Jaqui's Daily Blog

It Is All About the Background

Cycling along the road ahead of us is a fella on a penny farthing bicycle. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those.


Malcolm, who is driving the Dial-a-Ride minibus taking Mr B and me home from Mr B’s weekly pampering session, says he saw the cyclist unloading his unusual form of transport from the boot of a car in the town centre when he was driving to collect us. He hadn’t expected to see him again so soon.


I give a sweeping wave towards the sea-front - the blue, blue sky, the glittering sea, the softly waving palm trees - it is the perfect backdrop, I say, for a fella on a yellow penny farthing cycle wearing an orange helmet. No, no, no! The cyclist is wearing the orange helmet, not the penny farthing - sometimes you can be so very pedantic...


Malcolm is solely concerned that he will be able to overtake the cyclist safely without causing him to wobble and fall into the road from a Great Height, given the amount of traffic coming in the opposite direction. I get the impression he couldn’t care less about the appropriateness of the backdrop. 


While we were at Guild Care, enjoying a mug of coffee and a naughty sausage roll while waiting for Malcom to collect us, I noticed another backdrop - the noticeboard which the centre’s Art Group decorate on a regular basis to mark the change from one month to the next. We are now, the art work proudly proclaims, in October - which we can tell from the orange pumpkins, flying witches and colourful leaves on display on the noticeboard. Sadly one of my Tuesday Friends who, as a member of the Art Group, takes enormous pleasure in pointing out to me each month her own contributions to the display, has broken her hip and so hasn’t been around to do her bit for October. I think to myself that I should probably take a photo of October on my mobile phone and find out how I can send it to her. 


On Tuesday evening, I am at the library with all the other volunteers on the Summer Reading Challenge receiving our certificates from The Reading Agency to mark our contribution. The Children’s Librarian gives me a sly smile as she reads out this year’s statistics - she knows how much I love a statistic or two. It means I can pass on to you the amazing information that no fewer than 14,000 West Sussex children took part in the challenge this year, assisted in their endeavours by over 450 volunteers. During the month of August, no fewer than 160,000 children’s books were borrowed from the county’s libraries. 


A charmingly effervescent VIP arrives to present us with our certificates and we all have our photographs taken, firstly against the backdrop of a Mischief Makers poster and then with the Finishers Wall behind us. The Finishers Wall consists of hundreds of stickers posted up by the children who completed the challenge, giving their name, age and a description of their particular “likes.” One child has written that he likes vlogging, which makes a change from chocolate cake and Fortnite. Another states that he likes football - and “winning.” That child will go far.


At Birdy Group on Monday morning, we stopped half way round at the Ferring Country Centre to enjoy our own Beverage of Choice. We sat in the sunshine outside Cosy Café and talked about the birds we had seen (including egrets, moorhens, and dozens of goldfinches feasting on the berries in a particular tree) and debated whether Bas was brave or foolhardy to be wearing his shorts on that sunny but distinctly Autumnal day.


One of our number decided to record the happy scene by taking photographs of us from every conceivable angle. As she directed her camera to capture one group, I remarked that it should be a particularly good photograph given the beautiful background. I was referring, I hasten to tell you, to a beautiful array of multi coloured dahlias - completely failing to notice that the flower bed was adjacent to the portable loos. Which weren’t so very beautiful as my companions were quick to point out.


The backdrop is everything, don’t you know?

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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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