My Son in Law, husband of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, says it's a good thing I was able to listen to all the sweet things people had said about me, as incorporated into a touching speech at yesterday's
Double Celebration. It means, he explains, that I won't need to be at my own funeral. It is an interesting thought.
Another Son in Law inspects my bruised and
swollen Operation Eye and asks me what the other fella looks like. I am enchanted to think he believes I may have come off on top in my Bruising Encounter. The remaining Son in Law drives us all round the houses on our way to the party in a bid to avoid
traffic jams caused by the Goodwood Festival of Speed and manages somehow to find the positives in taking what my dear Dad would have called “the scenic route.”
Meanwhile the Darling Daughter in Law almost gives the game away when she phones me the night before the party - but doesn't quite spill the beans that My Boy will be forsaking her midway through a relaxing hotel break to surprise me by his presence.
I am always grateful that these loving in-laws manage to negotiate the undoubted pitfalls of marrying into a family like ours, with all its traditions, its unspoken priorities,
its sheer craziness. Bless them all, as someone more gifted than I once sang.
“Where's my Mum?” I hear someone bellow - but there are lots of Mums
present and I wasn't expecting My Boy, so it never occurred to me that I was the Mum in question till he appeared, like a rabbit out of a hat - before me. Yes, indeed, the Usher Gene went into overload, what did you expect?
Hazel, my Party Partner, looks gorgeous, as I knew she would. I for my part am wearing my Jungle Book dress as I told you I would. My best friend from my long-ago schooldays has donned her brightest,
most colourful dress in a gesture of solidarity; when we stand side by side to have our photograph taken, the people behind the camera have to shield their eyes…
What a wonderful gathering of family and friends! How beautiful the garden looks, with its flowering baskets and colourful bunting! How tasty the food - trays of sandwiches, scones with jam and cream plus bowls of strawberries with mini meringues and
squirty cream! I'd been persuaded by a friend who helpfully drove me to the supermarket that buying strawberries labelled “Perfectly Imperfect” would save me lots of money - then had a nightmare the night before the party that they would turn out
to be misshapen and unappetising. In the event they were, well, Perfect.
Here is Tala, the older of the Twinkles by one important minute. She is sitting up at
the party table replacing candles onto the remains of one of the two birthday cakes ( one for each Birthday Girl, you know it makes sense.) As she does so, she is singing “Happy birthday, dear Nanni” under her breath, finishing the refrain by blowing
on the candles. She sings it again and again, totally engrossed in her game. I want to pick her up and hug her but I don't want to spoil the Magic of the Moment.
is Harry, Hazel’s boyfriend, who is horrified when I tell him I have never been clubbing in my entire life, despite my Great Age. I tell him I will join him and Hazel when they celebrate on Thursday night. What a brilliant idea, he chortles. It's a great
laugh and we keep up a running joke all afternoon. What he would say if I actually turned up on Thursday night - in all my Jungle Book finery of course - we will never know. Unless, that is…
A massive thank you to the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her fella for hosting such an amazing afternoon of fun and frolics. Thank you to the Eldest and the Middle of the Darling Daughters for transporting us
there and back in greatest comfort. Thank you to My Boy for helping to make my day just by turning up.
Thank you to Hazel Bagel, my Golden Girl, for sharing
her 18th birthday Family Celebration with me - not every 18 year old would want to share such an auspicious occasion with their grandmother. Particularly one looking as if she has just stepped out of the pages of the Just So stories.
And thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate, surrounding Hazel and me with so much love and joy.