Jaqui's Daily Blog

I can't imagine, for the life of me, why Nanni thought it was a good idea. But then, that's Nannis for you, if you have one of your own you will know exactly what I mean.

 

This is Faris, by the way, Blogger Extraordinaire on account of my Fearless Opinions. Don't just take my word for it, Nanni tells me that lots of people tell her they really enjoy my musings on the occasions when I take over the Blog. Almost all my fans mention my Fearless Opinions of which, as you know, I have a great many.

 

I did have a bit of an argument this morning with The Twinkles (Tala the Diva and Lilia the Crazy One) because they both felt qualified to write today's Blog. As they both pointed out, in their incomparable way (incomparable as in annoying) they, too, were there. I have noticed that they are both getting ideas above their station. I am, after all, the Big Brother while they are the Little Sisters. They say that if you add their ages together then collectively they are older than I am but I am not having any of it. It's just another Twin Thing as far as I'm concerned.

 

Oh, by the way, I know which school I will be going to in September. It was the one I would have chosen anyway. Mummy says they won't know what's hit them, come September. I really don't know what she is talking about. Apparently before I go to school, my teacher will come to see me at home. I have to put together a box of things I am particularly interested in so that we - as in the teacher and I - can talk about them. I am planning to fill my box with dinosaurs so that I can test out whether my teacher knows a Tyrannosaurus Rex from a Diplodocus. By that time I am hoping I will also be the proud possessor of a Spinosaurus as I only need seven more stickers on my "Being Extra Good" Chart to claim my prize.

 

Which brings me neatly back to where I started today's Blog - with Nanni. I was pretty confident, even while we were driving down to Worthing, that I'd be able to coax at least one sticker out of Nanni. She is, Mummy says, a Soft Touch. Personally I think it's good for a Nanni to be a Soft Touch, ideal for cuddling up, for hugging and generally lovey-dovey stuff. 

 

Mummy and Nanni agreed that maybe it hadn't been such a great idea to have two days out, one after the other. But Nanni had booked tickets for a show called The Very Hungry Caterpillar and hadn't thought to check what was happening the previous day. She thought she had booked for Easter Saturday and was taken by surprise when she discovered she was a whole week out. Me? I'd happily see Nanni every day of the week, if only for the stickers...

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was an excellent show. We (Nanni and I) were perfectly well-behaved which is more than can be said for my sisters. They did, however, quite like all the puppets - there were 75 of them in all according to Nanni, though I can't vouch for this as, just at the moment, I get a bit muddled up after number 16. Nanni said not to worry, she didn't count them either, she read it in the programme. 

 

What The Twinkles didn't like was being hemmed in between Mummy and Nanni so that they couldn't get out of the row we were sitting in and rampage between the aisles. They would have liked to be up there on stage with the caterpillar, the sea-horses, the fireflies and the polka dot cow. I would quite like to have been up there myself, to be honest, but I needed to keep an eye on Nanni in case there were any Scary Moments when she might want someone to hold her hand.

 

Back at Nanni's house, we were able to let off steam by running round and round the garden while Mummy assembled a Jungle Den which Nanni had bought from Tesco's. It was very funny watching Mummy with her head and shoulders inside the den as she tried to put it together  - it looked as if our Jungle Den had legs. We are none of us very sure how long the Jungle Den will survive the combined attentions of the three of us - but it was a Kind Thought on Nanni's part if, possibly, a misguided one.

 

While all this was going on, Grandad was trying to watch a Very Important Football Match on the TV. He kept saying: "I just need Peace and Quiet..." I don't know who Peace and Quiet are but unfortunately for Grandad they can't have been very good players as they didn't seem to make much difference to the result of the match. 

 

 

Based solely on the Big Match, Grandad would disagree, I fear, but We Three Rascals thought yesterday was an absolute winner.

Yesterday Mr B was entertaining a lady friend to lunch while his wife (that'll be me, then) was out. The cad! I hear you exclaim.

 

Never fear, it was not as it seems. I was not only in on the arrangement, I had actually planned it. I even unlocked the side gate so that Mr B's visitor had easy access, rather than having to ring on the door bell and wait ages while Mr B struggled to the door to let her in.

 

These days I don't like to leave Mr B "Home Alone" for too long - but there are some Special Occasions I simply can't bear to miss. One of these being the celebration of my oldest friend's (as in years known, rather than age specific, you understand) seventieth birthday. Where else would we meet but Bill's in Wimbledon, scene of many a happy gathering over the last four years? 

