The Youngest of the Darling Daughters is taking Mr B and me for a walk. We are going round to her sister’s (aka the Middle of the Darling Daughters) home and we are going to share lunch with the Rascally Trio.
Please don’t worry about what sounds like a serious breach of Lockdown rules; Mr B and I are at least seventy miles away and are making our visit courtesy of our youngest
daughter’s mobile phone and the Wonder of WhatsApp.
I often go for an afternoon walk with my youngest daughter. We chat while she is walking through
the fields surrounding the village where she lives and while I am wandering around my kitchen pretending to be tidying up as we natter about anything and everything. Occasionally we lose the signal (I trust I am using the correct terminology) and realise that
we are talking away but there is nobody at the other end of the phone. When this happens, I replace the phone and wait for my daughter to call again, when we can resume our conversation where we left off - though it is possible we may lose a little continuity,
neither of us ever being absolutely certain when our conversation was interrupted. It’s not so much losing the signal as losing the plot...
reached our destination, we switch to WhatsApp and we watch as our daughter knocks on her sister’s door before retreating to a safe distance at the front window. We have, it turns out, interrupted the Trio in a major craft activity which we are not allowed
to inspect as it is Christmas-related and intended for their Grandad and me. Lilia (younger of the twins by one important minute) does almost give the game away, so delighted is she to see us, but her aunt just manages to prevent her from Show and Tell.
The Trio’s mother brings out toasted sandwiches and perches the children on seats at the window, using the windowsill as a makeshift table. For her sister and herself,
there is a steaming beverage in a mug. I kid you not, I could almost smell the coffee. So much so that I had to head out to the kitchen to put the kettle on while Mr B stayed put.
Wouldn’t it have been amazing, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters muses, if there had been such a thing as WhatsApp or Zoom or FaceTime all those years ago when, immediately after graduating from university, she and her friend
Nikki headed off for a year Down Under? What a difference that would have made! Especially for her dad and me, back home and never knowing where she was from one month to the next. I have often thought the same thing; however it must be said that, had email
been invented then, there would have been no weekly letters, sent in hope to various Poste Restante addresses to be picked up whenever the traveller passed that way. She still has 51 letters (only one went missing!) tucked away safely, where emails would have
disappeared into the ether.
Yesterday was a day for virtual gatherings. It being my Little Sister’s significant birthday (as in, one with an 0 at the end)
we managed to bring together a virtual Brothers and Sisters meet-up, the four of us sharing a screen as we once shared a childhood. Every so often one of us would “go missing” from the screen, including the Birthday Girl for a good few minutes.
“Come back, Maggie!” we kept calling - apparently she could hear us even though we couldn’t see or hear her. Lockdown couldn’t spoil her special day as family and friends put their heads together to make sure it was a Birthday to Remember.
Later in the day, we heard, she would be participating in a Family Quiz via Zoom including one round where apparently all the questions would concern facts and figures about her - wife, mother and grandmother that she is.
I just hope she knew the answers. Though, when in doubt, there’s always Google...