Everyone was just so pleased to see me this morning. Positively delighted in fact. It really was most gratifying.
Not that the sight of me isn't often met with exclamations
of pleasure. Mr B, for one, almost always looks pleased to see me when I roll out of bed in the morning and arrive in my dressing gown downstairs - where he will have been up for hours. He has usually been storing up something to tell me - an item on the news,
an article in the newspaper, a sudden thought that has occurred to him in the early hours of the morning. It is not his fault, I have to remind myself, that I am unable to concentrate on anything until I have had my first cup of coffee of the day.
There are occasions when I am late arising, generally because I have fallen back to sleep listening to the misnamed "Wake Up To Money" on Radio Five Live and slept through several news bulletins. "Good evening," Mr B
will say, in a disapproving voice, as I arrive, shame-faced and tousle-haired, at the breakfast table. But there will always be a smilie lurking round his lips. I am pretty sure he is always pleased to see me.
grandchildren are always pleased to see me too. I still remember, with enormous pleasure, arriving at a bus stop at the end of a long journey to Cardiff by train and bus. There to meet me the three (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys, with their mum, literally
jumping up and down at the sight of me. No, their mum wasn't jumping up and down, to be honest, but she still looked pleased to see me. I treasure the drawing Young Sam did of me, arriving on a train at Cardiff Station. It depicts me riding on the roof of
the train, presumably because every carriage is full of animals. "It's a Zoo Train," the artist explains. Well, of course it is, haven't you heard of artistic licence? For my part I am easily recognisable by my curly hair and the cross and chain I always wear;
Sam has an eye for detail.
Faris is always pleased to see me, mostly, I suspect, because he knows I will be up for Merry Mayhem. Into our house he marches, straight upstairs where he will collect his favourite
teddy bear from the spare room (tucking it safely under one arm) and head into the bathroom. Here he will stand on the bathroom scales and flush the loo several times. He does this every visit without fail. You can tell he's pleased to see me. The Twinkles
always look pleased to see me, too, though delight is one of their default expressions. Life as a Twinkle is clearly delightful.
The older grandchildren don't jump up and down to see me exactly but I always
get a massive hug. I'm pretty sure they are pleased to see me in an under-stated, teenager-type of way. Except when I am embarrassing, of course, which on occasions I am, being given to extravagant greetings. "Social suicide!" as My Hazel muttered when catching
sight of me jumping up and down like a (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boy at her approach.
This morning, however, there was not a grandchild to be seen but I was still being greeted like a long-lost relative returned
from the war - or, at the very least, from Foreign Realms of a Dangerous Nature. Let me explain:
Yesterday I was at the Record Breakers desk in the local library, along with fellow volunteer Poppy.
We were discussing the fact that she has to go back to school on Monday. I don't have to go back to school on Monday, or any other day for that matter, but the least I could be was a Sympathetic Listener. Up to our desk came a member of the library staff with
a question to put to me. "You can always say no," she prefaced her request, with a look of desperation in her eyes which clearly said the very opposite.
There would be nobody on the desk the following morning
and they were already short-staffed. Could I? Would I? Well, what could I say but yes?
Fast forward to 10 a.m this morning when I waltzed through the revolving doors of the library (this is quite dangerous
unless you are gifted with an inbuilt confidence in your own ability to look ridiculous.) "It's so good to see you!" "Thank goodness you're here!" "What would we do without you?" I preened myself like a peacock (though not so colourful and without the tail
feathers), overwhelmed by their over-the-top, but most welcome, gratitude.
Okay, so I earned it. Queues of littl'uns lined up at my desk to tell me about the books they had read, to exclaim in mock
horror at the stinky-ness of the smelly stickers, to accept with pride their certificates and "gold" medals for completing this year's Summer Reading Challenge. It would have been almost impossible for the library staff to carry out their own duties and deal
with the masses at the same time.
There's just one week left until the Challenge finishes for another year. How I will miss my sessions at the Record Breakers desk. And, reflecting on this morning's happy
greetings, I have to admit is good to be appreciated.
Even though the pleasure is entirely mine.