 

Team Bill's, as we will now call it, generally consists of my friend Pat, her two daughters (the younger of whom is my God-daughter), two of my Darling Daughters (the Middle one of whom is Pat's God-daughter), and the Trio of Rampaging Rascals. As time and circumstances allow we may be joined by Other Halves and / or Other Offspring. Would it help you to draw a chart, do you think? Oh, and I forgot to mention myself - what an omission! 

 

Yesterday's occasion was organised by the Wonderful Pip, who was so determined that her mother would celebrate in style that she covered the floor and every surface in her kitchen with gold cake covering and small gold stars in the baking of a truly splendiferous Ferrero Rocher cake.  This remarkable concoction was secretly delivered to the restaurant well in advance of our arrival in order to ensure the Surprise Factor.

 

Unusually, I was the first to arrive at the restaurant (unless you count the cake but, let's face it, a cake, however splendid, is still an inanimate object, while I am most definitely not.) I was delighted to be shown to the large table, situated out of the way in a handy corner where we would have the best chance of locking down the Trio - Faris the Rascal and Twinkles, Tala and Lilia - against terrorist attack on other diners. I requested two high chairs (well, it was worth a try) and settled down to wait for my lunch companions. I didn't have long to wait.

 

Pip came armed with fishy stickers, a pad of colourful paper, felt tip pens and a dinosaur sticker book. My daughters and I came armed with birthday cards and presents. The Trio came armed with whatever it is that keeps them on the rampage and the rest of us on our toes.

 

Such a happy afternoon we had, celebrating this milestone birthday - even though, as I wrote in Pat's card: "We can't both be turning 70 this year - we're still only 17, aren't we?!" The Trio behaved remarkably well, the restaurant staff were happy and smiley, for all the world as if they were delighted to be allocated our table to serve, the cake was a well-deserved triumph. 

 

Back home I knew another friend, the Amazing Eleanor, was about to join Mr B for lunch. "Just off for my date!" she texted me. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a friend like Eleanor, willing to step in to keep my fella company - and to cook her lunch and his into the bargain. I knew I could relax and enjoy myself without worrying what might be happening at home. 

 

So it's a heartfelt thank you to Eleanor, Mr B's lunch date, and a Happy 70th Birthday to dear Pat, my long-time friend from way back to our school-days.

 

Good friends are, indeed, worth keeping.

Mr Blue Sky is playing up. Big time.

 

He is protesting, I know, at my unforgivable neglect of him in recent weeks by taking the only form of Industrial Action open to him. In short, he is refusing to start.

 

Mr Blue Sky, regular readers may (or may not) recall, is the somewhat fanciful name I gave to our Renault Kangoo, which has been specially adapted (though not by Yours Truly) to allow me to transport Mr B plus his trusty mobility scooter on exciting outings. Or, even, unexciting but necessary outings to hospital appointments and the like. I am quite the expert (though I say so myself as shouldn't) at driving the scooter on and off the van via an electric ramp which lowers and raises itself ever so slowly for this purpose. Patience is needed at this point in the Loading Operation but provided I have allowed myself plenty of time to get wherever we are going, it's not a problem.

 

Unfortunately in recent weeks we haven't been taking any trips out - either of the exciting or the mundane variety - and I have failed to acknowledge that Mr Blue Sky might be feeling neglected. I am ashamed to say that I can't even remember the last time I so much as turned the key in the ignition.

 

Today I had booked him in for his MOT. I had found a local garage which specialises in such matters and taken a quick trip (in my other car) to check out the whereabouts of said garage and (most importantly for me, the Worst Parker In The World) the parking arrangements. All, I was delighted to report to Mr B, was eminently satisfactory.

 

Then this afternoon, as I prepared to drive to my MOT appointment with the garage, Mr Blue Sky revolted. Lights flashed on the dashboard in an alarming fashion but he was just putting on a show of strength. Not a spark of life. I returned to the house to relay the bad news to Mr B. Not that there was anything he could do about it, you understand, but I always like to think that a problem shared is a problem halved. 

 

Mr B ranted and raved about the Unfairness of Life, before it occurred to him that this was undoubtedly All My Fault - which, unaccountably (except to Mr B) made him feel a whole lot better. I rang the helpful fella at Fish Breakdown (don't even ask!) who didn't attribute blame to anyone but said a Knight in Shining Armour would be with me, if not shortly, then in due course. Whatever due course might mean. The equally helpful fella in the MOT garage said he might be able to fit me (or, more accurately, my car) in a bit later, depending on the time it took to get Mr Blue Sky started and out on the road.

