I have always pondered upon how very wonderful it would be if my grandchildren lived just around the corner. Mr B used to live next door to his much-loved Grandma and tells me he often escaped into her loving embrace when
he was feeling poorly, or (more likely) had done something he shouldn’t and needed somewhere to hide for a bit.
The middle of the (Not So Very Little)
Welsh Boys often said he wished I lived next door though I wasn’t sure his parents wouldn’t think this just a little too near for comfort. Wouldn’t it be good, though, I used to think if these precious people lived near enough to call in,
perhaps, on their way home from school to enjoy a buttered bun and a mug of hot chocolate while they regaled me with Tall Tales from the World of School. Doubtless I was viewing this happy scene through rose-coloured spectacles - I remember when my own Foursome
were littl’uns they couldn’t wait to shed their school uniform, satchels and book bags to go out to meet their friends over the playing field the moment they arrived home from school. “I haven’t seen you all day!” I used
to wail - to which they would respond, with unshakeable logic: “But you already know what we look like....”
Now this week my dream has come true. Not
the bit about the house next door, or the buttered buns and hot chocolate, to be fair, but something every bit as special. Let me tell you, dear reader, about my granddaughter at the garden gate...
Eleanor, fourth eldest of the Tremendous Ten grandchildren, is a medical student on placement in our home town. What’s more travel each day to her latest place of work requires her to take a train journey to our nearest
railway station and a brisk walk which takes her right past the end of our road. There is no way, Eleanor says, that she can pass what she calls the “Think Bike” roundabout (on account of all the signs adorning it exhorting motorists to stay alert
for cyclists) without taking a right turn to arrive at our garden gate.
Yesterday, she messaged me when she was leaving the hospital where she was working
to tell me to look out for her in half an hour’s time. This gave me sufficient notice to prepare her Grandad for a trip to the front door in his wheelchair from where he would have a grandstand view of our visitor. Exactly on time, there she was, this
granddaughter of ours, smiling broadly at the garden gate. She hadn’t seen her Grandad since well before he was taken into hospital so this first meeting was extra special. “I wish I could hug you!” she told her Grandad - to which he replied,
predictably: “I won’t tell anyone!” Mr B simply doesn’t understand the current restrictions on our daily life, however many Downing Street briefings he watches. Sometimes I think his confusion arises because he watches too many briefings
- which puts him on par with the rest of us, let’s face it.
Today Mr B was asleep in his armchair at the allotted time, so I met Eleanor on the corner
of the road and we walked to the railway station together, chatting all the way. She had been so relieved, she said, to see her Grandad looking so well the previous day as she hadn’t known what to expect. “But how are you?” she wanted to
know. Her sweet concern quite choked me up.
We continued our chat as we sat in the station, waiting for the train to Brighton. It is safe to say that our jaws
did not rust. All too soon, the train drew into the station and off she went, waving from her window seat as the train pulled out and away.
She messaged me from
the train to thank me for waving her off; I had to remind her of what she said one time when I was madly waving at her from the garden gate as she left after a family visit. “Would you even be my Nanni if you didn’t wave us goodbye?” I always
remember it when any member of the family leaves and tells me not to come outside to say goodbye in case I get cold or wet. It’s the reason I never pay their sound advice the attention it probably merits.
Eleanor messaged back to say she doesn’t remember saying that but still maintains it is true.
“You must always
wave the family off - it’s your job!” she added.
I am, have always been, will always be - happy to oblige.