I bet mattresses aren't slippery in Timbuktu.
'Salina came out of her room and saw it was raining. She doesn't get to go cycling when it rains.
I wonder if it rains in Timbuktu?
'Salina's aunt was visiting, but she had come in too late for 'Salina to see her last night, was leaving too early for it to be a real visit and she didn't bring her children. 'Salina loves her aunt - but her aunt's children are excellent fun to play with.
'Salina's mother forgot to buy tomatoes. This meant 'Salina didn't get tomato on her breakfast toast.
I bet mothers in Timbuktu never forget tomatoes.
'Salina's mother also nearly forgot to remind her to finish her homework she didn't finish the day before. Unfortunately she remembered. 'Salina did her homework really quickly, but 'Salina's mother asked to see it. 'Salina's mother had issues with her neatness, especially on the times table, and asked 'Salina to redo it when she got to school.
Unfortunately 'Salina forgot.
'Salina's mother was in tuckshop today. 'Salina asked her mother to go to assembly because 'Salina likes her mother to go to assembly. When at assembly 'Salina's mother saw 'Salina's teacher and they discussed neatness and the room for improvement the team of 'Salina's mother, 'Salina's teacher, V and hopefully 'Salina herself were hoping would be made this term.
It is a very big room.
When 'Salina went to visit her mother before little lunch for her fruit salad, her mother was at the office. When 'Salina went to get her little lunch, her mother was busy and didn't make a fuss. When 'Salina couldn't find her friends at big lunch and came to visit her mother, her mother only offered her left over yoghurt and fruit salad and wouldn't give her crackers and cheesesticks.
'Salina even got in trouble for chattering while her mother was counting. And she was only meaning to help.
When 'Salina got off the bus in the pouring rain, her mother was waiting at the top step of their house one door away. 'Salina told her mother it would have been nicer to have been met with an umbrella at the bus door. 'Salina's mother laughed when she agreed, but she didn't turn back time.
In Timbuktu I bet all mothers have the power to turn back time.
'Salina asked her mother and V is she could call Girl Down the Road and go and play there. 'Salina got asked to tidy her room for 20 minutes first. 'Salina told her mother Girl Down the Road's father was going to pick her up in an hour and THAT WASN'T FAIR. 'Salina's mother said it was raining and she had to tidy her room for at least 20 minutes and she might be able to talk to Girl Down the Road for a bit at the end of that. 'Salina shot a look of death at her mother that V intercepted. V asked for an explanation for the look and 'Salina told V that she didn't send the look of death at him. V said that was not the point. 'Salina cried.
After 10 minutes, 'Salina's mother checked to find out if 'Salina had used her time wisely to make the sort of decisions she could be proud of. 'Salina had not. Instead, she had chosen to take the bedding off the bed again and form a crying cocoon of dramatic intensity.
Children in Timbuktu would have been proud of the crying cocoon of dramatic intensity. 'Salina's mother was not.
'Salina used her next 15 minutes to increase the volume of dramatic intensity from the crying cocoon, but 'Salina's mother and V failed to pay any attention what so ever.
'Salina finally spent 3 minutes tidying her floor and asked her mother and V to inspect. 'Salina's mother and V were not so impressed that they waxed lyrical. 'Salina's mother asked her to empty her school bag. The first thing to come out of her bag was her homework.
'Salina's mother and V were very unimpressed with the homework not being handed in.
I bet mother's and V's wouldn't even notice homework in Timbuktu.
'Salina then started cleaning her room. She bent down to pick something up from the floor and hit her ear. She is sure the upper part of her ear will be very bruised by the encounter, but at least mum tickled the bruise away with a kiss.
After her room was tidied to a level where it passed a lowered-bar inspection, 'Salina's mother made her write out her homework
'Salina thinks she will remember to put her
Either that or she will send her homework to Timbuktu.
* For my continental guests, yes, I know the Judith Viorst classic refers to Australia in your version, but as we are already there the publishers decided on Timbuktu for the antipodean print.
Oh, and for those of you who belong to the "prevention of 'Salina abuse for doing the things her mother did when she was a child" society - its okay, Mum, she is smiling now.
Oh, and for those of you who want to join the above society and think I am one mean mother - will the fact she is having Fish and Chips and Salad for dinner placate you?