Good Morning Dear Friends!
and welcome to Friday the 24th of February which, as all good people know, is the very day on which - a not inconsiderable number of years ago - the world first caught a tantalising glimpse of the delightful Sister Cate; she has been delighting us and filling it with her love and selflessness ever since and so, as an extra special treat and in order to celebrate this most marvelous of events, we're going to have a slice of Victoria sandwich with our tea in the study this morning . . . perhaps fresh cream and strawberries are a bit of an indulgence but I think a deserved one, so please help yourself and sit down . . .
In reality, I actually met up with the above mentioned sibling yesterday for our fast-becoming ritual which happens most Thursdays. We spent quite a while with the lovely people in Costa who, as usual, looked after us royally, and were joined briefly by Dominic Littlewood - he of consumer watchdog fame from TV land - who popped in for a secret cuppa, pausing only to have his photo snapped with the ever-pleasant Vickie who then delighted us with her "dad-dancing" - ah, youth!
And, speaking of such matters, I shall be there again today with my own example of the species as my son and I meet up for an all-too-rare get-together; he now towers over me and speaks with the manly reassurance that I somehow never seemed to master . . . it does seem to be a rather cake-based reality these days (which, in my book, is No Bad Thing!) as I believe I am to have a Sunday Morning Sojourn with Mr and Mrs Gecko aka Sam and Andrew, neither of whom I have clapped eyes upon for many a long month. This is due in part to a rather unfortunate operation Sam has had to endure which left her less than mobile, and my own inability to manage my diary properly! So with any luck - and given the fact that I will be visiting Deer Crossing in Cheshire once more on Saturday where the table always groans under the weight of comestibles - come March I shall be totally unable to see my own feet, ah me!
Even as I write these words the day is changing; I awoke to a greyishness which transformed almost immediately into a bit of blue sky and sunshine; now a scurrilous wind has arisen and promises a splash to accompany my dash into town later . . . I know it is a sign of impending (if not already achieved) Victor Meldrew-ness but I find myself loathe to carry an umbrella as I inevitably leave it somewhere and have to dash back breathless and bothered to recove it and also find it difficult to manage when carrying bags . . . I can't believe I have just forced you to read such self-pitying piffle dear readers but, alas, 'tis true! I shall simply have to rely on my Craghopper coat (another loathsome item of apparel) and the fact that I do live practically on the doorstep of town . . . it could be Much Worse and, thankfully, I shan't be at sea to witness the worse things that do happen there!
Anyhow, the real reason I invited you here this morning was, of course, to pass on felicitations to my beloved sister and wish her the very happiest of birthdays; I hope she finds a way out from beneath the mountains of cards and gifts heaped upon her and manages not to slip under the taxi coming out of the pub tonight! She has, throughout her life, always looked after me as only a big sister can and I should like to regale you now with a glimpse into my childhood and an example of her beneficence . . .
When I was very young - maybe four or five years, maybe less - I noticed for the first time a thumping noise coming from within my chest. I asked my Biggest Sister what it was and was told it was my heart and that it would always make this noise and movement unless I went to sleep with my hand on it . . . . but what would happen then I enquired full of curiosity; she then announced with, it has to be said, a kind of glee rarely seen except perhaps on the face of Jack Nicholson as he smashes down the door in "The Shining", that - should such an unfortunate occurrence take place - my heart would stop and I would die and be gone forever. Childish nonsense of course, and one that, some nearly fifty years later, still prevents me from going to sleep with my hands anywhere near my chest!
Still, scarred as I am from this albeit unintentional malevolence, I shall manage to put it all behind me, continue to love her unconditionally and shower her with Useful and Acceptable Gifts** - everyone really loves the Reader's Digest deep down, don't they?
So with birthday greeting ringing in our ears - or is it simply the batteries need changing again? - I shall wish you all a simply Fantastical Friday and a Wondrous Weekend!
'til next time
Be Seeing You !
* Marion C. Garretty
** A wonderful monologue by the inimitable Joyce Grenfell