20 December 2010

I Lve my Grn.

It had been a long, draining Christmas shopping trip to Westfield Shopping Centre after work. I was laden with bags of all shapes and sizes and in the grumpiest mood L had ever seen. I was a combination of cold, hungry, tired and thirsty; and had begun to whinge a little like a three-year-old. I'd worn ridiculous shoes, which were rubbing at my toes, and after three loops of Westfield, my soul had got lost somewhere outside Habitat. We queued on the platform at Shepherd's Bush Station amongst a swarm of irritable shoppers. Without success, I hopped from one foot to the other, trying to keep warm as the wind howled down the platform. When the train arrived, I managed to squidge myself in, face to face with L (which despite my bad mood and our bickering, wasn't quite as bad as getting up close and personal with the large hairy man on my left).
I love having the time to pick out presents leisurely; starting my planning in August, and finding the perfect present for each of my family by the time Christmas comes along. But this year, I've had a lot to contend with, and it's the early, perfectly-chosen Christmas presents which have suffered. This year I have:
  •  Moved the 12 boxes which contained the contents of my life to the opposite end of England.
  • Changed jobs four times in a year.
  • Endured an absent boyfriend for four long months whilst he travelled the length of South America in an attempt to 'find himself'.
  • Moved back in with my Mum for 6 months (with the cat and her toys in tow).
  • Been a financial wreck for a year living in the bottom £50 of my overdraft for what seemed like forever...
So you could forgive me a little bit for lacking inspiration and texting my Gran one morning last week:
'Hello! Does Gramps need anything for Xmas?'
I must explain a little about my Gran. She is 77 and my Gramps is 82. They have polar opposite personalities and I'm trying to get them to run their own stand-up comedy show because they are so funny together. My Gramps is a little imp of a man (quite literally) who loves nothing better than falling asleep in his chair whilst the Golf is on the telly. He loves to wind my Gran up, pretending he can't hear her, then winks at me over his newspaper, letting me in on the joke.

Her dry sense of humour is far funnier after she's had an 'oh, go on then, just one more' glass of wine. She's shrewd with her money, so my Gramps loves to whisper loudly that she's actually a millionaire; 'she's been saving for years, y'know', to which Gran pipes up something about Gramps being a 'wicked old man'.

My Gran is much bigger than Gramps, and much louder and bossier to go with it. She does everything for him - and everyone else too. Whenever I speak to her on the phone, the first thing she always says is: 'So. What can I do for you?'  My Gran owns a mobile phone, email account and a Facebook profile. She loves to prove she's no technophobe. Quite honestly, I am proud.

I got an instant reply to my morning text:

'Hello E. Says he doesn't need anything. Lucky him. I really don't know. Just dont spend too much. Will think and text tonight. Best I can offer. l g x'

Often my Gran's text are in code. She thinks you pay for each letter you use in a text, so many of the vowels are removed, or the punctuation is lost - hence the casual 'l g x' at the end of this one.
I was slightly annoyed that she hadn't come up with something amazing that I could buy my Gramps for Christmas before I had hit the stress of Westfield Shopping Centre. I was counting on her help - I find men so hard to buy for.

But, true to form, she didn't let me down. On our train, we had reached somewhere around Putney Bridge on the District Line; the mass of bodies had filtered off slowly from the centre of the carriage and I had manage to grab a seat from an old lady who shuffled off at Parsons Green. Good. I sat across the carriage from L, shooting him the odd evil look for some silly comment he'd made a moment ago. My phone beeped loudly to say I'd got a message. L shot me an evil look right back which had 'how loud and inconsiderate you are' written all over it. The carriage had gone quite quiet.

I received the following text from my Gran:
Honestly. No joke. I've copied it down for you, word for word.
'Got it. He needs a battery for his torch. The torch is rather large with handle. If you like will get it and leave at No.4. About 3 pounds. He's desperate for torch to work.'

Well that was it. I was in hysterics.

L looked at me in horror. The woman next to me jumped, then wondered what had happened. Half the carriage turned and stared. I exploded with the most almighty roaring laugh Putney Bridge had ever heard.

My grumpy Christmas shopping mood had been alleviated by the prospect of buying Gramps a large £3 battery for Christmas. Not even a new torch, but a battery for the torch which is nearly as old as me. As I sat there, shaking the row of carpeted seats with laughter, the phrase my Gran likes to say quite often popped into mind: 'What a sad life we wrinklies live'.

My Grn


  1. Wonderful post - I love that your grandad will be happy with something so, well, small. Quite a comment on today's material society (and I'm guilty of that too).

  2. What a lovely post.
    I think it's totally understandably that you didn't buy the presents earlier since you had a very busy year. And I'm sure you bought a nice presents for everyone, including your Gramps.

  3. This is so charming! Grandparents are the best.

  4. :D I like your Gran's sense of humor...and she sounds so does your all Grandparents...I miss my Grandmom now...:(

  5. That was great. I'm really enjoying your blog. I look forward to asking my grandchildren for 4 bricklike batteries for my 1950s Sanyo radio.

  6. This is wonderful; I would of burst out laughing as well!

  7. I love your writing style. When I read it, I feel like a cat who is unraveling a ball of wool.
    I have read all of your old posts with great pleasure and I am looking forward to the future posts.
    I am a little bit in love with your grandparents:)

  8. Baglady - Isn't it lovely that sometimes the little things do mean a lot - that money isn't everything at Christmas? Glad you enjoyed it.

    Starlight - Thank you! I have only just finished my shopping - and yes - they all seem nice presents! Hurrah!

    Manda - Aren't they just! Thank you for stopping by.

    Caterpillar - She is ever so funny - I'm looking for more material from my Gran over Christmas - watch this space! (You can borrow her if you like?!)

    Phillip - Thank you for saying so! Haha. Absolutely.

    Rachel - Thank you for visiting me! (and for enjoying my post.)

    Olga - What lovely words - I'm very touched. Thank you, Olga. Oh, they are funny, my grandparents - maybe I should make them a regular feature!?

  9. Dear Bth,
    Have a wonderful 2011!

  10. Happy holidays I really enjoyed your fun story (with grandparents like this you do have unfair advantage in the humor division). I am a new follower, hope to have you visit my blog sometimes soon.

  11. Your grandad reminds me of my papa. His demeanor, not his size. My papa is a VERY large man.

    I thought this was adorable. I love your descriptions in this post. If my grandma ever sent a text, I'd die of shock. Half the time she forgets she even has a cell phone.