Jaqui's Daily Blog

Preparations, Challenges and Stressed Sunflowers

With two small boys (aged 5 and 7) coming to stay for a week next week, I think it is safe to say that I will not have much time for anything which isn’t (i) playing a game; (ii) making up stories; (iii) racing about on a beach or playing field. We may well cook but it will be more likely to be juicy berry lollies, Sparkling Rocket Cakes and Ready, Jelly, Gos (see my Cook Book page) than meat and two veg.


In short, I need to get everything that I would normally do next week done by the end of today. It’s a challenging thought.


I took my Challenging Thought with me on the bus to town. Sometimes I find this is the best course of action, faced with a Challenging Thought. A ride on the bus gives ample time to consider all aspects of the challenge and to decide which, if any of them, simply have to be tackled and which, if push came to shove, could possibly be delayed, deferred or simply forgotten about.  It’s a bit like that advice on dealing with piles of paperwork – place it on a To Do list, file it away, or put it in the waste paper basket. The trick is to dispose of most of it in the waste paper basket and transfer hardly anything on the To Do list. No, I was never any good at this myself, but I don’t see why that should stop me passing it on, just in case someone might benefit from the advice.


I had to catch the earliest possible bus to get me to the Library on time for my stint on the Summer Reading Challenge desk.  You see, my life is full of challenges.  There was no time to think at all this morning with around forty to fifty children clamouring for attention at the Mythical Maze desk over my two hour session.  Over 430 kids aged 4 – 12 have so far registered at Worthing Library – that’s already about 80 up on last year and we are only into the second week.  One child has already finished the whole challenge despite the fact that the long summer holiday still stretches out in front of her. I awarded her a gold medal and a certificate with all due ceremony. They should employ me at the Commonwealth Games.  We didn’t sing the National Anthem though. We were in a Library, after all.  I kind of wanted to ask whether it might not have been more fun to spin the challenge out a bit (there are no extra prizes for being first to finish) but I didn’t want to rain on her parade. Another little lass described at great length the events of the three books she had chosen to tell me about. On the floor at her feet another fifteen books which she had also finished reading.  She could have finished the challenge there and then but gathered up her books and told me she would be back next week, presumably with another shelf full of books to show me.


By the time I arrived home after a bit of last minute shopping and another bus ride I was wilting. Not quite so much, however, as Mr B’s sunflowers which looked as if they were at death’s door. I alerted him to the fact that, as Chief Person In Charge of the Watering Can, he appeared to be failing in his duty towards his plants. To give him his due, he roused himself from his position as Number 1 Armchair Spectator of All Things Sporting and trotted off to find the watering can. I think he is more excited by the result of our (mostly) friendly sunflower competition than he lets on.  His sunflowers perked up no end as a result of his tender ministrations; nevertheless I am a bit worried that he won’t keep a close eye on them while I am in Wales over the next few days. (For those of you who might be even slightly interested all four sunflowers are now over seven foot tall, my two are still spindly, Mr B’s are of sturdier stance. No flowers yet but we are hopeful. At least, I am hopeful, Mr B hasn’t expressed an opinion. He would probably find it quite amusing if they went on growing, flower-less.)


I have completed all my correspondence, posted off birthday cards to every one of my friends and family with a birthday over the next ten days and warned anyone who might be expecting me somewhere next week that I won’t be there. My ruck-sack is more or less packed and I just need to transfer my rail tickets from the drawer in the little chest in the hall to my handbag. I am more or less ready and it is only half past eight.


I google “sunflowers” just for the sake of it and follow what I believe is known as a “thread”. Someone is concerned that their sunflowers are very tall but with no sign of flowers. The response is that it is possible that her sunflowers are “stressed.” Oh, for goodness sake, that’s all I need, stressed sunflowers. I trot outside to have a word with them, as is my usual early evening custom.  They are uncommunicative in the extreme but that’s nothing unusual. I tell them I will be home on Monday and they are not to worry in my absence. Wait till they meet the Little Welsh Boys! Stress? They don’t know they’re born. Or planted, perhaps.


Me? Well, not being a sunflower and so not expected to bloom, so to speak, I’m not stressed at all.


Wales, here I come!

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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