In part one I mentioned that I had bought a copy of ‘How it Works – The Grandparent’ from Ladybird’s new range of satirical books for grown-ups. I purchased it for the discounted price of £3.99 from the Sainsbury’s near where I work (I was there getting milk for the office).
I want to see how much writers J.A. Hazeley N.S.F.W and J.P. Morris O.M.G. (the latter of which is actually my name but with an added P, OMG how weird! And no relation, lest you wondered) tongue-in-cheek fits with my own role as a grandparent.
Well page 6 states quite clearly all the jobs that retired grandparents take on, and there’s a lovely picture of two doting old folk meeting arriving grandchildren at the door. It’s a fab old 1930’s Arts and Crafts-style frontage. The Grandad is in a grey suit and tie, the Old Dear, silver-haired, comfily overweight in a two-piece and pearls. Well! Contradiction number 1 coming right up.
My own ‘Little old fella’ does indeed own a grey suit, but it comes out for weddings and funerals only. And sorry, no granny gear for me. I have long black hair, wear jeans, trainers and a Parka. Oh, and we both have about 20 years to go till retirement.
Page 8 suggests the granny should be listening to Bobby Darin and watching Tommy Cooper re-runs. Maybe I’m showing my age by remembering and liking Tommy Cooper. I do like music from Bobby Darin’s era, but edgier. And it was decidedly before my time.
Page 16. I do enjoy trying to keep our garden tidy and pretty, but that’s not an age thing. I always did that.
Page 20. Decorating. This implies it probably takes ‘us’ of the older generation many years to get round to decorating, so by the time it’s all done, it’s time to start again. This is probably partly true for us, we don’t like all the upheaval.
Page 26. Ted sounds a bit like Homer Simpson, but I can relate to having the younger generation bail me out of numerous technical difficulties over the sighs of ‘Oh Mother!’ My eldest granddaughter is only three, and while she can bring Peppa Pig up on Youtube and click out of the adverts, most computer-related problems are still beyond her.
Page 28. My bladder is still functioning normally, thank-you – but oh my, I do like that kettle!
Page 30. Lionel (a grandad obviously, or he wouldn’t be in the book) enjoys the nice sedate older person sport of crown green bowling. I know someone who is a great grandmother, and cycles up the steepest hills and mountains in the Alps and Pyrenees.
Page 34. Sometimes it’s good to prepare food in advance. Christmas cake for instance. Veg though is not recommended to be boiled to within an inch of its life, and I’ve had my fair share of that, overdone by the older generation. A friend of mine grew up with Sunday dinners of cardboard beef and pellet peas.
Page 36. What a fabulous picture of 50’s/60’s style single beds. My grandparents had single beds in the same room for as long as I can remember. Mum told me this was on account of Grandad’s snoring. I never bought that! The snoring shook the entire bungalow.
Page 40. What an awesome drawing of cake. But if my little ‘uns had food allergies, I would have to adapt what I fed them. No ifs, or buts.
Page 42. Older people can be beggars for either having the house stifling as they feel the cold more, or are too afraid to whack up the heating in case they can’t afford to. The latter is a problem all too common. Fuel poverty is a real issue, but fortunately there are organisations and initiatives out there to help. I make sure my house is warm enough.
Page 46. It seems strange to me that we now live in an age where not everyone has heard of the Sex Pistols, but everyone knows what a dinosaur is.
So this book, I don’t think, quite fulfilled the role of grandparents as much as it described the authors’ views on older people. We now live in an age where grandparents are younger, and there are more than three living generations in a lot of families – often four, sometimes five. Maybe grandparents from back in the day were silver-haired old dears in suits and two-piece costumes as it was the fashion. Folk did tend to look older, what we might think normal of a sixty-five year old, when in fact they are forty-three (as I was when first reaching this eminent state).
The book made me smile a bit though, as do my own little granddaughters. Maybe they should have the final words:
Lily: Grandma, (while poking the side of my nose) why don’t you get a stud in the other side too?
Imzy: (climbing up onto my knee to share my coffee, or whatever I’m eating) meh, meh, meh.