I have to confess that for the last couple of weeks I have been keeping a secret from Mr B.
We don't usually keep secrets from each other, mostly because secrets are for
sharing with your Best Beloved. But just once upon a sometime you find yourself harbouring a Deep, Dark Secret which, if told, will undoubtedly lead to untold and unnecessary recriminations.
So, here it is.
I have to confide in somebody so I will let you all, my regular readers, into my secret in the sure and certain knowledge that, wonderful people that you are, I will be forgiven. To cut a long story short: I have lost the Christmas card list.
Please don't laugh, this is really, really serious. Yes, I do have last year's list on the computer somewhere, probably filed in an improbable folder titled "Lists" just to fool me, because I, of course, will be looking for
a folder titled "Christmas." However, over the course of the last twelve months, I have been marking down changes, as necessary, on my paper version. Change of addresses, newly marrieds, people adding brand new babes to their family units. Plus, sadly, a few
who have died. I hate, hate, hate crossing their names off the list.
About this time each year, I take last year's list with all its many amendments and update the definitive list on the computer. This task
is complicated by the fact that I can't always read my own scribble. Did they really call their baby Mouldy? Is there actually a town called Flipping Norton? You probably get the general idea.
This year, however,
the Christmas Card List has disappeared altogether. It has vanished into that Dark Hole which I have told you about before, the one where my camera has hidden itself and my binoculars have vanished without trace.
Except - hey, this is the good news! I have found my binoculars! You will never guess where they were. No, I mean it, you really will never guess. It was last week, the day of the Middle of the Darling Daughters' birthday, so I'd rescued the Giant Penguin
from his sojourn on the spare bed in the study, ready to place him on the front doorstep to welcome Young Faris and The Twinkles. He was still dressed up from his last doorstep outing in one of Mr B's Gillingham Football Club tee-shirts, with a rakish straw
hat on his head, a ruck-sack on his back and - to add, I can only think, a touch of realism - my binoculars strung about his neck. You can doubtless imagine how I felt at my unexpected discovery. Joy Unbounded.
B had blamed Young Faris for the disappearance of the binoculars. Had he not warned me, he lectured me every time I bewailed their loss, not to entrust them to the care of a two year old? But, as I am pretty sure I have told you before, I love watching my
littlest grandson peering through the wrong end of my binoculars and trying to make sense of the world as seen through their lenses.
I thought Mr B would be as excited as I was by the re-emergence of my binoculars
but for some reason it only made him remember my Disappearing Camera. You can understand, I am sure, why I didn't want to let him into the secret of the Lost List unless and until it proved absolutely necessary.
I am delighted to tell you that I have now been able to Confess All, having just found the list. I was rummaging around in a cupboard for bubble wrap, when I came across a basket full of odds and ends which I had stowed there, out of sight and out of
mind, the last time I "tidied up" when preparing for imminent visitors. Could it be? Could it be? Could it possibly be - the Christmas card list? Yes, yes, yes!
Mr B is pleased to hear my news but not as thrilled
as all that because, after all, he hasn't been worrying in the least, on account of not knowing that Houston had a Problem in the first place. It has made him think, though. When am I planning to start writing our cards, he wants to know. It is, after all,
almost the end of November.
I'm almost wishing the list had Stayed Lost - just for a little bit longer...