It’s the most horrible, horrible job - but the Youngest of the Darling Daughters is determined to crack it.
always been a most determined person, even as a littl’un. Mr B and I remember the day she took part in a school sponsored walk which had had to be re-arranged from a Saturday ramble across the fields around our village (when I could have accompanied
her) to a rather less picturesque circuit of the school playground during the school day. She arrived home in quite a state and was off school with sun-stroke for the next two days. I was mostly annoyed with the school staff for not spotting that she was struggling
but had to ask her why on Earth she hadn’t stopped if she was feeling so bad. She looked at me, perplexed: “I couldn't do that!” she said, stoutly. She was five years old.
Over the last few days while she has been staying with us, she has bent her unflinching determination towards clearing as much of the loft as was humanly possible in the time at her disposal (If you’ll excuse the pun.) She knew
only too well that I was fretting that the Loft Clearance Project would be well off completion before the workmen arrive on March 3rd. In vain did I beseech her to be careful, not to strain herself, to try not to fall between the rafters, Miss Determination
could not be deterred.
Yesterday afternoon she sent me to bed for an afternoon nap. This was mostly out of concern for my well-being but may also have had something
to do with the fact that I was rather less than helpful. The trouble was that I had a story to tell for virtually everything that descended from On High. Interesting though I might like to think my stories are (you will be able to judge for yourself as I plan
to relate a few of them on future blogs) they did tend to bring the proceedings to a halt while I recounted them to the only person around who would listen to me. That wouid be the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, then, desperate to get on with the job but
feeling obliged to humour me as I revelled in the past.
I’m sure you would like to hear an example? Among the treasures in a dusty box were two folders -
one titled “Class One Magazine” and the second “Class One Magazine - volume 2.” Check out the title pages of both and you would find that the author went by the name of “Jacqueline Usher” and was my ten year old self.
Our form teacher wasn’t too sure about my idea for a class magazine but I persevered (it is possible that my youngest daughter owes her determined character to me)
and managed to persuade eight of my class-mates to submit articles. When I tell you that there were no fewer than fifty children in my class of fellow Baby Boomers, you will understand that my powers of persuasion were sorely lacking. Mary Eldridge provided
a page of riddles while Leonard Parsons entertained with a series of jokes (Dad to son: “Its wonderful how television works, isn’t it son? Son to Dad: “Easy, Dad, just turn the knob and it comes on!”) Lily Adams set out a quite amazingly
erudite quiz on “When did they live?” (Answers on page 5) and I contributed a short story about a corner shop and a fairly annoying poem about Road Safety which ended, piously: “Now there’s a moral here you see / for children just like
you and me / please learn your drill for safety’s sake / make sure a careful look you take.” John Wood has drawn a prescient picture of man landing on the moon (a full twelve years before it happened) and writing a Dear Mum letter home.
The magazine has been boosted by three or four pages of pictures cut and pasted from magazines including the Annigoni portraits of Her Maj and the Duke of Edinburgh. The
front cover shows a photo of a cat and a fox drinking from the same saucer. It would be good to think this was in some way symbolic but I guess I just liked the photo and, as the Esteemed Editor, I presumably had the final say.
But here’s the important point. Mr Smith, teacher of Class 1, was so impressed with the efforts of the eight of us that he insisted every single member of the class should contribute to Volume
2 of Class One Magazine. There is a picture of a lion on the front of volume two and, as editor, I have written a short foreword. Less impressively, I have also contributed yet another Safety First poem all about the dangers of cycling three abreast.
This morning my daughter and I make it to the local amenity site (aka “the tip”) with a car full of rubbish. It’s her last contribution
to the Loft Clearance Project before she heads for home, bless her, where she is looking forward to a long shower to wash away all the dust and grime of my loft and a large glass of wine.
“Thank you” simply doesn’t come near what I want to say...