The Youngest of the Darling Daughters has made us a list. On it are all the tasks she thinks we should aim to complete while she is here with Mr B and me. She also wants, if at all possible, to manage at least 10,000 steps
as recorded by her Fitbit. It's going to be a Busy Day.
She arrived yesterday, bless her, in time to watch Child of our Time on the television with me. It was good to have her company watching Dr Robert Winston's
study of children born in Millennium Year and comparing their exploits with those of Teenagers We Have Known. But that was then, and this is now and her main purpose in being here is not actually to watch a TV programme (fascinating though it may be) but to
accompany me to a hospital appointment. This is Number One on her list.
I've been instructed not to drive to or from the hospital as I may need to have drops in my eyes. I could have travelled there and back
by bus but my daughter was having none of it and I must confess I didn't argue with her, the thought of a whole day in her company (list or not) being just too beguiling for words.
I warn her we may be in
for a long wait - but, hey, we have hardly taken our seats in the Eye Clinic when a cheery nurse calls my name and introduces herself as Colette. She takes my blood pressure, struggles to find my pulse (I assure her I am still alive) and provides me with lots
of rather scary information about my forthcoming surgery. I state, with a confidence I am far from feeling, that of course I will be able to lie flat on my back for an hour without moving. She doesn't put drops in my eyes. We are free to leave in no time at
I tell my daughter that I feel guilty having dragged her all this way for No Good Reason but she reminds me that we have a list of things to do and several thousand steps to walk. With this happy thought
in mind, we head off for the beach and a stroll by the seaside.
There are wilting bunches of flowers fixed to lots of the benches we pass on our way. We decide they must have been left there on Mothering Sunday.
We don't share the thought aloud, but I think we are both silently contemplating how lucky we are to be together in person today. It's possible, mind you, that the Youngest of the Darling Daughters is thinking no such thing but rather is calculating how many
steps it is from the Sea Lane Café to the Orange Boat, where many a Birdy Group has started its Monthly Amble. We sit for a while so that I can catch my breath and gaze out at the first turbines of the wind farm being erected eight miles out to sea.
On a clear day like today they are very visible out there on the horizon.
Back home we have lunch in the sunny back garden with Mr B before embarking on the rest of the tasks on the list. There are telephone
calls to be made. Dishwasher salt to be added to my dishwasher. Plants to be watered. My greying locks to be tenderly treated with semi-permanent dye. "Tick, tick, tick!" says my daughter, with great satisfaction, as she marks off all the tasks completed.
We decide to pay a visit to beautiful Field Place, another of Worthing's hidden gems and the venue for both the Eldest of the Darling Daughters wedding reception and our Ruby Wedding party. By way of contrast, I point
out the large expanse where Rascal and The Twinkles enjoyed a happy afternoon scooting around the deserted car park to their hearts' content on a recent visit. ("Where did you take the Trio when they visited - somewhere exciting?" "Oh, yes, indeed, I took
them to a car park, it was SUCH fun!") The Youngest of the Darling Daughters suggests we take another walk around the bowling greens in the interests of our Stepping Out target.
She makes our dinner,
she clears up afterwards - then it's a long drive home for my lovely girl. We have both walked our socks off and completed every task on the list. It has been a quite startlingly productive day.
As we walk
out to her car parked outside, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters mourns the fact that for some unfathomable reason she can never manage to be quite so productive in her own home. Ever helpful, I have some motherly advice for her:
"Make yourself a list!" I tell her, sagely.