There is something about the sunshine which brings out the best in almost everyone.
Take me, for example. I positively leapt out of bed this morning, raring to go. I didn't
look at the alarm clock, sigh, turn over and tell myself "five minutes more" before slipping into snooze mode for another half an hour. The weather forecast predicted a day of warm sunshine, a spring-like day and I didn't want to waste a moment of it.
Downstairs for breakfast and Mr B has his own idea about how to spend this beautiful day. He reckons we should go to Sainsbury's. He is keen to buy a particular paella dish for tonight's dinner and Sainsbury's is, he
says, the place we bought it last. Sometimes I think Mr B can rival me as far as Always Thinking About One's Stomach is concerned.
My morning is saved by - would you believe it - a cricket match. Ireland is
playing Zimbabwe and it is turning into a Tussle of the Titans. Mr B says Sainsbury's will have to wait until the game is won or lost. Though, to be strictly accurate - if somewhat pedantic - one could argue that the game will be both won and lost. There always
has to be a winner and a loser. Unless it's a draw in which case no side will have won or lost, Mr B would be quick to correct me, had I shared my thoughts with him. Which, in this particular case, I didn't as he was most preoccupied with More Important Matters.
I make my way out into the back garden. I am, I must admit, a Fair Weather Gardener. I am sure I have told you before that when it comes to Digging and Delving you can count me out. But I do like tidying up, planting
seeds, even the odd bit of pruning. My approach to gardening is rather like my approach to housework. Haphazard and sporadic.
Whenever I do spend time in the garden, I realise how much I enjoy it. I must do
this more often, I tell myself. If I spent just an hour a day in the garden, what a difference it would make over the course of the year! After a year or two of Dedicated Gardening, I might even be able to invite people into my garden as part of the National
Gardens Scheme. I could serve up tea and coffee and slices of Delia's sponge cake and raise money for charity. There is a robin in the rose bush regarding me with a quizzical eye. Who is this person? he seems to be asking, and who is she kidding?
An hour passes. Zimbabwe and Ireland are still at it hammer and tongs. I have pulled out lots of dead leaves and cleared the winding path which leads from the main part of the garden, under an archway into the Secret
Garden (so named by the grandchildren, years ago, in the mistaken belief that, when playing in the Secret Garden, they couldn't be seen from the house.) I have pruned the hydrangea bush and recovered from the borders three large flower pots, a misshapen shuttle-cock,
a muddy felt tip pen, and a balloon left over from Thursday's party. I was a bit disappointed not to come across an ancient chocolate Easter egg, considering how many have gone Absent Without Leave in the course of numerous Easter Egg Hunts over the years.
I have strung up some Union Jack bunting and have cleared ivy from the nesting box affixed to the garden fence. Maybe some homeless bird will catch sight of it and decide it is a Des Res of the first order. I suppose a "House to Let" sign would be out of order?
Another hour slips by. I keep meaning to call it a day and make myself a cup of coffee. Perhaps I'll just.....I tell myself. It's addictive, this Gardening Game. I have lined up six old plastic shopping crates against
the fence. They had been destined for the tip until my brother in law suggested they would make ideal planters. All they need is a good washout with the garden hose and I will have the beginnings of a vegetable plot. I will plant lettuces and carrots and....
Mr B calls out that Ireland has won a famous victory. I must forsake my garden (which is looking much neater though I say it myself as shouldn't) and head off to the supermarket. Shall we do our shopping then drive to
the beach for some fresh sea air? I ask Mr B. He doesn't look exactly rapt at the thought but he doesn't say no.
The sun is shining brightly as, having completed our Sainsbury's shop, we draw into the car
park in Littlehampton - but the wind is chilly. Mr B has forgotten his jumper. "What a beautiful day!" enthuses the woman behind us in the queue for coffee. Mr B responds, a little grumpily, that in fact it is freezing cold. I comment, peaceably, that it is,
after all, only early March.
We sit on a wooden bench and share a portion of chips with our coffee. The sunshine has brought so many people to the seaside this bright afternoon. There are scooters galore and
bicycles ranging from the toddler trike to the full-scale racing version. Despite the number of wheels whizzing past, strolling along the prom seems to be the most popular pastime. The family sharing our bench are a bit disappointed that the cafe doesn't have
any sprinkles or strawberry sauce for their ice-creams. A small, hooded Spider-man carefully carries an ice-cream to his waiting mother. I notice his ice-cream is decorated with marshmallows. Maybe the disappointed family wouldn't have been so aggrieved had
they known that marshmallows were on offer?
It's been a taste of Days to Come. Long, leisurely Seaside Days with as many of the family as we can get together at any one time. We will build sand castles, ride
on the famous Boat Train, we will paddle or swim according to how adventurous we feel. Hazel and her father, Dunk'em Dave, will spend most of the day in the sea. Young Morgan, the Duracell Bunny, will tell his Cousin Faris not to throw stones. We will go crabbing
and try to beat the Swift Girls' record of 101 crabs in one short session. We will, with a bit of luck, capture the whole day on film. It will be...
"Can we go home now?" requests Mr B, "I'm freezing!"