“My granny’s not really like a granny,” I used to tell all my friends when I was small. “She likes Take That, and she never wears skirts, and she laughs at the same stuff we laugh at!”
My friends were amazed and envious that I would have such a granny. I always felt very proud that she was mine.
Their grannies all wore knitted cardies and floral skirts. My granny wore shellsuits. (This was when shellsuits were the height of fashion. Obviously I would not be boasting about it were she still wearing them today.)
Their grannies listened to Daniel O’Donnell on the wireless. My granny let me teach her how to work a CD player, and listened to CDs of Take That, REM and Right Said Fred (the true classics of the nineties).
Their grannies sat in rocking chairs and asked how they were doing at school. My granny picked us up in her Renault and drove like a maniac along the country roads (e.g. swerving from side to side or zooming through large puddles to make us scream and laugh).
Their grannies drank a wee cup of tea before bed, and offered them a glass of milk. My granny drank a gin and tonic before bed, and gave us crisps and Coke.
Their grannies were quiet and dignified, and didn’t like noise. My granny made more noise than both of us put together, and the sight of her roaring with laughter would regularly have us in fits of giggles.
Their grannies said things like “dearie me” and “goodness gracious”. My granny said things like “holy jumpin’ catfish!” and “flamin’ nora!”.
My granny used to bring me my favourite ice lolly every time she came to visit in the summer. She always knew when I had a new favourite lolly. She could make a cut knee stop hurting not by kissing it, but by tickling me till I was laughing so hard I didn’t feel the pain any more. She let us have picnic dinners in her garden on sunny evenings. She covered for me when I accidentally broke one of her windows, telling my parents that she’d done it. She took us for walks out in the countryside, and gave my sister a large umbrella so the rooks wouldn’t poo on her head when we walked under all the trees outside Mrs. Simpson’s house. She bought a camcorder once, just because ours broke when I was wanting to make a home video for my penpal. She danced like a mad thing every time she heard a Rolling Stones song.
Granny’s getting older, now. It makes me a little sad when I see her forgetting things and moving in a much less sprightly manner. I find myself panicking when she calmly says things like “that’ll be yours once I’m gone” or “I’ll not be around for much longer”. And being in the car with her is not such a fun experience when you realise she’s forgotten that she’s actually driving. But underneath her new little-old-lady appearance, my granny’s spirit of fun and wicked sense of humour remain intact. I believe she’ll be having her wee gin and tonic every night before bed until the day she dies, and yelling with laughter when something tickles her funny bone. She will never, ever be staid and fussy. She’s the least stereotypical granny there ever was. And that’s why I adore her.
Rock on, granny!