Jaqui's Daily Blog

Fireman Sam, a Great Goal and a Glorious Given

I would be the first to admit that I have come ill-equipped, clothes-wise. The Darling Daughter-in-Law says she can't understand why, given that every weather forecast for South Wales has predicted heavy rain. You'd think, given these dire warnings, that I might have packed a Wellington boot. Or two.

My excuse, such as it is, is that I had to make a super quick change in the time between arriving back from the home of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and catching the train to Cardiff to visit my (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys. Excuses, however, don't count for much when you are standing in a soggy playing field watching Young James playing football for Heath Park Rangers under-7s. My poorly shod feet are getting wetter and wetter - though it hardly matters when my grandson scores his best ever goal. So proud I am, that wet feet are but a minor inconvenience.

I am also proud of Coach Steve (aka My Boy) whose constant encouragement from the sidelines undoubtedly helps his team to victory. I remember his father (Mr B to you) having the same effect on the Staplehurst Monarchs team he coached all those years ago. Coach Steve, as well as being encouraging, is very, well, loud - which personally I think is a considerable asset in a football coach trying to persuade five small boys to play as a team.

After the match, the Duracell Bunny (Morgan, the Birthday Boy) decides we need to take a Walk in the Woods. He is determined to be the Leader, assisted by two red figures from one of the Transformers he received as a birthday present, whom he consults at every branch in the path to ensure we are still headed in the right direction. The two figures are All Powerful, apparently, despite being small enough to fit easily in the pocket of Morgan's raincoat. (He is well protected against the elements. "I'm Super Dry," he keeps telling me, adding solicitously: "You're Super Wet.")

It is fortunate, indeed, that Sam, the Eldest of the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys has not had to rely on me to pack his kit for his first ever Cub Camp but has been superbly equipped by his parents. Over 130 Cubs are spending the weekend in 43 tents, engaged in a wide variety of activities. Sam has promised he will send me some sketches though I'm not banking on this, on account of the fact that his sketch book is likely to get as soggy as my shoes, given the wetness of the weather.

Yesterday, of course, was the Big Day, being Morgan's fourth birthday. There were lots of emergencies throughout the morning, mostly involving storms with trees being struck by lightning and bursting into flames. It was just as well that Fireman Sam, along with Elvis, Tom Thomas and the rest of the Tonypandy Fire Crew were on hand to deal with the situation. Again and again and again. You may have been told that lightning never strikes twice but believe me it does in the Duracell Bunny's imagination.

There were cards to be opened, presents to be unwrapped, toys to be assembled, photographs to be taken. We fitted in a trip to a gym called, appropriately, Somersaults. No, I didn't. Turn somersaults, that is. I am always aware of my limitations. We also played Hide and Seek in the park where I learnt another of the Facts of Life, namely that it is easier to find effective hiding places when you are four years old than when you have reached A Great Age. There are only so many trees you can hide behind, even in Heath Park. Morgan's maternal grandparents, Mama and Bampi, arrived to join in the celebrations including the ceremonial singing of Happy Birthday in both English and Welsh. The cake, another splendid concoction by the Darling Daughter-in-Law was in the shape of a fire engine. I was on tenterhooks lest it be called out on a shout to a Storm Emergency during our singing...

On platform 2. at Cardiff railway station we await the arrival of the 15.30 train to Southampton Central. We take photographs of us looking sad at the Parting of the Ways. It doesn't take much imagining. From seat B29 I can wave at my Leaving Party out of the window; the Duracell Bunny blows kisses, his brother pretends to be crying to see me go. I try not to look and feel too sad - after all, in just two weeks we will all be together again for the Royal, sorry, Golden Wedding Party.

A dear friend of mine, soon to be a grandparent for the very first time, was asked by the parents to be what her expectations of being a grandmother were. I pondered for a while on what my own answer would have been, if asked about my hopes for my relationship with my Truly Tremendous Ten grandchildren. Finally, I came up with just two things: I want them to know me - and I want them to know that I love them.

If I am lucky enough to be granted those two great gifts then everything else - the long journeys, the happy birthdays, the sweet-but-sad farewells, being a proud spectator at a football match or a musical theatre performance, building sandcastles, blowing bubbles in the bath, playing endless games, the funny, the poignant, the inspiring, in fact every heart-stopping, heart-lifting happening - is, quite frankly, a Glorious Given.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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