The Eldest of the Darling Daughters phones to check arrangements for next Saturday when we will be celebrating Katie's nineteenth birthday one week early. This means the Eldest of the Grand-daughters will have two Birthday
Celebrations but, as I always say, why have one celebration when you could have two?
We apportion tasks: mine are to make an apple pie and the birthday cake. I give fair warning that the cake will look more
or less exactly the same as every other cake I have made over the last year - though I can assure her it will be minus the dinosaurs which decorated The Rascal's birthday cake last month. The Eldest of the Darling Daughters seems to think this won't matter
in the slightest.
I also need to know, I tell her, whether the Birthday Girl will want a banner - or would she consider herself too old, at nineteen, for such frivolity? Her mum says she will certainly want
a banner; her girls, she reminds me, are Hot On Tradition.
I love that, as I am similarly keen on keeping up family traditions. In this respect, at least, these grand-daughters take after me.
I like to think that all those years when they used to come to stay during school holidays at Christmas and in the Summer helped to cement some of those traditions, to add to the store they were developing within their own
closest family. Christmas meant hauling the tree down from the loft and decorating it - how I miss my girls at Christmas these days! Decorating a Christmas tree on your own is nowhere near as much fun. Summer meant Beach Days, picnics and putting - more recently
we added crabbing to the mix. There is always room, I have found, to introduce a new tradition. Always, but always there has been an evening out at Shafique's restaurant where Eleanor would (until quite recently) order an "Egg Man" for dessert - not because
she particularly hankered after this icy concoction but because it had become, well, a tradition. This year Shafique celebrates thirty years in business. We bought him a 30th birthday card today, sending it via the fella who delivered our Saturday Night Takeaway.
Last year, for Katie's eighteenth birthday her Grandad and I gave her a framed montage of phrases and sayings summing up our relationship. It was incredibly difficult to whittle down all those many memories to just fifty
words. I rather liked the fact that anybody else, reading them, would wonder what on earth they were all about. Giant Penguin? Ready, Jelly, Go!? Of course, regular readers, having been allowed into our Life and Times through my Daily Blog, know all about
But what about "Bath - Video - Bed"? Ah, yes, at the end of every fun-packed day with the young'uns, all grandparents will recognise the vital importance of introducing some welcome peace and quiet
before bedtime. One of my favourite memories of being a grandmother will always be sitting on our sofa, Katie tucked in on one side, Eleanor cuddled in on the other, watching whatever DVD they had chosen for that night's viewing. We would stop the film half-way
through to make hot chocolate before returning to the cosy comfort of the sofa. If I close my eyes, I can still feel them, pressed up against me, warm and loving.
So tomorrow - or, possibly, the next day -
I will sort out the letters I need from my file of recycled cardboard letters and thread them onto a string of cotton to make a personalised banner, ready to be pinned up over the patio doors. On Friday I will make sure I have all the ingredients for my famous
apple pie and for the birthday cake.
It is true, as I admitted before, that the cake will look very much like all the other birthday cakes I have cooked since I was introduced to the Divine Delia's recipe
for Victoria sponge - but I am not making any apology for that.
It is, after all, tradition....