The Rascally Trio arrived with their mum and dad in tow. They were a little bothered by the fact that the front gate appeared unusually unyielding but their mamma saved the day by lifting it open, despite having her arms
full of food for our dinner.
In they came and, as the Trio made for the biscuit tin, I sent their father (“Rules is Rules”) up into the loft. Don’t
get me wrong, I am not usually so unkind as to consign my sons in law to the attic when they come to visit - but this particular visitor had kindly agreed to clear the remaining few boxes from the Upper Heights of our house in time for when the Loft Insulating
Team (LIT) come to call in just over a week’s time. All he asked in return was the use of the shower after he had completed his task. Usually I would have treated him to a roast beef dinner by way of showing my gratitude but that would have been superfluous
to requirements given that the Middle of the Darling Daughters had been cooking up a splendid meal for all of us.
The Trio, too, turned their hands to cooking
up a treat - but for the delectation of the garden birds. Were they prepared, I asked them, to cook up something truly, truly disgusting? Tala, the elder of the twins by one important minute, screwed up her nose but nevertheless joined her siblings in the
kitchen where the three of them prepared a sticky treat of fat, bird food and mealworms (the latter added for the Extra Yuck Factor) presented in half a coconut shell. They were a little disappointed that after hanging the treat from the bird feeder, there
wasn’t a sudden rush of feathered diners but I assured them they would undoubtedly come when we weren’t looking. In the meantime the Trio decided to water the already sodden garden, with the help of a small yellow watering can and their all-time
favourite garden feature, the water butt.
The Twins had each made me a card of themselves with me. Lilia’s portrait of me makes me look a little like a fat,
pink worm but this somewhat startling effect is mitigated by the fact that she has adorned my face with long eye-lashes and rather splendid ear-rings. I am most gratified because in real life I have mousy straggly eye-lashes and I have never been able
to wear ear-rings on account of my strangely shaped ear-lobes...
The weather being what might be called inclement, I had planned ahead with activities for the
Rascals. As well as cooking up a treat for the birds, there was a magazine each - Faris’s gift on the cover of his magazine was a Lego model Tyrannosaurus Rex which he proceeded to put together with an expert eye for detail. I was most impressed. The
girls, meanwhile, set to with their own magazines and colouring pencils, allowing us all a little respite during which we could revive ourselves with mugs of coffee.
Next, another treasure rescued from the loft - the wooden dolls house which once belonged (I guess it still does!) to the three Darling Daughters and which was notable for the bright 70s wallpaper which decorated its walls. Yes, there it was in all
its glory, the brown and orange wallpaper of our main living room and the yellow and orange of the girls’ bedroom from our first house in Hillingdon. A blast from the past if ever there was one. The fact that so far we have come across very little furniture
with which to make the house a home did not trouble the Twins one little bit, especially when they came across small figures of a bride and groom, who turned out to be just the right size to share a bath together - still in all their wedding finery.
Dinner was delicious, the company was excellent, the chat was fascinating in its infinite variety. The Middle of the Darling Daughters insisted on clearing up the kitchen
while the Trio pulled in their pyjamas, ready for the drive home. Mr B was ready with his own regular farewell - a pound coin for each of them.
It seems that all
my forward planning had worked out. However the most special moment of our lovely day came early on when I showed the Rascals an old photo of their Grandad, aged twenty-nine, with his works cricket team (they played Twenty Twenty long before it became a prominent
feature of the national game.) Could they spot Grandad? I asked the Trio who eyed the strange gathering of young men in their cricketing whites with some puzzlement.
“Just look for Grandad’s smile,” I suggested so they took turns to look again and immediately, one after the other, identified Mr B correctly.