It's the holiday season! Friends and family are jetting off to amazing destinations where they will eat, drink, sunbathe and be very, very merry. I wish them all the happiest of holidays.
I love seeing those aerial maps, courtesy of Facebook, showing where my friends are travelling and the route they will be taking to get there. I love seeing the photographs of the places they visit,
even those pics of their feet sunbathing beside the sparkling waters of a hotel swimming pool, knowing, as I do, that I would never take such a photograph myself, my feet being by far my Most Unattractive Feature.
I especially love it when they are visiting a country, a city, a region where we once holidayed. It gives Mr B and me an excuse to wallow in nostalgia, remembering hotel rooms we made our Home From Home; pools we swam
in; ancient ruins we explored. It used to be my custom and practice to bring a table cloth back with me from our holidays. I still love laying the table with my cloth from Rhodes, decorated with olives or my Sunflower Tablecloth from Croatia. Memories are
made of this. Mr B doesn't quite get the whole Tablecloth Fetish but in this, as in so much more, he is prepared to indulge me.
Holidays - at home or abroad -
are not on the agenda for Mr B and me these days but the Middle of the Darling Daughters has come up with an ace scheme for ensuring we don't miss out. One day a week throughout the summer holidays she plans to bring her Trio - aka The Rascal and The Twinkles
- to spend a Jolly Day Out with Mr B and me. It will be like those wonderful summer holiday weeks which Team Baldwin and their Mum used to spend with us - except that we will spread out the fun over several weeks. I am making plans already for Seaside Days,
visits to Arundel Wildfowl Trust, paddling in the pool at Brooklands Park, fish and chips on the beach, walks along the riverbank; and boat rides in search of water voles. We will ride on Littlehampton’s famous Boat Train, climb aboard the Best Roundabout
in the World and scoot (endlessly) along the prom, prom, prom. It will be SUCH fun!
Today saw the launch of the Summer Reading Challenge in libraries across the
country and I was there in Worthing Library this afternoon, wearing a magician’s hat with Mickey Mouse ears. It could have been worse - my sweet Fellow Volunteer wore a red fish on her head. “Do you get paid to wear those hats?!” Someone’s
Mother asked us. A little lad called Milo, aged about two years old, took great pleasure in alternately grinning at us - and sticking out his tongue at us. I think it's safe to say that he, at least, appreciated our efforts.
More than a hundred children signed up for the challenge today. The on-line registration worked splendidly, proving my earlier fears unfounded. “What's the secret password?” we asked the
children, being rewarded by excited whispers. No, of course I'm not telling you - it's a secret!
Over the next seven weeks, I and my fellow volunteers (all
of them young enough to be my grandchildren) will encourage littl’uns aged 4 - 11 to enter new worlds, some familiar, some foreign; some fun, some sheer fantasy as they read their way through their six books. It's the Land of Books - and, what do you
know, it costs absolutely nothing to travel there.