Mum and Great-grandma murmur in the sitting room; discussing the doings of relatives I've never met, and I have been released to the ticking quiet of the kitchen. Ducking beneath the huge scrubbed wood table and hemmed in by cream painted chair legs, I dive into my world. Here I sit cross-legged; a gangly little girl in hand-me-down clothes amid a scatter of paper and colouring pencils.
The chair legs are my granite castle walls, the metal hull of my spaceship or the moss covered trees of a fairy glen. This is a place of brave knights on white chargers. In this world I navigate my starship through asteroid fields or prance with a fairy king and his woodland court.
My pencils fly over the page. Here I am a tall and willowy elf maiden with golden tresses and shimmering wings. On the next sheet, a capable and determined rocket pilot or the crisply uniformed nurse bathing the brow of her injured adventurer. Other pages show a velvet gowned princess with pointed hat and veil, or a diminutive prima ballerina, twirling on daintily slippered feet, in a ruff of pink tulle and sequins.
Beyond the palisade of legs is a world of sums and spelling tests.
Of, "Listen but don't tell."
Of, "Can't afford."
Of, "Sit up straight."
But here under Gaggi's kitchen table is the magical world of, "Yes!"