The Youngest of the Darling Daughters, reading my account of our unexpected meeting with the Duchess of Cornwall and other Royals at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party, commented tellingly: "It was Disney all over again
- but this time you were the Special Family!"
It is possible that you are struggling to make the connection between The Magic Kingdom and a Royal Garden Party so let me enlighten you. Back in 2009, Mr B and
I were privileged to be invited to join the Y of the DDs and her family on a Once in a Lifetime holiday in Orlando, Florida. My daughter, determined as ever, was not inclined to miss a single opportunity for some or all of us to have our photos taken with
every Disney character we met - or chased after. Mostly we obliged her, even Jack who, at eleven years old, was just at the age to consider mutiny. You will be interested to learn that, despite the gargantuan meals which are the norm in Florida - indeed, in
the good old US of A as a whole - we spent so many happy hours visiting every imaginable theme park that I lost two pounds in weight.
One day we happened on a pavilion where all the main Disney characters
were gathered in separate photo booths - Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto - the Youngest of the Darling Daughters was positively delirious with Disney Delight. We would only have to queue up once and, when we reached the head of the queue we would move
from one booth to another, meeting and being photographed with each character in turn. If we agreed to this (she is a tough negotiator, the Y of the DDs) she would not make us stand in another photo queue for the rest of the holiday. I have a feeling we were
quite near the end of our fortnight away so it wasn't that good a bargain - but good enough for the Pictorially Challenged.
After an hour and a half we reached the head of the queue - but, just at that moment
a family swept ahead of us, ushered by a smiley Disney employee. As they grouped themselves before the camera, all the characters gathered around them. There are no flies on my youngest daughter - swiftly she approached the member of staff to ask if we could
also have our photo taken with Mickey, Minnie and Co. The answer was no. But why, if the other family were so honoured, why not us? the Persistent One wanted to know - which was when the member of staff made a colossal mistake.
"Well, you see," she explained, "They are a Special Family!" It was an unfortunate statement.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters was incandescent with rage: "But we're a Special Family too!" she
argued. Sadly to no avail.
Of course, as we rationalised the situation later, we could not tell what made the other family, well, special according to Disney Dictates. They did have, among their number, an
elderly gran in a wheelchair...
There's no doubting we felt special, Mr B and I, standing in line at the Palace like a guard of honour. On wheels. I'd like to hope there was nobody standing on the lawn asking:
"So what makes them so special...?" Though of course there might well have been.
"We owe it all to Shopmobility!" I told the Really Rather Wonderful Adrian when I called in to see him this morning. No, I haven't
taken up with another fella - Adrian is sourcing a nearly new mobility scooter at a knockdown price to go with the new car. I have told Mr B that, once we are all sorted, he will be viewed as "Cool Grandad" by our Truly Tremendous Ten grandchildren. He says
that Time Will Tell.
Of course, for our Royal Line Up to warrant true Disney status, the Duchesses of Cornwall and Gloucester plus Princess Alexandra and assorted equerries and ladies in waiting would have
had to group themselves around us, smiling cheesily for the cameras and doing what I believe is termed "Jazz Hands."
Now that really would have been something special...