Like the Clappers

‘Who are the Clappers?’

‘No Mum, I said the girls are working like the clappers,’

‘Aha. I thought you said there was someone coming over called the Clappers.’

I shook my head. ‘You taught me the saying. Working like the Clappers.’

I love calling my mum during her seemingly endless lockdown. She’d just been napping on the sofa while it snowed outside in West London.

Here in Bonaire, it was an English school day. Well, it started off at 6:30am as a Maths school day with live lessons, but it had evolved to English by 11am. That’s because the week before half-term, there are lots of homework assignments to hand in – including English homework. Don’t get too excited. I’m very excited.

Delph’s class has been working on Homer’s The Odyssey this term. Delphine was given the task to write a travel article from two locations in the epic tale. She chose Troy as her first location to write about – sitting inside Odysseus’ wooden horse. For her second location, she chose Hades the Underworld. Hades was particularly easy to access; Delph decided our travel writer died in the Battle of Troy.

In the meantime, Lu also had a creative writing assignment. Unusual for Lu; she doesn’t get these kinds of assignments often enough, I think. Mainstream school doesn’t offer English Language A level either, only English Literature. Lu chose English Lit as one of her options next year for A level. She’ll spend her time reading and analysing text, but not writing it. Shame man. And because she wasn’t used to it, it was a bit hard to get into her writing work today.

Lucky Delph was there. She yelled, ‘Everyone shut up! I’m trying to use the dictate button on the computer.’

Oh ok. We stopped talking and waited for a sentence to emerge from Delphine – converted straight into text. Delph likes using this dictation tool.

She leaned into the screen. Pressed the keyboard. Said slowly, ‘Ex-ce-llent.’

We wrinkled our noses. ‘That was it? Eggssellent? That was worth all of us shutting up?

She yelled, ‘Keep quiet! All of you!’

I love these writing days. I really do,

Lu had to choose from a number of different options for her task. She could write a short story with the title, ‘The Meeting’. Or she could start with, ‘Suddenly, there was a power cut.’ We back and forthed on this.

Jack got involved too. His ensuing idea had the element of Bitcoin in it. Strangely, this suggestion was discounted. I liked the idea of the power cut statement being part of a running dialogue. Even more strangely, this idea wasn’t taken up. Nope, eventually Lu did her own thing. This is where the Clappers kicked in. The girls worked solidly until 3pm.

Lu did pause once and ask to see Delph’s list of personality adjectives downloaded from her English class.

‘Where’s the word toxic?’ she said, skimming down the page.

‘Next to beautiful and interesting,’ I said, chuckling. I couldn’t help it.

Lu frowned. ‘It is?’

‘No, Lu. I don’t think toxic is on that list.’

She looked up. ‘Oh ok. I’ll just use poisonous instead.’

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