BackPacking Granny being a Granny before she goes off backpacking!

BPG is off on Tuesday 14 November on one of her backpacking trips – this time to Burma, Australia, Malaysia & Borneo. She will be sending us posts from these places with, undoubtedly, some hilarious stories. In the meantime she has got in touch about an exploit with a fellow Granny….

The week before last I found myself yet again on the M4, on my way to Heathrow.

No… I was not off to “some enchanted island “… I was on a mission of mercy with a fellow Granny. Her son, who lives on the west Coast of America, had arranged to give his American wife a wonderful romantic 40th birthday in Paris. The problem was they have a 14 month old insomniac hyperactive son and live in San Francisco. The plan was they were to fly together to Heathrow, hand over the grandson to Granny (recipe for disaster) and then the happy couple would make their way to St. Pancras and catch a Eurostar train to Paris for a romantic weekend of sex, no son, and good food…. picking up their offspring in London on their return journey to San Francisco.

Yes the plan was doomed from the very beginning but have you ever tried to tell your children that?

How could my poor friend be expected to manage, all on her own, a grandchild who hasn’t seen her for 3 months and probably wouldn’t even remember her?  In the interests of safety on our roads I volunteered to drive my friend and the presumably tired and cross grandchild, having recently been snatched from his mother’s breast, back to north Oxford.

So there we were driving to Heathrow at 5.30 am. Of course the best laid plans had gone wrong; the son had missed his plane from Seattle to San Francisco and he, feeling so guilty that he wasn’t there to do long haul parenting, had upgraded his wife and son to First Class and a flat bed!!! What is it about these girls (albeit she is gorgeous 6ft 1in, blonde and Californian) that they get their husbands to do so much for them? Is it the accent or the height?

The great problem was that the husband, now having missed his connection, was getting into Heathrow so late they were going to have difficulty getting to St. Pancras in time to catch the already booked Eurostar. (We grannies had spent half the night, having heard the news, trying to get bikers, Virgin Limobike, arranged to whisk the husband to St. Pancras but it just wasn’t feasible). A later train was re-booked. Now the challenge was for the 6ft 1in blonde to have to make her own way to St. Pancras. I had helpfully suggested they meet in the Champagne Bar…. something the husband didn’t seem too keen on… can’t think why … that girl will ALWAYS get a taxi!

All that mattered, I kept saying to my friend, was that we collected the child… the grown ups and their credit cards could manage on their own1

We made it to Terminal 3 car park, carefully parked the car, and took our ticket, writing down the row and level…. yes I’ve done that one, forgotten where my car was in the excitement of meeting a son, and then spent an hour and a half trying to find it.

Of course we were early, but at last the blonde came through with a heavy eyed child; I had had a bet with my friend that they would be first off the plane as the cabin crew would be so pleased to get rid of them let alone their fellow first class passengers. Much as I love children I don’t love them on planes. Why won’t one of the airlines be brave and have one area just for kids and their parents... preferably the hold!

Our first task, after the usual pleasantries, was to fix the car seat into my car… I was delighted as to how easy it was, the little angel was strapped in and his mother acted as if she was about to sit in the front seat………. with that my friend leapt in the back, shoved a biscuit in the child’s hand and I revved up the engine and shot out of the car park with all the grace and skill of a stunt driver and we were on the M4 before the biscuit was finished. We had thought of putting a blow up doll in the front seat with his mother’s hat on but it wasn’t necessary… he was asleep before we got through the tunnel.

The little angel slept all the way to north Oxford and we congratulated ourselves on our granny skills. The happy couple met at the Champagne Bar and took a later train to Paris but I am sorry to say that is not the end of the story.

My friend’s grandson slept for the 2 hours to north Oxford and then did not sleep for the next 4 days. She gave up with trying to do any sort of routine and was reduced to catnapping whenever the little angel closed his eyes. She lost 3 lbs in weight and looked exhausted. She handed the offspring back to his parents 4 days later. They had had lovely time.

” Was he good?” they enquired.

” A little angel”, she replied,  ” and guess what I’ve kept him on Californian time for you”!

What wonderful people we Grannies are…. and my friend assures me she loved every minute of it!!