The Son and the DiL are having a night off. They are going to wear grown up clothes, for possibly the very last time in a couple of decades, before driving half way across the south of England to attend a wedding, on a Wednesday.

I am now in training to step in and offer soothing words when the inevitable happens and the Grand wakes up just as I am reaching the limit of my ability to stay awake. At this point he will inevitably begin to cry. The cry will turn into sobs as he chokes on the words, “I want Mama.” All my Granny skills will be called upon. The greatest of which is a tried and tested soothing technique in which The Grand commands, between sobs, “Pat bum bum.” In desperation, I do as commanded while I sit awkwardly, shoulder stretched and aching and back beginning to seize up. This could be a big physiotherapy bill.

Training means many things: it means going to pick the Grand up from nursery a couple of times, just to be sure I know what I’m doing. In view of the amount of parental hounding a two-year-old is capable of at the mere suggestion that I might turn up, no advance warning was given. The Grand was sufficiently impressed at my presence that he broke into a run, arms outstretched. His greeting was euphuisive. “where Bob and Clive?” he enquired.
“They’re at home, but they send their love, I said, picturing cats with speech bubbles.
“Oh no.” Then he let go and wandered off to go and collect his art work which he handed to me to carry. I tucked my cane under my arm, but it was too late. He’d spotted it.
“Oh wow,” he said, “The massive hoover.” He’s not one to have trouble thinking how to play hoovers with just about anything. This Granny is never without one.

Me, the Grand and the massive hoover set off under supervision. We made a scheduled regular stop at the end of the road to admire free flying budgies that were variously perched on a run of net curtain in someone’s front room. I didn’t see them myself but felt “vacuumed” into the budgie vortex and agreed that budgies are “beautiful” although wondered about the effects of free defecation on soft furnishings.

As we made it home, the rain came down and we all got wet. “Biscuit” the Grand said with quavering lip. Everyone knows that whatever the question, biscuits are the answer and should you drop your biscuit, the answer to the ensuing mess is obviously a massive hoover, which I happened to have folded up in my bag. With a swift manoeuvre of the zip, the entire contents were now on the floor and the massive hoover being swished into a state of readiness before being dropped in favour of the afore mentioned biscuit, which has to be eaten sitting down at the table.

“Cheers” I said, knocking my cup of tea against the biscuit.
“Cheers,” said the Grand before being pulled back from an intentional biscuit drop, then angling for a swift reposition on the back of the high chair. “No,” I said with my serious face.
He pushed. I was firm. He pushed some more. I was adament.
“Have you finished your biscuit?” the Son asked. He was resolute. Toddlers roaming about with biscuits will end badly. He had finished and was ready to suck the moisture out of a face flannel. Then he got down from the table.

I need not worry that it will be me that walks half-digested biscuit across the floor. Thank goodness for the massive hoover.