It was a too hot summer afternoon, so I had taken toddler Ava into a shady patch of the lower garden. We sat on the grass, in the dappled shadow of an oak tree which rose up over the reminds of the old family chapel.
Whilst Ava played with some of her toys, I looked at the fallen stone walls and large pieces of stone decor. It was hard to imagine what the chapel had once looked like but I had seen some photos and though it had been small it had been a splendid place.
On the other side of the chapel, out of sight down a sloping hill and nested around three willow trees, was the family cemetery. Every Bartlett was buried there and when her time came, Ava would be too.
I on the other hand, just a nanny, would be buried in the village church graveyard where all the other past servants of Bartlett Manor where.
‘Look! What’s it!’ Ava cried.
I turned, frowning and saw the three year old pointing to one of the decorative stones. Picking her up, we went for a closer look.
Crowding into the nooks of what might have been a corner stone of the outside ceiling with a now moss covered leave like pattern on it, with hundreds of small ladybirds.
Ava squealed and tried to stick her fingers into the crawling mass. I grabbed her hand and pulled it back.
‘They are only baby ladybirds,’ I explained.
‘Lay-d-burs,’ Ava tried to pronounce.
I laughed at her and clapped her hands together as I sang;
Fly away home,
Your house is on fire
And your children all gone;
All except one
And that’s little Ann,
And she has crept under
The warming pan.’
We laughed together then carried on watching the ladybirds.
‘What lay-d-burs doing?’ Ava asked.
‘Napping. Like you should be doing,’ I replied.
Ava pulled a face and began to make a fuss. I quickly settled her down on the picnic blanket and started to read some fairy tales to her.
The heat and tiredness got to her and she was soon asleep.
(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/06/06/thursday-photo-prompt-choices-writephoto/ with thanks).
Ladybird nursery rhyme quote from; https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46960/ladybird-ladybird