I have often been accused - usually by Mr B - of getting my priorities wrong. Today is a case in point.
midday or shortly after, exactly half my immediate family - as in, two children and five grandchildren (including the Trio of Rampaging Rascals) - will arrive for Easter She-Nanni-gans. The whole house is quivering in anticipation. Or, possibly, fear.
The two Darling Daughters have urged me not to go to a lot of trouble, cooking, cleaning and the like - they will each bring plentiful provisions, they say (rather like Captain
Scott setting out for Antarctica.) Still, I say, it won’t take much for me to rustle up my famous (but only within the family) Madras beef curry the night before - and my daughter, recognising my need to play the hostess, even in a limited capacity,
agrees we will each make a curry, one beef (me) and one chicken (her) while her sister will be put on Rice Duty. Secretly I decide I will make an Easter cake which will be much like every other cake I have made over the past few years since the Divine Delia
put me right on a few basic cake-baking facts which had somehow passed me by for several decades of Soggy Bottoms and Sinking Middles.
What with the cooking of
cake and curry, plus the buying of Easter eggs and preparations for the traditional Easter Egg Hunt in the garden, you would imagine I have plenty on my plate to be going on with. It is, however, all a matter of priorities and just at the moment my priority
has to be Dressing the Giant Penguin.
I was giving this due consideration when I heard from the Middle of the Darling Daughters that the Trio of Rampaging Rascals
are already excitedly discussing the Giant Penguin’s Easter attire. Will he be dressed as a Dinosaur? Will he be wearing a football shirt? Will he have a hat on his head or just his curly black wig? Oh, my dears, the pressure!
I’m sure I used to be much more imaginative when it came to Dressing the Penguin. I seem to remember that it was a point of honour that he should never be dressed in the same clothes twice. Obviously
over the years I have set myself up to fail. I should have listened to young Sam, oldest of the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys who, animal lover that he is, declares that all animals, even of the stuffed variety, should be allowed to dress in their own fur.
I have occasionally been taken to task by my Little Sister for not putting the Giant Penguin out on the doorstep to greet her when she pays an always welcome visit. My Little
Sister is like Peter Pan, in that she never grows up. The older grandchildren, on the other hand, accept the Penguin’s presence on the doorstep with rueful grins, suggesting that I have failed to take account of the fact that they are now legally grown-ups
and so far too old to be excited by the like of a Giant Penguin, however smartly (or not) he may be dressed.
It is, of course,
Easter so the Giant Penguin should ideally sport a bonnet. One, perhaps, adorned with tropical fruit or spring flowers, and certainly beribboned. I should have started thinking about this days ago; as usual, I have left it Far Too Late.
I’m thinking of dressing him as an Easter Bunny. I’m sure I have some white cardboard somewhere from which I could (possibly) fashion rabbit ears. The only trouble is,
I may need to turn out a cupboard or two in order to find it. Then, always providing I can find the cardboard and can cut out two vaguely ear-shaped pieces, I will have to find a way of fixing said ears to the Penguin’s head. And, after going to all
that trouble, can I be sure it will be good enough? Will the Giant Penguin look like the Easter Bunny - or is this all expecting too much?
Then I remember who
is coming. Whatever the Giant Penguin is wearing will be just fine as far as my visitors are concerned.
Just so long as he is there, in his place, on the door-step.