It’s early in the morning and I am still in my dressing gown when the door bell rings. I open the door to find an extremely tall black fella standing on the Welcome mat, dressed in a ParcelForce uniform and with
a beaming smile which starts at his eyes and stretches right across his face.
“Well, hallo - Nanni!” he cries.
The easy familiarity of his greeting momentarily floors me - do I have an eleventh grandchild of whom I have no knowledge? Are Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell hiding behind the ceoanthus bush waiting
to spring out and introduce me to a Long Lost Family member? There surely has to be a mistake.
The genial giant gently deposits an extremely large parcel
just inside the door and steps back the required two metres, watching expectantly for my reaction. The label on the parcel reads: “Nanni and Grandad Ball.” The mystery is solved.
My friendly Mr ParcelForce has clearly more than entered into the spirit of the occasion. Perhaps it was not only the address label which excited him but all the others, liberally plastered around the sides of the brown paper
parcel. “This Way Up” reads one label, accompanied by four pictures of Santa. “Sent with so much love” proclaims another, while a third announces: “Delivered from the North....Hampshire.” I find myself imagining the scene
in the sorting office, with all the delivery men and women competing to be allowed to deliver this Extra Special Parcel.
I don’t need a label to know
that the parcel has come from the Rascally Trio and their parents. The Middle of the Darling Daughters has had difficulty stopping the Trio from spilling the beans and had told me to expect a delivery - though she thought it wouldn’t arrive until Monday.
I carry the precious package into the living room to show Mr B.
Here I am faced with a problem. The parcel is so beautifully wrapped, each of the labels
carrying such very thoughtful messages, that I can’t bring myself to rip the parcel open in my usual excitable manner when faced with a present. I kid you not, I actually leave the parcel sitting on the floor for a good half-hour gazing upon it. Finally
I take a pair of scissors and slowly remove the brown wrapping paper taking care not to spoil any essential elements of the packaging.
Inside, another box,
wrapped in silvery paper, and labelled “Nanni and Grandad’s Advent Box 2020.” Inside the box, our daughter informs us when I call her up to thank her, is a present for every day in December - a mixture of treats and presents hand-made
by the Rascals. “Filled with love by lunatics” reads yet another label.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling a bit down in the dumps
knowing we will emerge from the latest Lockdown, only to be trapped in another nightmare of conflicting rules and regulations. Even prisoners get time off their sentence for good behaviour. Oh, yes, I have been very, very good I can assure you. There’s
no way I would find myself on Santa’s naughty list. This makes me recall a visit to Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland several years ago when we were approached by a rather fetching elf wheeling an Elfometer which would, he assured us, record our individual
scores on the Naughty - Nice scale. I went first, and was awarded a high rating; My Boy, father of the (Not So Very Little Welsh Boys) went second and was rated Rather Naughty. At which his boys decided it might be better, all things considered, to decline
the elf’s invitation to participate....
Naughty or Nice, it makes no matter because we have taken possession of our Special Delivery.
It’s the gift that will go on giving all through the month of December...