The family that arrived in the rain went out with it. Inbetweenwhiles it was pretty good on the whole, apart from Beloved Baby having a cold which disrupted its parents' nights, and which, this previously miracle sleeping baby having learned thereby the charms of receiving parental attention at two, three and four a.m, continued to disrupt their sleep; chronically. (Granny has dug into her grandparently memory and dispatched something called Tomi Starlight Dreamshow (sorry about that) that distributes dancing stars to the ceiling and gentle lullabies to the ears of the wakeful child to the home of Beloved's daughter, hoping that it will have the same miraculous affect on this step - as it were - Beloved Grandchild as it did on Beloved granddaughter number one some years back.)
Meantime Beloved has discovered one unwanted affect of Grandparenthood - and Granny has rediscovered it - the infliction of grandchildly ailments on the elderly relatives. Both of them are aching and sneezing and running at the eyes. She seems to have read somewhere, some time back, that the unawakened immune systems of the very young tend to pass these things on in particularly virulent forms and so it has happened. A new experience for Beloved if not for Granny - leaving aside all those colds, she once found herself with headlice - though even that cannot compare with the experience of poor Georges Sand in the 1860's who at the age of 69 went down with whooping cough; something, thank god that's not likely to happen now.
It was a good ten days all the same, if exhausting. Beloved's birthday went off perfectly despite the lurking family ailments: Granny cooked - occasionally falling over Beloved as she did so - Beloved does not take kindly to competition in the kitchen and nor does she - cleared, emptied and refilled the dishwasher, cleaned up all over and endlessly entertained, dandled, cuddled Beloved Baby, cold and all. When she had recovered from the cold, more or less, Beloved Baby reciprocated, obligingly, by rolling over for the first time in front of her Grandpa and Grannyp rather than her parents. Oh the clever girl. She also showed up very well, by comparison, with a visiting infant, Mr and Mrs Jonah's granddaughter - theirs was an altogether superior child, B and GP decided. But then they would, wouldn't they?
And outside the world went on regardless. Oh God, the Gaza situation - any small sympathy Granny might have had given those Hamas rockets- she has Israeli friends of longstanding - has gone out of the window to be replaced by horror and despair. (Hurry up Obama. Hurry up. Ban military and other support to Israel). Meantime on the home front those sterling familiar - stuffy -names of her childhood are all going under...
Good heavens - Viyella - those Viyella school blouses she wore: Good heavens, Wedgwood - her mother's precious oval blue plaques adorned with the raised white cameos of English admirals - Beloved Brother kept them, goodness knows where they are now. Good heavens Woolworths, of the echoing wooden floors and trays full of pick n'mix sweets or useless, highly coloured and highly desirable objects cheap enough to be acquired by pocket-money (1 shilling a week when Granny was eight - 5p - fancy that). Down they all go one by one, accompanied by more recent places she'd never heard (Zavvi? what's that? Maybe Granny does remember vaguely seeing their name up along shopping streets but never took it in exactly, a Tower Records person her, not that Tower Records exists any longer either.) Sic transit all of it, along with brothers, sisters, parents, friends, as the years pass by.
Sneezing Granny does feel old sometimes. The more so probably because Beloved Baby's insomnia has spread to her now, along with the cold; she's distinctly short of sleep. As for Beloved: he's retired to bed again. Aren't they pathetic?
But at least the hens have started laying again, in time to make a tortilla to feed to the departing family. And it least it looks like the big freeze is abating back home in London, just in time for her arrival there. She wasn't looking forward to that.