New York! New York!
Granddaughter Hazel Bagel is busy sampling all the delights of the Big Apple even as I write. She posts a night scene on Facebook with the
caption: "I never want to leave!" Her mother, who started missing her even before her plane took off, responds plaintively: "Please do!" The house must be so, so quiet without Our Hazel.
For those of you who
only know of Hazel through the Daily Blog, you should know that she is one of those people whose absence would never, ever pass unnoticed. I won't say she's loud, but...Oh, okay then, she's loud. But very, very lovely with it. Loud and lovely - everyone should
have a granddaughter like Hazel.
I can't remember school trips like this when I was Hazel's age. In fact the only one I can recall with any degree of certainty was a coach trip to Verulanium - which sounds
exotic enough until you twig that Verulanium was the Roman name for St Albans. Now I have nothing at all against St Albans, past or present, but it isn't exactly New York, wouldn't you agree?
is rather bitter-sweet for Mr B and me as we have recently had to cancel, on health grounds, our own planned holiday in New York to celebrate your Golden Wedding in June this year. Still, our granddaughter has come to the rescue. She has agreed to act as our
own official Virtual Travel Guide, providing us with photographs and a running commentary on all the places we had planned to visit and doubtless a few more besides. We have handed over all the guide books we purchased to plan our visit to help keep her on
our track. A quick scan of her itinerary suggests that she will be visiting most, if not all, of the places on our "To See" list.
Our requirement for a photographic record will possibly tax our TripAdvisor
who generally captures any event / trip / experience through a series of "selfies", many note-worthy for the way the subjects strike extravagant poses and contort their faces into ghastly grimaces. If we are lucky we might spot the Statue of Liberty in the
Mr B and I still laugh about a photographic experience in beautiful Paris with our American friend Wally in the year 2000. After admiring the Eiffel Tower we asked a passing Frenchman if he would
mind taking a photo of us. He was happy to oblige so we arranged ourselves in a friendly group, grinning into the camera lens. Then: "Do you want the tower in the background?" the Obliging One asked, perfectly seriously. We tried very hard to respond in like
fashion; his wife, however, was doubled up with laughter.
It's become a Family Joke now. As we pose in front of a castle, a stately home, an ancient ruin - one of us will surely ask the other: "Do you want
the castle / house / Stonehenge (or similar) in the background?" Like all the best Family Jokes, it always makes us laugh. Also like all the best Family Jokes, not everyone will realise we are joking and will think we really are that deluded.
The first several photos from our Travel Guide have arrived and I have misjudged her. There among the inevitable selfies are some great views of the Big Apple at its most appetising. We can't wait for the next instalment.
If we can't be there ourselves, Our Hazel will be there for us. She will walk where we would have walked; wonder at all the sights we would have wondered at; enjoy all the experiences we would have enjoyed. She will
laugh where we would have laughed - and weep where we would have wept. She will crick her neck gazing up at the skyscrapers. She will sing along at a Broadway show. Just as we would have done.
with Our Hazel - Travel Guide Extraordinaire - we will live our Lost Holiday.