The Grand can now walk independently. I have been surprised that he can out manoeuvre those of us who have more than half a century of experience on him, and should be able to anticipate his every move. Apparently I can’t.

It’s all coming back to me now. When the Son began his life as a self propelled person I had the same trouble. I could never anticipate the direction he might dart off in if something caught his eye. He had the advantage of being a good few feet nearer the ground than me. What’s more, he had the edge over me when it came to spotting items of interest. It was hard enough to spot the Son let alone a possible trail of breadcrumbs.

Where I might be interested in popping into a shop to explore the beauty and tactile delights of a bit of hand thrown pottery, a one-year-old is much more interested in a well appointed manhole cover. If a determined toddler can’t manage to lift the lid to see what lurks beneath then never mind. There is always the gully that runs around the edge.

Manhole designs have changed over the years, but still they lend themselves to the accumulation of a range of potential treasures. Toddlers have not changed that much, but they too lend themselves to the accumulation of treasure. Both the Son and the Grand, seem to have been hard wired not to be able to resist a treasure hunt. So much the better if you can find treasure where no one else is prepared to go.

When it comes to a manhole cover the Grand is fearless. Quick as you like he’s back up on his feet and passing out fag ends to anyone who wants one. “Doit” he commands. I know that “Doit” doesn’t mean throw it as far away as you possibly can, but that’s what I do. “ewwee” I say, pulling a face. He does the same and then wipes the residue from the top of the manhole cover all over his other hand. This is made easier because it rained a bit earlier on in the day.

When the Son was small we were walking down the road when he suddenly bobbed down to retrieve a used prophylactic. “That’s a useful little bag,” he said, handing it to me. It might have been once but was not destined to be so again.

“Now you may need to keep an eye open for treasure,” The DiL said. He likes bottle tops and acorns and everything goes in his mouth.” She was right.

Thanks to the Grand I now know that you could probably play a game of Twister on the proliferation of bottle tops lying about on Tooting Bec common. You are never more than a stretch away from one. I know this because the Grand and I, made very slow progress on our walk as he stopped to pick them up. I drew the line at abandoned bags of dirty nappies. The acorns got stashed in my pocket.

The desire to be a good enough parent was as nothing compared with the desire to be a good enough grand parent. In the scheme of things does it matter if I can’t spot fag ends and bottle tops and I’m not much cop at Twister?
There is always a way round these things. I can turn it into a game. Or, I can say “No” with the most serious expression I can muster. I could throw a Granny tantrum. My fall back position is to use the had sanitizer that would appear to be one of the Granny perks of a global pandemic.