 

My K in SA, when he finally turned up, did say it was my fault that Mr Blue Sky's battery was flat - but he said it in a sweetly understanding, non-condemnatory way. He produced his Power Pack from his breakdown vehicle and had Mr Blue Sky purring nicely in no time at all. The world is full, I have decided, of unsung heroes who enjoy nothing more than sorting out problems caused by other people's forgetfulness / neglect / ignorance / or all three. They know, I suppose, that their jobs depend on people like me but that's no reason not to salute them for their generosity of spirit and their Power Packs.

 

We made it, just in time, to the MOT garage where I left Mr Blue Sky to the tender ministrations of the garage mechanic while I took myself off to The Happy Teapot to enjoy a cup of coffee whiie awaiting any news.

 

Mr Blue Sky passed his MOT exam with flying colours. I am extremely proud of him though I am still a little concerned whether he will still be bearing a grudge next time I try to start him up. I was going to give him a bit of a run around to charge up the battery properly but he seemed to be running a bit short of petrol and I couldn't face the thought of filling up and then being unable to get him off the garage forecourt - so I just drove home and left the engine running in the driveway for a bit.

 

Am I burying my head in the sand like an ostrich? Am I pretending everything will be fine when it might - just might - not be so? Am I, like good old Nelson, turning a blind eye?

  

Do you know, I think I'll worry about it tomorrow...

 

Marion telephoned me.

 

I knew it was Marion because she said it was she. Plus, it wasn't a totally unexpected call because I have been half thinking I might hear from her, given that I have so far failed to answer the email she sent me.

 

This is not like me. I am pretty good (though I say so myself, as shouldn't) at answering my emails. I check them every morning over my Oats So Simple breakfast porridge and again in the evening just before I start cooking our dinner. Occasionally I carry out an Extra Check around lunchtime. The trouble is that I sometimes start composing a response in my head, then find myself called away (usually by Mr B) on Urgent Business - so that when I return to the Us-Pad, I truly believe I have answered said email and move on. Yes, I know, you are going to remind me that there is usually a symbol of sorts to indicate a response has been sent, but...

 

This wasn't actually the case anyway with the email from Marion which was picking up on a suggestion I had put forward at the last quarterly meeting of Questers - the group, regular readers may (or may not) remember which goes on "behind the scenes" visits to places of local interest. Mr B, of course, would remind me that, by offering a suggestion, I had ignored his sound advice to sit on my hands when the meeting was asked for (i) volunteers or (ii) suggestions. As per usual I had found this impossible and had ventured the idea that we might enjoy discovering the background to a new Costume Trail organised by our local museum. 

 

Now that the next quarterly meeting is approaching it is not unreasonable for Marion to ask if I have made any progress over the last, well, three months. I had put off replying to her initial email, thinking that I might just find time to make a few calls so that I had something - anything - to report. Well, it was a very good idea but I simply didn't get round to it before she called.

 

As I was in the middle of making abject apologies, something very strange happened. I forgot who I was talking to. I mean, really, who does that? Instead of thinking I was talking to Marion, I somehow persuaded myself that I was talking to Joy. It's not quite so strange as it seems, there is a (very) vague connection in that Marion is a joint Questers leader with David. Who happens to be married to Joy. Tenuous in the extreme, I hear you say.

 

Would I be seeing her at Lovely Linda's craft group on Wednesday, I asked. Marion-Who-Wasn't-Joy said she wasn't a member of this particular group. I was so sure she was, I responded, maybe it was because we were always talking about the clever things she made - her knitted Christmas puddings, for example.

 

Marion-Not-Joy said she had never knitted a Christmas pudding in her life, not being the least skilled in the Craft Department. I couldn't quite make out, over the telephone, whether she was amused, puzzled or offended at the thought that she would spend precious time knitting anything, let alone a Christmas pudding.

 

Which is when the proverbial penny dropped and I realised I had mixed up my Joys and my Marions. More abject apologies were proffered and accepted with remarkably good grace, all things considered. I stayed chatting on the phone for a while, talking as learnedly as I was able about the State of the World in the hope that Marion would be comforted to realise that I was not completely off my trolley.  

