On being Granny

Aside

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A little over a year ago I wrote a post entitled ‘It’s not that we’re not Interested, but…’ There it is still-March 3rd, 2013, a slight rant about the way people eulogise over their children and worse, their grandchildren. I hope I made it clear enough that this is not a grudge or a phobia regarding children themselves. Indeed, I have been fortunate to have two children of whom I am in awe regarding their achievements. They have made it to respectable adulthood and [almost] gainful employment. I am duly proud and delighted to know them.

In addition to all this, I made my living from attempting to stuff skills and knowledge into the little sponge-like brains of numerous children from the seventies to the noughties, so I am not in any kind of position to harbour a hatred of the young. I somehow gained a reputation for cynicism during those years-more a reaction to new initiatives than to the bright and bushy tailed little ones in my care.

I have also now become a fully paid up member of the grandparent club. As a granny I am as doting, besotted, amazed and devoted to my granddaughter as any grandparent anywhere. She is, of course the most beautiful, talented, cute, lovely and intelligent being that ever appeared on the Earth, just as all the other grandchildren are. But the wonderful event that was her birth was actually six months ago and I have refrained, until now from pontificating on the joys of her existence. Why? Because, reader, I don’t wish to become a hypocrite on the matter of grandparentage, having made my opinions on the matter clear in March 2013. I simply don’t want to morph into a drooling baby-bore, starting every conversation in a desperate bid to lead it onto the subject of my progeny. They can speak for themselves [or will in the case of GD].

What I do feel, however is some concern in respect of the world she is to grow up into and the fact that all the problems it has faced in the past remain with the addition of extra difficulties such as climate change. She will need to be intelligent, sociable, knowledgeable and educated to deal with the challenges of the future and luckily is getting ahead already. She is lucky. She is born to educated, loving parents and getting the best start anyone could wish for.

I hope I can be the kind of granny she will remember with fondness. I am excited to think of all the activities we will be able to do together as she grows. I wish for her to grow up with a respect for the environment, a love of nature and tolerance and friendship towards fellow humans of any nationality, religion and philosophy.

That’s all I’m going to write about the personal side of being a grandparent. Her achievements will not be mine. Got to be true to my principles!

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Failures-of Course.

Aside

                For an inexplicable reason which I now fail to recall, I considered, a few months ago, that it would be an inspirational idea to undertake a creative writing course. Of course, anyone who reads Anecdotage regularly will by now be scoffing and sniggering, since they will have acknowledged the necessity for my doing it from the first, but still…

                Above all, the timing could hardly be worse. We seem to be in the throes of a period of mad activity; a deluge of family, home, health and socially related issues.

                This is an online course. Week one arrived to the inbox. ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ was my approach, as I polished shoes, buffed nails, attended the salon and hoovered the carpets.

                During a five minute lull, in between making up beds and cooking lasagne I read one or two pieces of information and watched a couple of videos. Hooray! ‘This will be simple’ I thought.

                I resumed pre house guest preparations with a light[ish] step, given that, as I elaborated in a previous post, I am crippled with annoying foot disease. I mowed the lawn; de-gunked the lavatory. I found time to log back in. I completed a couple of quizzes, even successfully! It would be a slab of creamy gateau to complete this course!

                ‘Whoa! What was this? I had to write something?’ I logged out in disgust and went to scrub the bath and shine the shower screen. I had to keep a notebook.

                I am not against the idea of keeping a notebook, of course. It has been my ambition to keep one ever since setting out on the bumpy journey that is writing. My writing idol, Donna Tartt keeps one. It’s just that proponents of the notebook idea make it seem easy. ‘Take it with you wherever you go!’ they suggest. ‘On the bus, in the café, on the train, in the laundrette, whilst out for a walk…’ OK. How do I write notes whilst driving, in a café with Husband or Offspring, whilst our laundry is whirling in the kitchen or while cycling? [walking has been a no-no for some time].

                Worse-I had to write a paragraph. It must contain three fictions and one fact. For an inveterate liar such as myself, the fictions presented little problem. The fact was I was unable to conjure one single idea. Time was spiralling away down the week’s plughole with an ever louder gurgle. The weekend came-and went. Monday arrived and with it…Week Two. Horrors! The first week had passed without my submission so much as forming an amorphous cloud inside my head.

                On Monday I risked a cursory glance at others’ submissions, where hundreds of paragraphs scrolled down in an interminable roll. In a fever of humiliation I added my short, hasty contribution; an excuse for a piece of writing. I was not the only miscreant. Others had also missed the deadline.

                The end of Week Two is now starting to appear upon the horizon with an inevitability as stark as my enthusiastic intentions. Would that the course was good old paper and post-then at least the dog could have eaten my homework…

                I will keep you posted.

Who do they think we are?

Aside

                Whilst only eight percent of the world’s population uses Facebook, apparently more than half of people in the UK are users. For such a large number of subscribers, it sure does elicit a lot of complaints. Hardly a day goes by without someone posting an angst-ridden message about breaches of privacy or dire warnings of the intimate photos of yourself you posted from a Costa Brava nightclub when you participated in a wet T-shirt competition getting sold on to cynical bra manufacturers’ websites.

                As a digital dinosaur, it did take me some time to work out the privacy settings; also to figure out that I could ‘switch off’ the deluge of spam that showered down upon my page like effluent after ‘liking’ something [in order to get the proverbial, ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offer for something I do not want].

                Then there are the adverts. Manufacturers and companies allegedly use your search history to target their adverts at you, supposedly knowing you better than you know yourself! You would expect, then that the ads down the right hand side of your homepage would be for the very things you know you want and need.

                In the interests of research I have conducted a minor and extremely unscientific study on the subject of my personal ads, to find out exactly what I am like, according to the advertisers. I found the results hilarious.

1. I am a crisp eater.

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The last time I bought crisps, other than those posh ones you buy for pre-dinner for guests, was when my children took packed lunches to school; about fifteen years ago-ish.

2. I am a pet owner.

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About twenty years ago I was reluctantly persuaded by my then small daughter to get a hamster. It was vicious, slept all day, then ran away underneath the boiler and got burned [which did nothing to soften its character]. Much as I like other people’s animals I am not, nor have I ever been tempted to own one.

3.I am a teacher.

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No. I used to be a teacher.

4. I wear this sort of shoe [what and teach?]

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Stilletto wearing is not an activity I’ve mastered, much to my husband’s disappointment. Wellington boots, hiking shoes, trainers and trail sandals are more my style, [although I’ll cope with a low wedge if I have to do a wedding].

5. My holidays of choice are cruises.

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Now this is something they’ve got badly wrong. I have never at any time made any kind of overtures towards cruise companies. The thought of willingly becoming incarcerated in a floating prison with fellow inmates I have not selected, getting stuffed full of food and having to watch glitter-clad cabaret entertainers has never appealed. We holiday in a tiny camper van. Bliss!

6. I am a Bingo player.

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Bingo?

 

7. I wish to make a claim for mis-sold PPI.

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No, no, no, no, no. how many more times? No!

8. I am on the way out.

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They have one bit correct. But a funeral is not, actually on my list of activities to do in retirement. Do they know something I don’t, perhaps?

There are more; ‘grandchildren’s clothing’, ‘cutting belly fat’, ‘betting’,’skiing’, ‘wrinkly eyes’. But in a way, I do find it oddly reassuring that they’ve got it all so wrong. How much more spooky and disquieting it would be if they pushed the things I really do want. What are they? Not telling!