We’ve all got them somewhere, female grandparents. Even if they are no longer with us, many of us have fond memories of them. For some there will be regret that we never knew them, or worse …


Youngest granddaughter had an interesting take on grannys. She says they:

  • make soup
  • do scrabble and crosswords
  • look after grandchildren
  • do knitting
  • make silly songs – and she sang me some of our sillier ones
  • fart cabbage, and
  • ride their motorbikes.

Although she says the last two are not necessarily true.

As the younger grandchildren finish primary school and start secondary school, I reckon I will be redundant in about three years time as far as looking after grandchildren is concerned.

This summer, I met a man who was ten years older than me. He told me about his, now adult, grandchildren. I looked ahead into the future. In ten years time the oldest will have left university and be working or pursuing academic success. The middle ones will be half way their university courses or otherwise preparing for the world of work, and the two youngest, will be preparing to leave school and enter the adult world. I really will be redundant!

There was the preschool phase, when I wiped noses and bottoms and got covered in yogurt, snot and worse. When we held hands as we walked to and from nursery. When we sang impromptu songs.

There was the primary school phrase when I watched anxiously for them to come out of school, not wanting to miss them in the crowds of other adults and children. When we enjoyed the long summer holidays together and each year was marked by growing independence and knowledge of the world around them.

At ten and eleven the rite of passage to adolescence begins. the key to the front door, a mobile phone, a Zip Oyster card (we live in London), being allowed to play out and visit friends, travelling to and from school independently, going with siblings to the shops, going to the beach with friends; and more.

All of this with the grownups in their lives quietly watching behind the scenes to make sure everything goes to plan, and helping out when it doesn’t. One of the grandkids even learnt how to successfully invoke the x-plan.

So it looks as if a major function of being a granny is coming to an end. As with my own children, I have helped then towards independence and soon I will be off to ride my motorbike and have granny fun.


The man at the door





Once again I was listening to the radio, when some lines from a song caught my attention:

…  “A drawing of a man standin’ outside the door

He said, ‘I see him in my dreams

He comforts me when I can’t sleep'”

I had to go and look the lyrics up. They come from a song by TobyMac, featuring Nirva Ready called This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless), found on the album Christmas in Diversecity.

So who is this man at the door? It reminded me of the man in the bible mentioned in Revelation 3.20. You know, the one who says,

“Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.”

So many have dreamt of him, let him in and had their lives changed by him. At the end of a year of so many surprises and changes, some of which have left us sleepless, here is someone who is constant and reliable. Sleepless? Let him comfort you today.


The grandkids were in the car, listening to the radio. I was miles away when suddenly a song came to the foreground of my thinking:

“You know what to do with that big fat butt

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle”

There was silence: and then a fit of giggling from the back. The song continued. More wiggling and more giggles. So yes, on one level, it is extremely funny, but on another …

A boy sees a girl with a big bum (yes, it does look big in that) that has been stuffed into the tightest pair of jeans she can find . “I got one question. How do you fit all that … in them jeans?” She is desirable. He talks about what he would like to do to her, offering fame on Instagram in return. It’s not nice. I was surprised that such explicit lyrics, albeit inferred, were allowed to be played on the radio. And this is the song some kids have been singing in the playground.

Anthony from Canterbury

Anthony. Anthony from Canterbury. He has a lot to answer for.

The boys met Anthony last summer when we went to church in Deal. He was one of the people they played with while the grown ups listened to the sermon.

He doesn’t come from Canterbury. Really. He goes to school in Canterbury, which is almost the same thing.

In our family, his name has been used as a chant, usually as some sort of war cry to annoy the adults. Then the other day, oldest grandson experimented with the stresses and rhythms of the chant to produce some very clever choral speaking. He assigned different parts to his siblings and what had been a raucous war cry became a very pleasing sound experiment.

So Anthony, you may never know the fun we have had with your name, but know this; you will always be remembered with great affection in our family.

