“Wow!” says Tala who is, regular readers will remember, the elder of the Twinkles by an all-important minute.
are in Brighton’s Sea Life Centre and have only just reached the very first fishy aquarium. I know, having been here before, that many more - and mightier - marvels lie ahead but every time I try to encourage my little granddaughter to move on, she returns
obstinately to the first tank in which any number of fairly ordinary looking fish are swimming about. “Wow!” she says, sheer amazement in her voice, as if it's the first time she has laid eyes on the Finned Ones.
Yes, we are here on the fourth week of our Holiday Days and, once again, the weather is what might be described as “inclement.” The Middle of the Darling Daughters drove first to
our house so that her Trio of Rampaging Rascals could bid good day to their Grandad and he to them. All three were delighted to see that the Giant Penguin was in his Rightful Place on the doorstep to meet them. Faris was similarly delighted to discover the
small dinosaur which he left behind last week was waiting for him on the windowsill. Meanwhile Tala and Lilia, who both have the memory of a small elephant, headed into the kitchen, chanting: “Cyandle! Candle!” They were remembering the great game
they had last week with the pretend tea lights, switching them on so that they could sing Happy Birthday to nobody in particular, then pretend to blow them out. Over and over again. (Much, much later when I turned out the lights in the living room before climbing
the stairs to bed, I would find two twinkling tea lights on the sideboard to remind me of my smallest visitors. I went to bed humming Happy Birthday under my breath. No, I didn't pretend to blow candles out - how old do you think I am?!)
Oh, such Fishy Fun at the Sea Life Centre! We find Nemo - did you know he was lost, once upon a film ago? We watch sharks (Faris’s favourite), mantarays (the M of the DDs’
favourite) and the giant turtles (my favourite.) We are not sure what Tala and Lilia’s faves are - because everything, predictably, is “Wow!” We wander under the tunnel, watching sharks, rays and turtles swim over our heads. We pay a visit
to see the Giant Crab who really, really is. A giant, that is.
I succumb to Pester Power (grandparents are allowed to do this every so often) and buy them each
a “grabber”. These resemble Grandad’s but Faris’s has a shark head and the twins’ have penguin heads. Grandad’s grabber, it has to be said, is nothing like as interesting. Unfortunately on the drive home Tala drops her penguin
on the floor where nobody can retrieve it, even with the two remaining grabbers, Lilia dismantles hers, presumably to find out how it works, and Faris manages to accidentally attack his littlest sister’s nose with his shark. Possibly I made a mistake
in buying them?
Yesterday, while the Trio, their Mum and I were exploring the World Under Water, the Eldest of my (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys was enjoying
a birthday outing at Bristol Zoo. We watch him open our present, courtesy of FaceTime. “Thank you SO much!” he enthuses, as if we have bought him a Present Beyond Price. I well up. Hopefully he doesn't notice.
My dear Sam, animal lover and Ace Story Teller, is eleven years old and off to senior school, come September. How did that happen? There's only one word for it -