It’s been several years since I had a grandparent. Which is a shame, really, as I rather enjoyed the ones I had whilst I had them.
Grandparents are quite clearly the best relatives going: instead of making sure you do your homework and eat your broccoli, they’ll let you drag them round science museums and then spend a fortune on magic trees in the gift shop; read endless hours of bedtime stories long after your parents would have downed books in protest; and bake goodies with such messy enthusiasm that there’ll be a subsequent photo of you standing on a chair in your grandmother’s kitchen wearing nothing but chocolate cake mix and a huge grin (true story).
And, given that mine are sadly no longer around, I have decided I’m in the market for some new ones.
I have given the matter some extensive thought, and have settled decisively on the following.
Granny 1: Mary Berry
Mary fulfills one role that’s crucial in any granny, and does it with superlative aplomb: the ability to bake – and then some. She doesn’t just whip up a passable Victoria sponge: Mary literally wrote the bible on all things baked. You’d blitz any office cake day with her in your corner (and, hopefully, peering into the mixing bowl). She’s a whiz with an Aga (which, although beautiful, can be temperamental beasts), and Sunday lunch would never be the same again. From her appearances on GBBO, it seems she’s partial to a tipple, and everyone knows that grannies are at their very best when they’re slightly drunk on sherry. Oh, and who else do you know over the age of retirement who can rock a floral bomber jacket? Case closed.
(Additional bonus points to Mary for being the muse behind this little gem of a site. God, I love the internet.)
GRANDPA 1: Sir David Attenborough
Frankly, he’s brilliant. He’s been around forever, and has been around, well, everywhere. What the man couldn’t tell you about a capuchin monkey isn’t worth knowing. Attenborough’s many and varied series on the natural world are a wonder to behold, and the reason that anyone in their right mind pays the BBC license fee perfectly happily (to be perfectly honest, between just Sir Dave and Radio 4, I think £145.50 a year is a total steal, and that’s before you include all the other television channels and the website and the Olympics and Clare Balding and the iPlayer… All ad-free. Total bargain). He’s the sort of chap who would be perfect in any situation: whether you’re being charged by a rhino, or stuck on a particularly fiendish Trivial Pursuit poser, Sir David’s the one you’d want on your team. Also: he’s got a bit of a glint in his eye that tells you he’d be lots of fun on a night out. Not ideal in a real grandpa, perhaps, but a surrogate one? Ideal.
GRANNY 2: Jilly Cooper
Who else, quite honestly? The woman is practically a goddess. She writes extraordinarily brilliant books (book snobs: put your fears aside, and just try one. I wouldn’t go anywhere near a Marian Keyes if you paid me, but Jilly can do no wrong). She’s horsey, likes a drink, self-confessedly flirts with her children’s friends, and is, according to people lucky enough to have interviewed her (you know who you are, subjects of green-making envy), utterly darling. You could go to her with any news under the sun – bad, good; career, man, woman, animal, mineral, vegetable – and you know that she’d press a stiff drink into your hand, and have you both howling with laughter before you could say “Rupert Campbell-Black”. What’s not to love and admire with a passion?
But then I come to a hole. Because as easy as those three were to pick, suggestions for candidates to fill the final place of second grandfather are eluding me. Suggestions of brilliance welcome; and leases of less-famous but real-life grandparents very much considered.