The second oldest granddaughter, like me, believes that celebrations should ideally be spread out over as long a period as is possible without appearing too needy.
therefore started marking her seventeenth birthday yesterday with breakfast at a local coffee shop. We kept referring to it as "brunch" which it wasn't as the Birthday Girl had to be on a train to college by 10 a.m. and, as everyone knows, the timing of brunch
has to be between breakfast and lunch. The nature of brunch also has it that one doesn't need lunch at lunchtime - but neither my granddaughter nor I felt able to commit to such Abstaining from Sustenance.
Bagel - for, yes, it is she - opted for "something sweet". This turned out to be a truly magnificent cup of chocolate, topped by swirling soft cream and a generous sprinkling of marshmallows. She followed this up with pancakes. As befits my granddaughter this
was Sweetness At The Double.
Brother Jack wasn't able to join us at breakfast, as he was working at a children's activity centre where his Task for the Day was to teach his young charges the rudiments of archery.
He practised on me first, asking me to demonstrate my archery technique. "Dinosaur arms!" was his considered verdict on my disappointing arm action. Apparently this meant that I wasn't lifting my elbow at the correct angle. To be honest I have never seen a
Tyrranosaurus Rex (or any other prehistoric creature, for that matter) wielding a bow and arrow, so I couldn't possibly comment on the fairness or otherwise of this description but I accepted it with due humility. As a Nan, I Know My Place.
While her brother was educating small fry in how not to follow his Nan's bad example, dinosaur-wise, Hazel had an A Level Psychology lesson. I suggested that she should wear her "Birthday Girl" rosette, taking careful note
of any apparent changes in her teacher's and class-mates' behaviour towards her throughout the lesson before spending the last five minutes summarising, in open session. the psychological effects on people of knowing it was her birthday. My granddaughter did
not appear to think this was one of my better ideas. Perhaps I should stick to archery, dinosaur arms and all.
This year, as last year, the Birthday Girl had a ballet exam after college. Life can be so unfair
sometimes, don't you think? Her mother, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, and I accompanied her to the somewhat unprepossessing venue and waited with her until it was almost time for her to take up her place at the examination barre. It must be my Nosey
Nature, but I do love these behind the scenes glimpses into my grand children's lives. There was this sweet, calm and gentle woman painstakingly putting up my Hazel's hair into the required tight bun. She spent ages getting it just right, white ribbon and
all, before turning her careful attention onto another would-be ballerina. Their technique at the barre, their interpretation of the set dances, their characterisation of a Hungarian folk dance - all this would be down to the young dancers themselves. But
for sure they would be the very best turned out in terms of having Not A Hair Out Of Place. For this, I thank the Unsung Hero of the Hair Do.
What a welcome when we returned home! Not as in our home, you understand,
but that of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and the Birthday Girl. There to greet us, Young Faris the Rascal and The Twinkles - all in suitably sparkling form as befits a birthday. Hazel's boyfriend earned himself many plus points by appearing unfazed
at meeting so many family at one and the same time. I told him (somewhat unfairly) that he was in charge of the littl'uns: "OK," he said undaunted, commanding the Trio to "Line up!" He deserves much praise for Total and Misplaced Confidence.
You may well be thinking that thus far there has been no mention of either presents or cake, two important elements in any birthday. It seems a little weak to say that we simply didn't have time for presents until we were all
seated in Los Iguanos - but it was perfectly true. We had to wait even longer, till we reached home, for the cake - a splendid Mumannanna Cake baked the previous day by my daughter and me.
We couldn't decide
on how to decorate the top of the cake. Vanilla buttercream icing? Maltesers? Chocolate hearts? Wafer daisies? So we put them all on for good measure. We know Our Girl well enough to feel sure she will appreciate our Profligate Use of Cake Decorations.
Come the weekend, there will be two more parties - a barbecue for her Limelight Theatre Group friends, a gathering for her girl friends. As I always say, why have one celebration when you could have two ? Or three, for
that matter. Hazel Bagel is, and always has been, A Girl After My Own Heart.
Enjoy every minute of your (prolonged) birthday celebrations, my darling granddaughter. Always my Golden Girl.