Our friends Sue and John have come round on a special mission - to introduce Mr B to Tottenham Hotspur’s brand new (and truly amazing) stadium at White Hart Lane. They understand that there is no way Mr B - aka one
of Spurs’ longest and most loyal supporters - will get to visit the new stadium. There is, however, a way in which the stadium can come to him.
A few days
ago, as a kind of “starter for ten”, they brought round the souvenir programme from the very first match played at the new stadium. Mr B pored over it for ages, drinking it all in and frequently drawing my attention to particular points of interest,
generally when I was in the middle of (i) loading the washing machine; (ii) unloading the washing machine; and / or (iii) hanging up on the drier all the washing previously loaded, washed, and unloaded from the washing machine. He was most taken with a series
of aerial photographs charting the progress from demolition to rebuilding.
Today, our friends took it a step further by coming round to show Mr B photos and video
clips captured on John’s mobile phone with a running commentary, including the difficulty of parking nearby and the problems in getting a drink at half-time, despite the installation of the longest bar in any football ground - but mostly about
the game and the atmosphere. It was, Mr B said later, just like being there.
These days “being there” can be a bit of a problem for Mr B and me. Yesterday,
for example, I wasn’t able to get to the 18th birthday celebration of my great-niece, Amy. I wanted so much to be there, not only for the Birthday Girl, but also for her grandmother, aka my Little Sister - but the problems just seemed insurmountable.
I had to accept defeat and decline the Invitation. Fortunately I was represented by the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her family - and, notably, by one of my famous (if only within the family) birthday banners.
The Birthday Girl’s Mum, the Delightful Debs, had said that a banner would be perfectly acceptable for a family gathering at my sister’s home last Sunday though probably not for main party
venue, a very posh club. No worries, I said, my banners - just like me - Know Their Place. But, hey, when it came to it, my banner went down so very well that the Birthday Girl decided it should be the one and only decoration allowed at the Main Event. It
was strung up across the bar (how very fitting!) proclaiming for all to see that “Amy is Eighteen.” I do like a banner that is both detailed and self-explanatory. My Little Sister sent me a photograph so that I could see it in all its recycled
glory. It was just like, well, Being There.
This is the point, you see - if circumstances curtail your trips out, whether to football matches or to birthday parties,
there are always ways of projecting yourself into Wherever It Is You Want To Be. No, you don’t even need to be Harry Potter (though I’m not saying it wouldn’t help.)
I may not be able to spend long days out wandering round beautiful gardens - but I can plant seeds on the windowsill in the smallest bedroom or trot round my estate (aka as the back garden) while doing a little judicious weeding. My
sunflower seedlings are, indeed, already looking like champions in the making. Or, rather, the growing. I am keeping a beady eye on them, trying to work out which four I shall choose for our Annual Sunflower Competition, even though I know already that Mr
B’s will win, because they always do. Despite the fact that I am the one who waters them, feeds them and chats encouragingly to them each day. Life is not always fair but, hey, one can approach each day with hope.
In the next few days, we will be welcoming other visitors - the Youngest of the Darling Daughters arrives tomorrow and will stay a couple of nights, my Little Sister and her fella will take her place
on Wednesday afternoon. We will have such a lot to talk about.
“Have you made a list of things we need to do?” enquiries my daughter, who likes
to spend her time gainfully, helping bring order to chaos especially where my cupboards are concerned. I respond that so far I suggest our to do list should read “Have some fun together”, followed by “Don’t let our jaws rust”
and “Take several sad selfies.” Can she think of anything else, I ask? She reckons I just about it have covered.
Most of all, I think to myself, won’t
it be simply splendid that, whatever we do and wherever we go, she will, well, be there...