Is it just me, I wonder? When you visit the Post Office with a parcel for a destination known to you, if few others, do you get asked to describe the contents of said package?
It happened to me again this afternoon. What was in my parcel? the bored-looking lass behind the counter enquired. I suppose I could have made it up, but I was brought up to be unfailingly honest, a character trait which, sadly, has not always proved
to be to my advantage whatever others may have told me.
I itemised the contents thus: (i) a small board book telling the tale of Kanga and Roo, according to the inestimable A A Milne, in just four brief pages;
(ii) one pink bib belonging to a Twinkle, though which one I could but guess; (iii) a baby bottle, carefully washed in the dish-washer before packing; (iv) the green lid off a jar containing assorted dinosaurs, a present to Young Faris from the Eldest of the
Darling Daughters. Just the lid, you understand, not the jar and certainly not any prehistoric creatures; and, finally and most importantly, Scamp the puppy, friend and companion to Master Faris, who bears a canny resemblance to a similar toy photographed
with the Princess Charlotte. The puppy, that is, not the Rampaging Rascal.
The shop assistant gazed at me in something akin to admiration. Or, possibly, amazement. Or, more likely, incredulity. It takes all
sorts to make a world, you could almost hear her brain whirring. Well, she did ask.
This experience was only bettered by my previous visit to the same Post Office when a different assistant asked me the same
question. Honestly, I have read the list of prohibited items and, as all regular readers of the Daily Blog know full well, I am the most law-abiding of people. Honest I am. Or should I say: honest, I am. Nevertheless, I responded appropriately with the truth,
the whole truth and nothing but the truth. My somewhat squidgy parcel contained - wait for it - a knitted Christmas pudding. To give the woman her due, she barely twitched an eye-brow. What was the value of the, er, Christmas pudding, she queried. I wanted
so much to answer "priceless!" Instead, in the interests of strict accuracy I had to confess that it was, to all intents and purposes, worthless. Except, hopefully, to the recipient, the Eldest of the Darling Daughters, who had put in a special request for
one of my knitted Christmas puddings to grace her display shelves. No higher honour. Well, I mean, it was destined for the top shelf.
My latest visit to the Post Office was prompted by the Great After Christmas
Clear-Up. As always, the family has managed to leave various items behind when packing up to go home. The most appreciated of these was a delicious piece of home-cooked ham, accidentally left in our fridge by the Darling Daughter-in-Law. There was no point
sending this back, courtesy of Parcel Post, so it served us for dinner one day and lunch the next.
Scamp, of course, was quite a different matter. He is Young Faris's bedtime companion of choice and I was
afraid my youngest grandson might not go to bed without The Cuddly One. His mother (that is, Faris's mother, not Scamp's, don't be silly) said "no pressure" but you know me, I feel the weight of responsibility resting heavily on my shoulders.
What didn't help was that none of the local shops had any brown paper for sale. I can't believe that they had all sold out. How many parcels must have made their way to the Post Office in the run-up to Christmas? And how many
people described the contents of their brown paper packages as fully and accurately as I did? I had to resort to wrapping up Scamp et al in an old paper bag, secured with lashings of Sellotape. Hopefully he will make it home safe and sound and into the arms
of The Rascal very soon.
One object which still remains unsent, is a Make It Yourself Gingerbread House. The Middle of the Darling Daughters had thought this might occupy Faris and his older cousins
in a spare moment during our Second Christmas but in the end we ran out of time. As my daughter well knew would be the case, I am extremely excited at the prospect, never having built a gingerbread house (or, indeed, any house) before. The back of the packet
describes the actual manufacture in "six easy steps". These are as follows: (i) get the icing ready; (ii) cut the icing bag; (iii) get the pieces ready to build; (iv) stick the walls together; (v) prepare to put on the roof; and (vi) finish your house. What
could be easier? No, I mean it, what could be easier? All I need is a visitation from a grandchild or two. Or ten. Hansel and Gretel would do, if all else fails.
Once we have built it, we will send it back
to Faris and The Twinkles. By post, of course.
Now that may just take a bit of explaining...