Grandparents

You are currently browsing articles tagged Grandparents.

It’s been over 6 months since I last went to see my grandparents but it feels like I just blinked and the time vanished. Since I last saw them I’ve bought a flat, flown half way around the world and back, spent hours exploring London sites and secrets and become a qualified first aider. So it was high time I crept onto the train that takes me to their countryside hideaway. Getting an East Coast train from Liverpool Street is a really good way of getting a sneaky view into the 2012 Olympic build. The train slows to a crawl as it passes through Stratford and you get long, open views of the stadium, the new train station and most impressively; the bare bones of what will be the Aquatics Centre. The thousands of seats towering over the empty ground look so strange and isolated at the moment but it’s easy to colour in the crowds and water and chaos with your imagination.

The surrounding of my grandparents house look so different compared to the last time I visited, when everything was sprouting green with Spring luciousness! I love visiting any time of year though, and even though the trees were mostly bare or bowing with rotten fruit, and the air was freezing cold and the ground was muddy, it still felt a million miles from work and tubes and crowds and Oxford Street Christmas shoppers which was what I needed for my tired brain!

My gran looked quite tired this visit, although at 91 she is certainly entitled to look a little weary. However she still chatted non stop and told me a few stories I had never heard before, as well as teaching me how to make brussel sprout soup (don’t make that face, it has to be tried to be believed, it has a really tasty smokey flavour and is delicious!) (and no, I don’t like brussel sprouts with my Christmas dinner either!) and when my aunt, uncle and cousins pitched up for a game of our family invented card game Racing Demon (it’s rawcous, rowdy and involves lots of shouting and distraction techniques) she still beat us all. Twice. My Pa was in good spirits and less confused this visit, although he has started talking about death more. On Saturday morning he looked distracted and I thought he’s misplaced something so I asked him are you looking for something Pa? And he said yes, to die. d. i. e. (nice of him to spell it out for me!) I sound like I’m making light of it, when obviously it’s not nice to hear your grandfather speak that way, but it’s the sullen attitude he does it with and then the fact that in the next breath he is right as rain again and talking about his old car or his favourite holiday to Ireland or asking for Yorkshire Pudding with golden syrup for his pudding. I think it’s probably quite normal for elderly people to talk about dying so that they feel more in control and accustomed to the idea? Either way I’ve told him he is absolutely not to go anywhere, and then I distracted him with the iPad which I think completely blew his mind and he enjoyed playing and typing on it and looking at photos of his feline great grandaughter for a good 30 minutes.

I felt extra sad to leave them this time, because next Easter seems like forever away to go visit again. As soon as I go I miss my Pa’s papery skin on his hands, and my grans smells and her perfectly set white hair and just how insanely happy sitting with them for hours on end just chatting and questioning and reading and eating makes me.

Tags: , , , ,

There are many things I love about London, but one of them is escaping it.

My grandparents like in Norfolk, in a converted barn in the middle of meadows and countryside as far as the eye can see. My granny is called Lesley, she is 91, and she can still move faster than me. She refers to 70 years olds as ‘ancient’! She refuses to eat anything that isn’t homecooked (mostly by her – she says  the key ingredient to any cooking is love. Ah.), she survived bowel cancer in her 80s when everyone was busy clucking and talking about her ‘good innings’, she has the most incredible stories and she is still head over heels in love with my Pa despite being together since they were 13 and 15. My Pa is called Pat. He likes to wear a flat cap, his favourite colour is purple and he can still completely destroy me at cards. He has Parkinsons disease, which causes him to shake. It also makes him sleepy and confused. Conversations can quickly go off on a tangent, snippets of something he has read or seen on the tv or ancient memories suddenly bulldozing in and making no sense to anyone else. We can be sat in silence and he’ll suddenly grab my hand and say How many people does it take to look after that lion do you think? and I’ll say Oh I’d imagine two or three and then he is happy, and falls asleep again. I have no idea which lion he is talking about.

I love them both ferociously and I know that it’s so precious to have living granparents when you are an adult, that I do try to visit as often as possible. Not that it’s a hardship for me mind; nonstop homemade soup, clambering around fields and gardens in my wellies looking for bugs and treasure, swimming in their ramshackle old pool, reading lots, sleeping lot and ODing on good, clean country air.

I can’t wait to go back again, it already feels just like a nice dream with work and the central line and Starbucks and smog looming tomorrow.

Tags: , , , , ,