The Middle of the Darling Daughters telephones me, sounding a little concerned. She has arranged a special package to be delivered to our house and understands it has been delivered. Could I check on the doorstep to see
if, by chance, her special package has been left there for us to find.
Phone in hand I head to the front door, open it, scan the empty doorstep - then lift my
head to see the Rascally Trio and their mamma in the drive laughing at me. A very special delivery indeed.
They come armed with a “rainbow bouquet”
of flowers (Lilia’s choice, apparently), a box of cherries (their Grandad will be so pleased! I told them) and the wherewithal to concoct an afternoon tea for all of us. Scones, jam, clotted cream and strawberries - it’s a veritable feast, fit
for a king and queen and set before our very eyes. Apparently the Trio had been primed to shout “Surprise! Surprise!” when I appeared at the front door but in all the excitement of seeing each other, this somehow was missed. Not that it was really
necessary, all things considered.
My daughter had somehow guessed that her Dad and I were feeling a little down-hearted and in need of a pick-me-up - and who better
to pick us up, shake us up a bit, and remind us of all that is sweet in our world? Mr B’s face when he saw our visitors was a picture. When he saw the box of cherries, well, his cup runneth over....
Surprises being what they are, I hadn’t prepared for the invasion but it hardly mattered; the Trio know exactly how to amuse themselves at our house, even when they can’t play indoors. After a picnic lunch in the
back garden, the three of them set out, with all their usual determination, to water the garden. I sent up silent thanks for yesterday’s downpour of rain which ensured that the water butt was functioning as any self-respecting water butt should. As well
as drowning the sunflowers, the dahlias, the geraniums, and the rest of my plants in watery love, all three expended a good deal of more water on the plant pots in which they each planted a cherry stone. They have all written their names on their own plant
pot in black felt tip pen (Lilia has added hearts and flowers to her inscription) so that I will know whose is whose when I report back on their progress. The responsibility is almost too much for me...
We took ourselves down to the sea-front for a short-but-oh-so-sweet outing to give their Grandad a rest. Out at sea, dozens and dozens of kite surfers were sweeping across the water, a spectacular riot of colour against the
blue, blue sky, and we oohed and aahed in unison as one after another was lifted into the air and carried along by the breeze. It was like the most exciting of theatrical performances - a heady mix of the dramatic and the comic as some surfers made perfect
landings and others found their flights meeting a watery conclusion. Even from the beach we could feel the thrilling sense of freedom as the kites wheeled above us.
The Trio collected stones from the beach and lined them up carefully on the bench where their mamma and I were sitting. We were socially distanced, of course, which was useful as it meant there was room for the collection between us. We knew from long
experience that there might be trouble when it came to deciding which stones should travel back with us and which would have to be returned to the beach - but we guessed correctly that the lure of ice-creams at the nearby beach café might prove to be
just the distraction required.
Back home the Trio carried their picnic blanket and plates of chicken nuggets and chips into a corner of the garden where they reckoned
we wouldn’t be able to see them. The Middle of the Darling Daughters and I sat nursing mugs of coffee and catching up on all the news. As Mr B would have said (had he not been engrossed in the footie on TV) there was no chance of our jaws rusting...
They are on their way home now, my extra special delivery. “Thank you for coming!” I message my daughter. I know just what she will say by way of response because
it’s what she always says: “We will always come, dear mum...”
My dear Dad wasn’t really a poetry fan but he did have a favourite poem:
“Come in the evening, come in the morning;
Come when expected or come without warning.
Only - come!”
My thoughts, exactly....