The mist hanging over the fields adjoining the car park at Honeysuckle Lane was so thick that we would have to strain our eyes to spot any Feathered Friends in the trees sheltering from the rain. If, that is, any Feathered
Friend were inclined to show itself in such inclement weather. It was not the most auspicious of beginnings for the first Birdy Group meeting of the new term.
I knew the Lovely Linda, leader of the Birdy Group,
would turn up to collect me whatever the weather. I knew, too, that she would have a Plan B which would almost certainly feature coffee and, possibly, some kind of cake or pastry.
True to form, having agreed
among the few Intrepid Souls who had braved the rain to meet up that there was little point in getting wetter than was strictly necessary, we all headed down the road to a nearby garden centre for coffee and a chat. In all there were six of us queuing up at
the counter to order our hot drinks.
The staff were under pressure; the queue behind us was lengthening. The girl behind the counter poured my filter coffee with milk but waved my proffered tenner away. "I
can't take your money," she told me. Result! I thought, exultantly - until the Not So Very Generous One explained that she wasn't "till trained" so I would have to wait until her colleague had finished dispensing coffees and was free to take my cash. What
a disappointment - though not so disappointing as the lack of cheese scones which Our Leader had been looking forward to. (By the time we left, an hour later, there was a plate of freshly baked cheese scones on the counter - alas, too late, too late.)
It wasn't just the Birdy Group which marked up a "first" today. It was Young Morgan's first day at Birchgrove Primary School ("Where every child is a star") and The Rascal's first day at his new Pre-School. Grand-daughter
Eleanor will be starting in Sixth Form, great nephew Jay becomes a Middle School pupil, while great-nephew Ryland has his own First Day at School Moment this week. I love all the photographs on Facebook of young'uns in their New-Term-Smart uniforms, eager
faces shining. I'm hoping that they all have the very best of First Days.
I can't wait to FaceTime Morgan to find out all about his first day. How did the school cope with the advent of the Duracell Bunny,
I wonder? Trouble is, I am spending the afternoon on the Big Friendly Read desk at the Library and, though I am supposed to finish at 4 p.m. the queue of eager readers lining up to claim their certificates and "gold" medals grows ever longer - especially when
a brother and sister present themselves at the desk, each having read all six books in one go. That means listening to them relating the salient points of twelve books. Twelve! I am impressed that they can remember the main events in each book - I'm trying
to listen intently and give them the time they deserve, while horribly aware how many others are waiting their turn.
I love it when the six year old who hid behind his mother because he was "too scared" to
talk to me, gradually emerges with growing confidence to tell me about the books he has read. It would be good to think that this is a compliment to my powers of persuasion - but I know full well that it is actually the Power of Books. Which is one of the
reasons I volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge every year to watch, at first hand, a love of reading take hold.
One little lass tells me about the book she has read in which the heroine is able to walk
into the pictures she sees. What picture would she like to walk into? I ask her, fascinated. Perhaps a picture of a party, she suggests, with lots of cakes? Or the seaside?
I finally leave the library, half
an hour later than planned. At home I FaceTime my (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys and Morgan provides me with a shortened version of his First Day Experience. To be honest, I hear more about the contents of his lunch box (lovingly prepared, no doubt, by his
mum, the Darling Daughter in Law) than about the events of the day.
Afterwards I look at the photograph of Morgan and his two older brothers which his proud parents have posted on Facebook. Suddenly I have
What if I could just - please - walk inside the picture and be there with them on this Very Special Day?
Now, that would be a First...