Homework - a story for grown-ups

7.09 a.m.  Ellie is on an ice floe, her arm around the neck of a polar bear. Her parents are floating away on another floe. She tries calling out to them, but is unable to make a sound. She is terrified. She holds the bear closer to herself. The creature turns to her and speaks.

7.10 Its voice is that of the DJ on the station to which her radio alarm is set. She lies still in bed, looking around her bedroom, relishing the place and things she knows that bring comfort.

7.16  Her mother is using the hair dryer. Ellie fumes silently, 'Why couldn't she just rub her hair with a towel, instead of wasting energy? How stupid can you get? But try reasoning with them!'

7.19  Ellie does not flush the toilet. 'Why won't they have a water meter put in? Then they'd think twice.'

7.23  She looks at herself in the bathroom mirror and decides: 'I look like Mum. I am ugly. I shall live all my life on my own - in a flat with solar panels and a water meter.

7.26  She washes in as little water as she can.

7.30  When brushing her teeth, she ensures that she does not leave the water running.

7.35  Ellie bemoans having a school blouse that  has been bleached. She resolves that when she is living in her sustainable home on a hill, she will buy clothes of unbleached cotton.

7.45  Ellie eats untoasted bread in silence, watching her mother burn two slices of toast, throw them in the binandthen insert more in the electric toaster.

7.51  Ellie's mother turns on the washing machine and goes upstairs.

7.52  Ellie switches off the machine, resets it to a cold wash and restarts it.