So who on earth had the daft idea of giving the name Barney to the storm which hit the country recently?
Barney isn't a ferocious storm. Barney - as everybody who is anybody
knows - is a purple and green Tyrannosaurus Rex who has taught many a littl'un the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Along with good manners, the magic of song and, of course, the power of love.
most grandparents, I have a store of special memories which are lodged firmly in my heart - just as many mega blocks are lodged under the sofa following yesterday's visitation by Young Faris and The Twinkles (see yesterday's blog, written by Faris. Who else?)
Barney the dinosaur is responsible for one such precious memory. Sitting on the sofa at the home of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, Hazel - then about fifteen months old - and I were watching, yes, you've guessed it, good old Barney. There was everybody's
favourite dinosaur on TV, singing about "a great big hug from me to you" and there was my Hazel, just a baby, turning to hug me. Life doesn't get any sweeter than that.
I happen to believe that the undoubted
academic successes of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters' offspring can be credited to Barney. Okay, I whole-heartedly concede, talented teachers, encouraging parents and lots of hard work on the part of Team Baldwin themselves, undoubtedly played their
part. But it was Barney the dinosaur, with his slightly manic grin and tenacious grasp of the fundamentals, who provided the solid basis on which Great Accomplishments were built.
The Youngest of the Darling
Daughters and I discussed Barney when we met in town this week for our regular lunch and a show date. No, we didn't talk about the weather, we talked about education, raising sensible kids, and dinosaurs of the purple and green variety. As you do.
My daughter was not at all sure that my money-saving approach was going to serve us well. She pointed out, albeit gently, that our £18.50 seats in the Balcony at the famous Theatre Royal Drury Lane would
probably see us suffering from vertigo as we surveyed the distant stage from A Great Height. She didn't actually say that this was the last time she would entrust me with the Buying of Tickets but she came very close.
We found a restaurant offering a pre-theatre lunch deal and, as per usual, ended up ordering exactly the same meal. It happens every time. We might have foregone a pudding except that the dessert menu offered cheese-cake with "muddled berries." Who
could possibly resist muddled berries? Not us, for sure.
Back at the theatre we couldn't help noticing the school parties queuing up outside. We rather wondered if we should be wearing high-vis jackets and
holding hands in a crocodile. Instead, we went inside to ask where the entrance to the balcony was.
Which is when they broke the news to us that the Balcony had been closed and we were being reallocated seats
in the Stalls. Yes, indeed, the Stalls! We had the very best of views as Charlie found his Golden Ticket, his prize a visit to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. We were so close, we could almost smell the chocolate. Magical!
Much, much later, at home with Mr B, I checked up on the going rate for our seats in the Stalls. Seventy pounds apiece! I have never been fortunate enough to be upgraded on an aeroplane, but now I know just how it feels. The Y of the DDs is similarly
impressed with our good fortune but sensibly suggests that I shouldn't take this as guaranteed when booking tickets for future theatre trips.
In the interests of ensuring that the Daily Blog is (occasionally)
educational, I read an on-line rant about everything that is bad about Barney. The last of many points rammed home was that, while other children's programmes focused on practical problem-solving, Barney suggested it was all down to magic.
What a storm in a tea-cup!
Me? I'm firmly on Barney's side...