 

What I need to know is, has anything like this ever happened to anybody else? 

 

Or is it - perish the thought - just me?

I may have long prided myself on my legendary Easter Egg Trails - but this year I have been royally trumped (a word which is fast taking on an ever more pointed meaning) by My Boy and the Darling Daughter-in-Law.

 

Yesterday, Easter Day, they prepared not one, not two, but three trails, one for each of the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys. All three Trails were comprised of a number of clues, the solving of each clue leading to the discovery of the next poser until the end - or should I say, the egg - was reached. What's more, most of the clues were - wait for it - in rhyme. When I related this to grandson, Jack, who phoned us today to say cheerio before he caught his train back to Uni, he described this as "dedication." I couldn't argue with his conclusion. 

 

I knew all about the Three Trails because when I contacted the boys via that invaluable aid to Family Togetherness, FaceTime, I was invited to solve all the clues, one after another. I did pretty well, bearing in mind the distance between us and not being physically present in the hoyse and garden where all the clues were set - though possibly, having reached A Great Age, it was only what would be expected. Besides, having dreamed up many clues myself over the years, I know most of the obvious hiding places. 

 

There were no clues to be solved in the Easter Trail I set for Faris the Rascal and The Twinkles when they descended on us (with their mother, the Middle of the Darling Daughters) yesterday. The Rascal knew exactly what to expect: "Where are the chocolate eggs?" he enquired, engagingly just as soon as he stepped through the front door. That's what I love about four year olds - they are so endearingly direct.

 

First of all it was time for lunch. The Middle of the Darling Daughters produced lovingly prepared picnic boxes for each child. "These have been such a good idea!" she pronounced, as she encouraged the Trio to line up on the sofa, lunch packs on their knees. Her littl'uns immediately proved her wrong by refusing to eat the sandwiches, opening the healthy cake bars and discarding them after one bite and then heading into the kitchen and making straight for my cake tins wherein reside much more grown-up biscuits like shortbread fingers and chocolate digestives.

 

My Trail was, as per last year, made up of colourful mega-blocks, starting at the front door and winding its way along the side of the house, through the side gate and all around the garden to a spot hidden behind the bushes where three eggs nestled in a washing up bowl, covered by a tray and guarded by three soft toys. If you are thinking that I had gone to surprising lengths to cover up the eggs then you need to know that our garden is currently under siege from an extremely large and predatory sea gull. I couldn't take the risk of Theft By Sea Gull - it would have been just too distressing.

 

The Rascal added a new twist to this year's Trail by deciding to pick up each mega block using Mr B's "grabber". His mother and I both felt this was a great idea as we imagined it would make the excitement of discovery last rather longer. We had forgotten that Tala and Lilia would not want to stand by while their brother painstakingly collected each block - instead they were off, running (as per usual) in completely different directions, grabbing my Colourful Clues and bearing them back to me in triumph. Just why it didn't occur to me that this Feisty Threesome would obviously not abide by my Trail Rules when their own were so much more fun I can't imagine. 

 

The result, of course, was that the Trail didn't actually lead where it was supposed to lead, owing to the large number of blocks removed by one Twinkle or another. How we actually all reached the hiding place at more or less the same time - though obviously approaching from completely different angles - is a Mystery to Me but reach it we did. The eggs were recovered and borne aloft to the lawn to be opened.

 

I thought I had chosen so well - an egg with a football decoration for The Rascal, eggs with butterfly decorations for the twins. "No preservatives!" said the label on each box. Well, let's face it, they weren't going to last long anyway. Unfortunately I had reckoned without Lilia and her strange fears. Last Easter she freaked out at the smile on the face of her chocolate bunny; this year she regarded the butterfly on her chocolate egg with great suspicion and needed lots of reassurance that it was not the least bit real.

 

Later that evening, my daughter sent me a photo of Tala the Diva, her mouth liberally smeared with chocolate. "Sums up our day!" she commented.

 

A sunny garden. An Easter Trail. Plus chocolate to boot.

 

Perfect!

 

Latest comments

07.12 | 15:48

what details have you got on your mysterious Wilde?

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01.12 | 23:56

And so say all of us!!!

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29.10 | 22:07

Your words are true magic and like us Adam has a great future ahead of him.
He has a mesmerising presence on stage and a voice to match

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04.10 | 09:06

If it's still there at the weekend I will be selling the tooth on eBay with plastic case.

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