It isn’t always easy to come up with reasons to be grateful for Lockdown but, believe it or not, I can come up with a few. That’s the power of positive thinking.
For starters, would I ever have completed the Loft Clearance Project, had I other more exciting things to do, places to go, or people to visit?
Now, I have a prime example of a reason to be grateful that another member of the family had Time on her Hands as a result of Lockdown in the shape of one of my favourite Christmas presents. “I’ve wanted to do this for
you for ages,” the Youngest of the Darling Daughters told me, “but I’ve never had the time before...” It didn’t take much imagination on my part to guess at just how many hours of patient work went into this extra special present
Hopefully, you are now all agog to know exactly what I uncovered as I unwrapped my gift. I will keep you guessing for another paragraph, while I explain some
background. There’s nothing like a bit of background for putting things in context, I always think.
Way back when grandchildren Jack and Hazel were littl’uns,
it became a tradition for them to decamp to Worthing for a week’s summer holiday with their Nan and Grandad. Also known as Mr B and me. Their mother, Youngest of the Darling Daughters, would come too as, then as now, she never likes to miss out on anything.
Like mother, like daughter. Every year we filled our days with seaside adventures, occasional outings, swimming, picnics, barbecues, French cricket, games of Spelling Sparkler round the dinner table - all punctuated by singalongs in the car as we travelled
hither and thither each day. In the early years, we sang nursery rhymes, gradually graduating to songs about animals, the latest record by McFly (I learnt all the words to every one of the fifteen tracks on their record that particular year) and finally the
Magic of the Musicals.
Every year, at the end of another action-packed week, I would take a well-known tune and come up with a song in a bid to encapsulate
all the joy, love and laughter of the holiday. Oh, the times I lay awake on the last night desperately trying to finish off the last few verses in my head and wondering for the umpteenth time what made me think it was such a good idea to start such a tradition
in the first place!
If I ever needed an answer to that anguished question, I have it now. It’s a book containing photographs of every annual seaside visit
from the year 2000 to 2012 illustrating the words of all my songs. Every song, the story of a particular week - “The Weeks We Went to Worthing” as the book is titled.
In 2001, the tune was Day Trip to Bangor, better known as “Didn’t we have a lovely time”; 2002’s song was to the tune of My Old Man’s a Dustman. In 2005, the year the Youngest of the Darling Daughters
and her fella (Dunk’em Dave) were married, with Jack as Best Man and Hazel as Chief Bridesmaid (“Actually she is the ONLY bridesmaid,” as Jack explained in his memorable Best Man’s speech) the choice was easy - our summer holiday song
was set to the music of “Show me the way to Amarillo”. In 2009, I somewhat ambitiously took not one but two tunes - “Good Morning Baltimore” and “Just Can’t Stop the Beat” from the musical Hairspray which we went to
see in London as our holiday week coincided with Kids Week offering cheap seats at London theatres. You can tell I like to challenge myself.
Thanks to our holiday
songs we won’t forget the Olympic Games in 2004: “High jump, Triple jump, Kelly’s double gold!” - all to the tune of “Nick Nack Paddy Whack” - or the time we went to see Romeo and Juliet at the Arundel Festival and saw Dame
Vera Lynn in the audience. Just as exciting was meeting Juliet in the queue for the “posh loo”...
Our holiday weeks usually incorporated the annual
Family Beach Day when we would be joined by other family members - aunts, uncles, cousins, good friends. The more the merrier, we always said. They will all be so glad they came when they hear they have earned a place in The Book.
“I have wanted to bring all the holiday sings together for you both for many years,” our daughter writes on the first page, “and am so happy to have finally (thanks
to Lockdown 2020) created this book for you to enjoy. Every year you had the huge (self-inflicted) pressure of coming up with a song to represent our week but how brilliantly each final song reflected the amazing, memorable weeks we spent with you.”
She goes on to remind us how the songs were performed with gusto by Jack and Hazel in the early years - though understandably less so as they grew older. Indeed, the last
of the songs, from 2012, includes the lines: “So we’re jolly well having a Seaside Song / If she has to sing it by herself!” For she, read Yours Truly.
Thank you, my darling girl, for all the time you spent in Lockdown creating a permanent and precious record of the Worthing Seaside Weeks.
Every song, every
carefully chosen photograph, an unforgettable memory.