The Rascally Trio, I gather, had one topic of conversation on the drive down to Worthing - what would the Giant Penguin be wearing? It’s months since they have been able to come to visit their Grandad and me but
they knew just what to expect. Or did they?
Everything has changed, you see, since their last carefree trip to see us over four, long, Locked Down months ago.
Yes, indeed, the Giant Penguin was standing as always on the doorstep to greet them (I will come back to his attire later, don’t worry) but there was to be no ceaseless ringing on the door-bell, no battering on the door to be let in. Instead they were
quietly ushered round the side alley to the gate leading into the garden which was (thankfully) much as they remembered it albeit with summer flowers replacing the daffodils. The Flowerpot People were still sitting stolidly in their plastic chairs, solemnly
viewing the scenes unfolding before their (button) eyes. Against the garden fence, as the Trio entered, the Tremendous Ten sunflowers were reaching for the sky. The Trio were less interested in their progress than I thought they would be but this didn’t
bother me too much, as it happened. I had been dreading the fall-out when the three of them discovered that one of their sunflowers was, shall we say, somewhat vertically challenged compared with its siblings. I really, really didn’t want to be the one
to suggest which sunflower represented which child.
There were no proper hugs, of course, though I had draped the paper hug the Trio made me around my shoulders
by way of compensation. The Trio made circles with their arms and wiggled their hips a bit - “we need to keep you and Grandad safe!” they announced. I felt like an ancient relic. Or, rather more positively, a precious treasure. I know which I would
Indoors the Trio’s father, “Rules is Rules”, used chairs and Mr B’s Ambiturn to set out the demarcation lines for the inevitable
visits to the loo over the course of the afternoon. Mr B, from his socially distanced armchair at the other side of the room viewed the developments with barely concealed bemusement. Upstairs (the Trio’s favourite place because of the sheer number of
Things Which Should Under No Account Be Touched to be found there) was strictly out of bounds. I was almost as disappointed as the Trio because one of my many Lockdown Projects was to identify a new cupboard for all the board games and puzzles, one moreover
which didn’t necessitate me standing precariously on the small step ladder to fetch them down from their previous abode in a top cupboard in my bedroom.
was our second family visit in two days so we were doubly blessed. The previous day we had a Spur of the Moment Visit from granddaughter Hazel Bagel and The Boyfriend. They were only planning on a brief drop-in prior to a long walk along the prom (prom, prom)
but it turned out we just had far too much to talk about and, spontaneity being the name of the game, they ended up staying until after 7 and treating us to a takeaway Chinese meal. We all agreed that Going With The Flow is much the best way of ensuring that
one is never disappointed with the turn of events. Hazel’s mother, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, and I swear by this kind of random decision-making where outings are concerned.
The Trio’s mother had brought along a giant dish of her famous Chicken Curry and a container of cooked rice so food was no issue. Her fella took himself outside to check over my car, the Grand Old Lady being beset by a flat tyre.
The Trio and I played Tummy-Ache (no reflection on their mother’s food); Shopping List; and The Ladybird Game before resorting to their absolute favourite My Dog Has Fleas. The latter is a most educational game; all you need to know, if your own dog
catches fleas, is to turn its tail several times in a clockwise direction until all the fleas jump off. I haven’t tried this myself, you understand, except in the toy version....
We did (whisper it, please, in case Boris is listening) have to move indoors when the wind and rain outside proved too much for Small Ones to suffer - but thanks to the demarcation lines maintained social distance right up to the last
few minutes when a Family Zoom call proved just a bit too exciting for our visitors. I felt extremely guilty at breaking the rules even just a little bit - but not for long. We have been so very law-abiding, Mr B and I, totally Locked Down when so many others
have had a lot more freedom, rules or no rules.
Besides, as the Trio were quick to notice, the Giant Penguin on the door step was wearing a face mask, secured
with two safety pins (on account of not having any ears.) He didn’t look exactly alert - but at least he was Staying Safe...