I realised the other day that Maggie's imaginary friends are slowly fading away. If I ask her about them she'll say they're still around (today they're apparently playing in a field) but I've noticed she's mentioning them less and less.
The other two girls had pretend friends for only a fairly short time. Lorna actually had a pretend gran. She appeared shortly after the Queen Mother died and I was forced to hastily explain the truth after Lorna would solemnly announce,
"My gran died. She's buried at Windsor."
After a while she realised there was little fun to be had with an imaginary dead grandmother so quietly brought her to life and regularly regaled us with stories of what she'd been up to with Gran. I'm not sure how long this continued, from what I remember she stopped mentioning her as abruptly as she first talked of her.
Connie had two friends but they put in erratic appearances only. Lion was quite naughty and would be blamed for various acts of mischief,
"Who's unwound all the toilet roll?"
"Lion did it."
The magnificently named Shagalula lived in our back garden and I think was a little girl.
Maggie though has taken imaginary friends to a whole new level. Over the years we have had the following,
Mumby. Later to become Princess Mumby, she appeared when Maggie was about 2 and was a fairly benign presence who used to come with us on days out and sit on my shoulder.
Humpty Hump. Appeared shortly after Mumby, Humpty Hump unsurprisingly fell off things regularly. He came with us on a holiday to Scotland and fell in the water many times. Thankfully he was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand so was easy to rescue.
Mop. He was a mole, she called all moles "mop" but this particular Mop was a friend of Princess Mumby and Humpty Hump. Mop lived in a hole down the road and would join us as we walked past.
Her tail. For a thankfully short time she had an imaginary tail. Imagine the looks shot my way in shops as a small child would exclaim crossly,
"Mummy! You've shut my tail in the door AGAIN!"
Her snail father. He was only spoken of on occasion, was quite strict and indeed was a snail.
John. Her most talked about friend and still around, John's age fluctuates from about 16 to mid-sixties. He is her husband and currently lives on Pluto. He's died a few times, most notably slain at the circus by Tom Daly riding a dinosaur, and killed by a deer that came into his house on Pluto when it didn't have any windows or doors to keep murderous deer out. Fortunately he has Lazurus qualities and comes back to life each time.
Rosie. Rosie is a little girl and friends with John. She is my least favourite friend as she's most insistent as to which chair is hers. She refuses to sit on the awkward to get to chair in the corner and becomes very angry if you dare suggest such a thing.
Little Monster. It will come as no shock to hear he is a monster, luckily a friendly one. Little Monster briefly met an untimely end at the hands of Usain Bolt's evil twin, Utain Bolt. Like John though he has been resurrected and is her second most talked of friend. Being little he needs a lot of looking after.
Bunny Bun. Naturally Bunny Bun is a rabbit and makes up the quartet with John, Rosie and Little Monster. Bunny Bun is the quietest of the four and for this reason probably my favourite.
As she reaches the end of her first year at school I'm aware that it won't be long now before these friends become mere memories. I won't miss their dictatorial tendencies but life will be a bit duller without them.
Are you currently sharing your house with friends you can't see "but they are real"?