“You sound like you had a terrible childhood reading your blogs,” my Mum said during our visit to my old home of Swindon this week.
Endless boring trips to Cornwall and DIY stores left her questioning why day trips she took my brother and I on had not got a mention.
I had to laugh, though, when her defence consisted of reminding me of the time she took us round the V&A Museum in London, which she finally admitted was dull, only to give up and end on a high at Hamleys, the ‘finest toy shop in the world’.
Then, she recalled how she planned a trip around Lord’s cricket ground – a tour we never made because my brother spent too long in a James Bond poster shop – to further fuel her fire.
Perhaps not the greatest of examples, and it’s no surprise she didn’t take up a career as a barrister. But in truth, we did have many memorable days out and she did pretty well, considering she had no car to ferry us around in.
Now a Nanny, I’m sure she will be just as great with Albie as she was in my early years, and I know she will be just a strong a role model as my own nans were when I was little.
She is most definitely going to be the nightmare one, however, which teaches him to swear and do everything he’s not allowed to at home.
We can only hope her thick Wiltshire accent is tough for him to understand, although she is admittedly rather loud! So loud, in fact, that when we knocked on her door when we arrived this week her shouts made Albie physically open his eyes wide in a ‘Jesus, Daddy, get me out of here!’ way.
My grandparents were a key part of my childhood. While I have precious few memories of one, I am fortunate to have an abundance with the other three.
Only one – my Nan on my Mum’s side, is still with us. My other Nan, who I was extremely close to, passed away several years ago, while my Gramp left us just weeks before Albie was born. I have something planned for later in the year which will properly pay tribute to them, so I’ll save my detailed stories for another day.
I only knew one of my great-grandparents and I was very young when they died. In contrast, Albie has two Great-Nannies still batting on and we’re hopeful that they will continue to do so for a few more years, yet, so he can properly get to know them.
We visited Albie’s Swindon Great-Nanny this week, proving her wrong in her assumption when he was born that the next time she saw him he would ‘be in school’. We were grateful to hear she was planning to be around for that long but didn’t like her confidence in our ability to visit her, considering we’re in Swindon two to three times a year!
I know she loved meeting Albie for a second time, and a cuddle with her and her shaky arms was an excellent warm up for the bumpy experience of the farm tractor ride the next day!
I say she met him for a second time – but technically she had chatted to him in between over Facetime with the help of Mum. She failed to understand how we ‘all fit into that box’ (the screen), like she struggled with the concept a couple of years ago when I spoke to her over Skype during my first Christmas in Worthing.
On Hanna’s side, her Nan is going strong and is set to celebrate her 90th birthday this year. After taking a few looks at me when Hanna and I first met and blandly decreeing ‘he’ll do’, and complimenting me on the fish I once cooked her when it was actually pork, I have a bit of a soft spot for her.
And in terms of grandparents, Albie has a more than a full set to terrorise, thanks to a fairly complicated set of family circumstances.
The only difficulty we have here is that those on my side live in Swindon, more than two hours’ drive away, severely cutting our babysitting options!
Despite this, weeks like we have just had prove it will be quality, not quantity, which matters when it comes to Albie maximising his relationships with his grandparents.
I know he will have as many great times with his grandparents that I did and we are so happy about that.