The Youngest of the Darling Daughters is a Woman on a Mission. She has seen the state of my kitchen cupboard and is determined to bring Order From Chaos. With the light of reforming zeal in her eyes, she advances on my
cupboard, cloth and disinfectant spray at the ready. “You don’t mind, do you?” she asks me, as she starts pulling jars, bottles and packets from the shelves. Well, you know me, I am not one to deny a Darling Daughter anything at all.
In minutes, the entire contents of the top two shelves are emptied of food, several out of date packets are consigned to the bin and my haphazard shopping habits are exposed
by the fact that my cupboard boasts two jars of only-just-opened brown sauce and no fewer than three full cartons of table salt. You can never have too much table salt. As someone said, like, never.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters is here to stay for a couple of nights. The evacuation of food from my kitchen cupboard wasn’t actually on her agenda when she arrived but she does like to look around to find ways
of helping me, offering help I hadn’t even known I needed until after the Deed was Done. “My cupboards are every bit as bad!” she reassures me, kindly, just in case I might think she is criticising my housekeeping skills. I rather doubt it,
Honestly, there is so much space in my cupboards now my daughter has completed her self-appointed task. I shall have to go on-line and order fresh
supplies, trying hard not to order more salt or brown sauce.
As usual, we pack a great deal into our time together, including some opportunities for my daughter
to have a taste of parts of my life. For example, I take her along to our Open Church afternoon where I am on welcome duty, luring her with the promise of a mug of coffee and a chocolate biscuit. We are invited to clamber up into the organ loft (she carefully
steps behind me on the way up the narrow, twisty stairs and in front of me on the way down - she knows me too well) to inspect the workings of the organ and gaze out over the church below from our vantage point. Two of our youngest visitors were at Chessington
Zoo the day before: Chessington one day, Church the next. When I ask them what they have enjoyed most about the church they both point, soundlessly, up at the organ loft. No, don’t be silly, I didn’t ask them to choose between Chessington and the
Church. Even ascent into the organ loft doesn’t count as a thrill ride.
The second opportunity for me to show my daughter a further instalment of This
is My Life involves a trip on the Pulse bus into town, saving us (I point out) both time and parking. She is well impressed, especially as the bus turns up within a minute or two of our arrival at the bus stop on both the outward and homeward journeys. It
isn’t always thus, I feel obliged to confess. We are off to the cinema where we have tickets booked for First Man, the film about Neil Armstrong who took a small step for man, a giant step for mankind when landing on the moon in 1969, a year before the
Youngest of the Darling Daughters was born. First, however, we pay a visit to the Poppy Shop in the Guildbourne Centre, where members of the Royal British Legion are selling all types of poppies, from knitted ones to metal pins, from poppies for the front
of cars to one I could fasten to the front bumper of my lorry. If I had one, of course. A lorry, that is.
There are several bone shaking episodes in First Man
- at least six people walk out of the cinema during the film, presumably suffering from motion sickness. My daughter and I are made of Stronger Stuff - indeed, I reason, if my kitchen cupboard could survive an almighty shake-up, so could I. It’s all
fine in the end anyway. Neil lands on the moon, as I knew he would, being as I watched him do so, live on grainy black and white TV, all those years ago.
end of her visit, I walk out to her car to wave my daughter off and wish her a safe journey home. We congratulate ourselves on the fact that we have accomplished much and not, for a moment, allowed our jaws to rust. She has done everything she wanted to do
for me, and then more. Before she gets into the car, we both look up at the (almost full) moon and agree that it looks so very much more beautiful, viewed from a distance.
Off she goes, homeward bound, like the First Man returning to Earth. For both of them, Mission Accomplished.