Saturday, November 26, 2022


I began to write this blog post yesterday morning...

I am bereft.

Our American family are en route to the airport for their journey home. It's been such a wonderful week with them, and this morning feels flat. Thank goodness the sun is shining in a clear sky so I can go and seek solace on the Monsal Trail.

When they arrived last Saturday I was done in. The new Hepworth baby had only just arrived after a long labour, and grandparents do tend to fret. Life events are exhausting, even when you're on the sidelines. 

But I had to break off from the blog so I'm continuing today...

But seeing the Coloradans perked me up, and despite the almost constant rain we've had a lot of fun. We played Pucket, Downfall, Guess Who, darts, Stay Alive and naturally the yoghurt cartons made an appearance.

There was a visit to meet the new baby cousin (the-baby-of-the-family-member-who-declines-to-be-named)

And the baby lovingly nursed:

Tantalising, isn't it? 

Hey ho.

Snoopy came to visit for the day by special request:

It was difficult to judge who was the most pleased to see him:

Cece loves cooking so we made an Eton mess and a chocolate cake. 

We attempted chocolate curls for the decoration but only managed flakes. 

The American family are huge cat fans so we booked a visit to the excellently run Sheffield cat cafe.

photo by Isaac

Olaf and Cece
photo by Isaac

But before you voice misgivings...I was utterly convinced that the cats' welfare comes first. There are plenty of places that cats can rest out of reach of humans plus they have an escape room. The numbers of visitors is strictly limited, and the opening hours short, with a lunch hour. Olaf - above - was perfectly happy to rest in his bed while humans went to pay homage.

But now it's all over. They are back in Boulder.

And this morning I was thinking about Cece, who is designing a banner to show what brings her joy: cats and nature. The best banners in her class will be hung on the main shopping street in Boulder. 

And I've been thinking about what brings me joy - cycling and walking in the countryside, trees, and painting, but above all else - grandchildren.

The dedication in Plotting for Grown-ups

And now I have another one. I held her for the second time last evening and oh,  there is something magical about newborn babies. 

Born Yesterday
by Philip Larkin

For Sally Amis

Tightly-folded bud,
I have wished you something
None of the others would:
Not the usual stuff
About being beautiful,
Or running off a spring
Of innocence and love —
They will all wish you that,
And should it prove possible,
Well, you’re a lucky girl.

But if it shouldn’t, then
May you be ordinary;
Have, like other women,
An average of talents:
Not ugly, not good-looking,
Nothing uncustomary
To pull you off your balance,
That, unworkable itself,
Stops all the rest from working.
In fact, may you be dull —
If that is what a skilled,
Vigilant, flexible,
Unemphasised, enthralled
Catching of happiness is called.

from Collected Poems by Philip Larkin, published by Farrar, Straus and Girroux, 2003



Anonymous said...

Well said my friend. LRH

marmee said...

Such happy photos! I love the concentration on the faces of the people holding that new person! And yes yes, catching of happiness is the gift the fairy should bestow !