their encounter is quite amicable. (A similar encounter took place during my last visit, but with Mrs Tanbrit playing the rôle of Mrs Bronstein.)

During the afternoon school-run, Mrs Oldgreen and Minnie get into their new car which is parked alongside the upper part of the school-house garden.
Mr Tanbrit carries Thomas to the school, past Belle’s car and Mrs Daniels’ car. I can hear Thomas crying, and his face is reddened — he is dressed in red, also. When the Tanbrits return on the same stretch of pavement, Tessa is in the lead by a couple of paces. Thomas is on foot, outboard of Mr Tanbrit and slightly behind him. Thomas’s right hand is held in his father’s left hand. Thomas isn’t crying, and looks calm or acquiescent — in fact he seems a rather serious tot.
When Mrs PP returns to her car with the children, I notice that she looks tired, even worn-out. No doubt she feels ready for the half-term holiday. Her daughter is wearing a red anorak with white polka-dots; as the PPs ascend past the Ports’ house, the girl looks up at her mother, bright-eyed and rather wide-eyed. The boy’s anorak is open at the front, and nearly falling off his shoulders at the back. The PPs return to their car, which is parked alongside the Old Man’s garden-gate

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