"These are my temporary shoes," chimed Bernard, with a swish of a hand towards his footwear.
Polly regarded Bernard's shoes, then his face, then the shoes once more. Words didn't often fail Polly Waterson, and they wouldn't now.
After a momentary pause she bent down to Bernard's level and said, "they suit you, Bernard, they really do. But why are you wearing temporary shoes?"
Bernard looked at her like she was daft. Perhaps she was, Bernard contemplated.
"Becoz of our Carly's baby. That's why they are temporary."
Bernard smiled politely. Explaining stuff to old people was hard.
"Oh, I see," Polly mused, unsatisfied with the partial picture.
Perhaps there was gossip to be had. Polly was good with gossip, but extracting it from this particular 6 year old might require some cunning.
"And how is Carly?"
"Same as before. But not fat, what with the baby coming out of her bottom."
Bernard didn't want to go in to detail really, but he figured although Ms Waterson didn't have any babies of her own she probably knew where they came from. Thinking about bottoms, he stiffled a snigger.
"And the baby?" asked Polly.
"I don't know. It's a girl."
Bernard was starting to regret showing off his temporary shoes now. All these questions. It was like being in the head master's office after he accidentally punched Peter for being a moron.
"Look," Bernard said as he wiggled his feet around in the shoes.
Polly grimaced through a smile, and decided a different tactic.
"And your parents, I bet they're excited about the new baby," Polly asked, looking behind Bernard to see if Anna or Karl, Bernard's parents, were nearby.
"Dunno. Dad's collecting Carly from the hospital and Mum 'as gone shopping. Aunty Rita's looking after me."
"Ah, to get something nice for her grand-daughter?" asked Polly. She was hoping to end the conversation soon, deciding there was no gossip to be had at 17 Beach Road.
"No, for me," Bernard said.
Polly was stumped. No gossip, no sign of a baby to snoop at. Just a little boy seemingly pleased with his temporary shoes, and she didn't even know why he was wearing those. No more beating about the bush, Polly opted for a straight question.
"What's mummy buying you at the shops?"
"New Shoes," Bernard beamed. "Carly's baby water broke over mine and they were wrecked, so that's why I'm wearing temporary shoes. Bye!"
With that Bernard clumped towards his front door in his Dad's size 10 shoes, temporarily stopping to negotiate the front step in his temporary footwear.