My Little Sister Maggie contacts me via FaceTime - she is on a Mission. She has, she warns me, just half an hour to chat before she has to meet her fella from his Voluntary duties at a local visitor centre. It is
just as well to set out the parameters before we embark on our sisterly conversation, otherwise we might natter on till dinner time. As Mr B is always pleased to point out, there is never any danger of our jaws rusting...
First of all, however, before arriving at the main point of her call, she has to revert to her Nurse Maggie persona to enquire after Susan’s progress. For Susan, read me. Regular readers will
surely remember that Nurse Maggie looked after me for five precious days after my shoulder surgery. Every morning she brought me coffee and jumped into bed with me for a chat. It’s not something taught (or recommended) in nursing school but it was such
a tonic. I was called “Susan” after Maggie’s favourite doll from her childhood. Susan had droopy legs, on account of the loose elastic that held her head, arms and legs to her body. I was just, well, droopy.
Nurse Maggie is pleased to hear that I am nowhere near as droopy these days, that I can swing my right arm (gently) and reach my bottom. This is the kind of progress a nurse likes to hear; why I feel
the need to tell the World At Large is beyond me.
We then have a chat about the recent visit to hers by two of the Darling Daughters and the Trio of Rampaging
Rascals. I have a fair idea how much fun was had by all as the Youngest of the Darling Daughters (who knows I can’t bear to miss out on anything) has sent me lots of great photographs, including a short video of the Trio in the bath - not just any bath,
you understand, but one with little jets sending bubbles everywhere. Bathtime at our house will seem very boring after such fun.
I was particularly impressed,
I tell my Little Sister, that she managed to persuade Lilia (younger of the twins by one important minute) to join in the cookery session. Whenever I introduce such activities at our house, Faris and Tala are always Up For Anything - but Miss Independent Lilia
will insist on taking herself off somewhere. A short time later it will occur to me that we haven’t heard a peep out of our youngest granddaughter for a while which always, but always, means she is, rather than Up for Anything, Up To No Good.
Maggie explains that she had the assistance of a special ingredient - chocolate. They were cooking crispy chocolate cakes (or, as Tala called them) Christmas cakes. I need
to get my (chocolate) act in order, next time the Trio come to call.
We then move on to other topics - my sister has just been to see Gary Barlow’s musical
The Calendar Girls and loved it. I tell her how the Middle of the Darling Daughters and I went to see the stage play, some years ago, and how I loved that even more than the film. I remember we laughed and cried, my daughter and I, possibly slightly under
the influence of the two mini bottles of red wine she had smuggled into the theatre in her capacious handbag.
In fact we are approaching the end of our half
hour when my sister suddenly remembers the main reason for her call. At Christmas I gave her a Grandparents Book with a promise that I would help her complete it by chatting through our memories each time we spoke, either on the phone or in person. This afternoon
she had planned for us to use our time talking about our parents and their parents, what they did for a living, where they met. She knows that I, custodian of the family’s history, will surely have the answers. Except, of course, that we have run out
I’m not too worried because it will give me time to consult my records to make sure I am correct about dates and places. Even more so, because it
will mean we will have to make more opportunities to chat as she works her way through the Grandparents Book.
Which was obviously one of the reasons I gave it
to her in the first place. It’s not just a record book - it’s a Promise of Things To Come.