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Reasons why Fran is playing more children's games these days
A month ago, to see my grandchildren, I had to go on one of these all the way from Leamington to Richmond in South-west London.
Now that they have moved to within ten minutes' walk of our house in Leamington, I just have to go on one of these.
Correction. Two of these.
Correction: The legs above were my dream legs, not my real legs.
Correction: These aren't my real legs either. They're someone else's. For my legs, think, 'Somewhere between Picture 2 and Picture 3.'
It's taking some getting used to, knowing that just by putting one leg in front of another (never my favourite activity) I can be at my son's house, playing Snap or Snakes and Ladders with a 3 year old and a 4 year old, or watching a Peppa Pig DVD, or answering a litany of questions from a curious Elijah, who's just started school and wants to know the answer to Every Awkward Question Ever.
I took them both to see their Great-Great-Granny in her care home. She's my mother's mother, is nearly ninety-five, and Elijah (nearly 5) was fascinated. He wanted to know
- what does nearly blind mean?
- what is a walking frame for?
- why does she need us to shout?
- why is she old?
- why can't she walk very well?
- what is quite deaf?
- why does she live here?
- where does she have her dinner?
- who else lives here?
- why don't her legs work very well?
Sometimes, he asked the same question two or three times, not because he hadn't heard the first time, but because he was so interested, and wanted to hear the information all over again.
It was ironically not unlike a conversation with my grandmother, the dear old lady in question, only with her it's because she forgets that we ever had that conversation, so we have it twice. Maybe thrice. And again the following day.
Some might lose patience with this, but I find it oddly calming, and it saves on thinking up new topics. Every time I visit her I can say 'Did I tell you so-and-so had died/is getting married/has moved away?' knowing that I did, but she'll deny all knowledge, and so we can do it all again. She's just as pleased with the news every subsequent time I tell it. I told her about Vera Lynn becoming a hundred years old at least five times, and she relished the information just as enthusiastically on each occasion.
My grandmother is 95 in July. I am 55 at the end of April. Elijah will be 5 in July.
Out of the three of us, Elijah's legs are definitely the ones with the most potential. My gran's legs are weak and unreliable. Mine are too plump and varicose-veiny. Elijah's got his dad's legs: like a young footballer's, with strong thighs and muscles.
I feel like breaking into 'The Circle of Life'. To save you the pain of that, here's Elton John singing it instead.
Ben Cottam (@TheCottam) posted this statement on Twitter today: 'When you're growing up, no one ever tells you how much of your adult life will be spent pushing tumbling Tupperware into cupboards.'
I know, right? Why does no one say?
And what else does no one tell you about adult life, particularly later adult life?
I have made a list.
1. That one day you will say, 'They'll freeze, dressed like that,' and 'Let's go home. It's nearly 10pm,' and think nothing of it.
2. That a summer will come when you will start the days dressed in cardigan and socks and only take them off when it's warm enough to leave the kitchen door open.
3. That police officers, teachers and nurses, rather than getting older, get younger, birthday by birthday, and that one day you will be burgled and then visited by a seven year old with a notebook and a helmet.
4. That the music in pubs and clubs becomes louder, brasher and more sweary, year on year, so that one evening you…
I watched a wasp die on the bus yesterday morning.
I know, as an opener, it's not the same as 'Hey, did you see the latest episode of Game of Thrones? but it's all I have to offer.
I'm nervous about wasps. I'm sure, if they could talk, they'd say they were nervous about me too. But all I have in my armoury is a rolled-up newspaper and a bad aim. They have a stinger. And, close up, they're pretty scary.
A wasp in a field, I can cope with. A wasp in the garden, just about.
But a wasp on the bus is a cross wasp. (Move along, Dr Seuss.)
I saw it progressing along a window two seats in front of me. It was crawling my way.
I don't mean, crawling in the way I'd crawl, as in 'Oof, oof, my knees, and how will I ever get up from this position?' I mean, crawling towards me.
I expected a confrontation. I picked up the copy of the Metro I'd collected when I got on the bus and began rolling.
Happy New Year to you all! Yes, I know it's the 8th already, but saying Happy New Year only at New Year is so Last Year.
I thought I'd kick off 2020's blog posts with a story from the classroom about two boys called Scott and Randall. It's fictional but not fictional .... there are Scotts and Randalls in every school and I've taught many of them. People like Scott and Randall are what make teaching both extraordinarily joyful and extraordinarily maddening.
Imagine yourself in a secondary school classroom on a rainy Thursday.
The pupils are hard at work delighted when there's an 'incident'.
Scott and Randall provide a welcome 'incident'
Within two minutes of entering the classroom, Scott had to be ejected.
d'you do that for?' Randall had swung round, clasping his shoulder, to face Scott.
managed three words of my introduction to the lesson's activities. ('First, I'd