The best beach barbecue ever

I have fond memories of being on holiday with friends. We would go to the beach and as everyone else went home for their evening meal, Alan would light a barbecue. It was warm, sunny and quiet after the fun and games of the day. Time to open a few beers as we waited for the charcoal to be the right temperature for cooking. Time to enjoy the special glow of the early evening and and the specialness of the occasion.

We’ve had beach barbecues at our little seaside getaway before, but not a planned birthday celebration. I invited the family, shopped for the food and ordered the meat from the village butcher.

After a morning swim, we were ready for the beach. There was a lot to take: picnic blankets, chairs, the barbecue, not forgetting charcoal, matches and a bucket to carry water to put the fire out. I packed the shopping trolley with food and drink.

Last year the grandkids and I had found the perfect barbecue site. Set back from the sea, but far enough away from the road to be hidden by the trees: an open space that was regularly used for fires. The day was warm and sunny. We stowed the food under the shade of the trees.


We lit the barbecue. In the time it took to walk back into the village to collect the meat, the fire was ready for cooking. And it was a sumptuous feast: burgers and sausages, onions, sweetcorn and asparagus – and we did remember the tomato ketchup for those who like it.


Son appeared on his bike. He had taken a train to Maidstone and cycled the rest of the way!


As the embers died, we toasted marshmallows, the way every good barbecue should end. Full of food, we lazed in the sun and watched the children play. Later, it was time for son to cycle back. Reluctantly we put out the fire, packed up and made our way back up the hill. It had been the best beach barbecue ever.


Half way through the year already!

It’s all been quiet at our little seaside getaway this year. We had to wait for ages for the builder to be free to make some major alterations to our  chalet. Now we have two bedrooms upstairs and a new toilet.

The work was promised for before the new season, so we half unpacked the chalet at Easter and enjoyed the holiday. We left the polythene bags on the mattresses and slipped and slid in our sleep!

Granny packed everything up again. This time the builder came and did the work. Granny crept one evening after the work was finished. It was perfect. She didn’t dare say out loud that it was perfect, in case she found something that wasn’t. But it was.

The new double bedroom at the back of the chalet had hardly changed. Now it was possible to put up a mirror and cost hooks.


At the front of the chalet is a brand new twin bed room. This will be the girls’ room and the boys will have the bunk bed room downstairs.



But you should see the toilet floor! Granny found an off cut in the carpet shop that was just right: Paul Smith stripes. Son in law has a fondness for all things Paul Smith. When the family saw the floor, the immediately made the connection.

His life through the eyes of others


I was looking for my favourite Christmas poem and this was on the paper I was using as a bookmark.

“It’ll be here in a minute,” said the sage,
“Look, there it is, just to the left of that date palm.”
And the three wise men mounted their camels and rode off,
Following the star to where the baby king lay waiting.

“I’m afraid,” said the boy, “the light is so bright.”
“Look, there are angels, hundreds of them, singing a song of ‘glory to God’.”
So the shepherds set off.
Looking for the place where the saviour lay.

“He’ll do it in a minute,” said the angel, peering over the parapet of heaven.
“Look! God’s glory is shining on him.
He’s proclaiming Jesus as his best loved son.”
And the twelve friends fell down at his feet.

It all happened in a moment.” The high priest reported.
“Look how the curtain to the holy of holies is torn in two,
From top to bottom – revealing the glory of The Lord. ”
But his colleagues scratched their heads and tried to make sense of it all.

“It only took a minute,” the soldiers said. “The ground rumbled,
We looked, and the stone rolled away.
That’s convincing proof that Jesus has risen from the dead.”
So the priests bribed them to keep quiet and deny that Jesus was alive.

“Soon, in the twinkling of an eye, I’ll come back for you.
Look out for me, everyone will see that it is me.
I will come and get you and take you to the place I have prepared for you.”
And those in the know, wait with eager anticipation, for his return.