The Youngest of the Darling Daughters sends me a photograph taken four years ago on one of our Jolly Outings. It is a selfie, snapped on Brighton Pier, and we are looking extremely happy if more than a little windswept.
In one hand I am clutching a small, purple, toy shark. Yes, really, truly.
My daughter wants to know if I remember the occasion - and of course I do. Granddaughter
Hazel Bagel, though terribly jet-lagged from a trip to New York, was auditioning for a place on one of a national Youth Musical Theatre company’s summer productions. Her mother (Y of the DDs) being aware that she would be at a loose end while the auditions
were taking place, had invited me to join her and to keep her company. I seem to recall I didn’t need to be asked twice.
Before Hazel joined the other hopefuls
in a local church hall where the auditions were being held, she filled me in on the details of her trip and had a speciali souvenir to give me - a fridge magnet depicting the New York skyline. If you have been reading the Daily Blog for the last four years,
you might remember that I had appointed my granddaughter as my virtual tour guide to The Big Apple when Mr B’s failing health meant we had to cancel our planned trip there in celebration of our Golden Wedding anniversary. Our tour guide took her responsibility
extremely seriously, even going so far as to Skype us from the observation deck of the famous Top of the Rocks, twisting round 360 degrees to ensure we had the very best of views and making me feel very slightly giddy, albeit from a distance of several thousand
The photograph is particularly welcome today as Storm Dennis has put paid to the planned visit of the Middle of the Darling Daughters and the Rascally
Trio. My daughter is concerned that she may have disappointed me but I tell her I am relieved, rather than disappointed, as I was worried about her driving here and back through the teeth of the storm with her precious cargo. Instead, she promises, the whole
family will come to see us next weekend; this means that, while at the time of writing they would be thinking of heading home, now I still have next weekend to look forward to. The Son in Law (“Rules is Rules”) is coming too which I am assured
will mean the Rascally Trio are far less, well, Rascally than usual. I wonder if they will still head straight for the biscuit tin...
Anyway, rewind again to four
years ago. We left Hazel Bagel at her audition (where, despite the jet lag, she will shine as we knew she would and earn her place for the summer) and headed off for an afternoon wandering, chatting, drinking coffee and taking in the descriptions of the British
Airways i360 glass viewing pod which was under construction at the time. How likely was it, we wondered, that I would ever enter the fully enclosed pod, glide up to 450 feet, and admire the stunning views across Brighton and the South Coast? The answer, sadly,
being “not very likely” being, as everyone knows, a Wimp of the First Order.
You are wondering about the small purple shark, aren’t you? I have
to say, there’s not much gets past you, is there? At one point in our lovely afternoon we found ourselves on the pier where our attention was grabbed by one of the amusements which has entertained us and various grandchildren over the years. It was a
dolphin race, where the players had to hurl balls into a slot in order to encourage their dolphin to move along and - hopefully - reach the finish before any of the other dolphins. We selected “our” dolphin, choosing to work together on the hurling
of balls - which was possibly cheating a bit, especially as the other players were not only playing alone but were also probably all under ten years old. Not surprisingly, we won - our delight was unbounded - and we were rewarded with the purple shark
and stony glares from our competitors and their parents.
Which is why our obligatory selfie shows me clutching the small purple shark in my arms, while grinning
like the Cheshire Cat on a particularly good day. I’m glad the toy shark made it into the photo as it will always remind me of our prize-winning afternoon.
message the Youngest of the Darling Daughters to say that our days out together are always special but that this was probably one of my favourites. It might have been the February sunshine, the excitement of a day out in Brighton, the City by the Sea,
or simply having plenty of time to chat as we idly rambled our way here and there.
Or, maybe, it was the shark?