One of the highlights of my morning is the arrival of the postman at our door. Expectation always runs high. Who has written us? What's the news? Have we been invited anywhere? You know the kind of thing.
Unfortunately most days my expectations are sadly dashed. A typical day's post will consist of (i) three separate travel companies offering us "unrivalled" prices on "once in a lifetime" cruises (his many lifetimes do they
think we have?); (ii) an important looking letter inviting me to a health check which will uncover all kinds of ailments I've never heard of; (iii) four catalogues selling shoes, books, garden furniture and DIY materials; and (iv) the latest offers from Screwfix
who, ever since I bought a banister rail on-line from them, seem convinced that I am "trade". Sometimes I even think a bill would be more fun because at least it would be meant for me and need more attention than being shifted from door mat to recycling bin.
The best correspondence, of course, is both newsy and personal. Decorating our mantelpiece and every spare windowsill are lots of cards from people accepting our invitation to our Golden Wedding (or as I keep mistakenly
calling it, Royal Wedding) celebrations. One postcard from our lovely God-daughter Pip, has a stunning photograph of Framlingham Castle on the front. She would have phoned, she writes, but she never remembers at a sensible time "and, anyway, this postcard
is pretty and worth sharing." Indeed it is: the castle stands proudly against the golden glow of an evening sky, with castle, clouds and sky all reflected in the calm waters of a lake in the foreground. Perched on our mantelpiece, the card simply glows. Quite,
Among the cards are two which have been personally designed and created for us. Now how special is that? I imagine their creators selecting just the right size card, the most appropriate embellishments,
the sweetest pictorial message.
And, wait for it! It is perfectly possible that I may be going into Card Production myself. Yesterday at Craft Group we made greetings cards. Last time, regular readers may
recall we made Rabbit Three Ways. My beady rabbit, fashioned out of coloured beads threaded onto safety pins, drew much praise from the Darling Daughters and Team Baldwin when they visited. Just imagine their delight when they receive, through the post, a
personal, hand-made card from Yours Truly.
There were four of us, plus our leader, the Lovely Linda, at Craft Group. We all took a somewhat different approach to the task in hand. One made a beautiful welcome
card for a new arrival called Oscar William, who weighed in at 6lbs 2ozs on Sunday. Another fashioned a whole urn full of flowers. Our Leader carefully crafted a cat for the front of her card. Me, I decided to make a birthday greetings card for my eldest grandchild,
who will be nineteen later this week. Aim high, I told myself.
First of all, however, we were shown how to use some amazingly light-weight modelling material, as malleable as Play-Doh but a fraction of the
weight - clearly important if you are planning to decorate the front of your card with an urn-full of flowers. Think of the poor postman, laden down with the Heavy Option. A selection of moulds presented a host of exciting possibilities from individual letters,
to leaves, to hearts and flowers.
I rather think my problem was that, as usual, I was carried away with those exciting possibilities. Perhaps I should have planned my work a little better. I remember making
puppets with Sam and James a couple of summers ago when James sagely advised that we should first plan how each leg and arm attached to the body before rushing in with the glue stick. Yes, that was me he was talking to, glue stick in hand, raring to go. When
I recounted the story later to James's mother, the Darling Daughter in Law, she was most impressed that her Middle Child had apparently listened to one of her pieces of sage advice when most of it goes right over his sweet head.
The result of my lack of planning meant that the front of my greetings card, while undoubtedly rather tasteful, ended up with a large empty space at its centre. Despite all the hundreds of possible embellishments, nothing seemed quite right. My final
inspiration was that I would find a photograph of the Birthday Girl to grace the centre of her card. The Lovely Linda nodded approvingly.
Home I bore the results of my Crafty Labours, keen to show off my hand-made
birthday card to Mr B. Awaiting his response, I had a sudden horrible thought that he might just say: "But you will buy her a proper card as well...?"
Dear reader, I misjudged him: "She'll like that," he sId,
Oh, I do hope so. It may not have been carefully planned or skilfully crafted but, like all the best cards, it was made with much love...