SO, there I was, working in my office, when I heard familiar footsteps coming up the stairs, and there was a little knock on the door.

It was Chloe, my (nearly) four-year-old granddaughter, with a surprise she’d bought me on the way home from nursery school.

“Hi Gandalf, I got you a Curly Wurly,” she smiled. “Daddy told me you liked Curly Wurlies.”

Daddy was right – I’ve always liked a Curly Wurly. Ever since I was kid, and I bought one from the corner shop on the way home from school, they’ve been at the top of my chocolate indulgence list.

When the obligatory selection box was opened on Christmas Day, I’d have happily swapped a Milky Way, Mars Bar, and perhaps even a Fudge, for another Curly Wurly.

There was even the time I swapped a ‘46-er’ – the all-conquering pride of my marbles collection – for a Curly Wurly. Yes, that’s how desperate I was.

The history books show they were launched in this country by Cadbury in 1970 – advertised as “a swirly ladder of golden caramel, draped in milk chocolate – everyone's favourite twisty treat”.

It is, therefore, a love affair that’s lasted half a century – through my time as a child, a dad, and now a grandad – or Gandalf as Chloe still calls me.

“You glad I bought you a Curly Wurly home from nursery, Gandalf?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, I love a Curly Wurly, Chloe – thank you so much,” I replied.

I meant it too because when you’ve been hard at it for hours, a Curly Wurly’s exactly what you need.

Chloe hung around for a while, looking round my desk, then up at the shelves, before sighing and turning to head back downstairs. As she got to my office door, she peered over her shoulder to watch me unwrapping the gift she’d brought me.

“You like Curly Wurlies a lot, Gandalf?” she asked.

“Yes, I really, really do,” I replied.

She smiled and reached halfway across the landing before looking back again. “Your Curly Wurly was a nice ‘prise, Gandalf?”

“It’s a lovely surprise,” I assured her.

I watched Chloe reach the top of the stairs before she paused and walked tentatively back into my office.

“You going to eat it all, Gandalf?” she asked, tilting her head to one side like an expectant puppy.

I glanced down at my unwrapped Curly Wurly, then looked into Chloe’s eyes.

It was at that moment I realised that half a Curly Wurly is quite enough for any self-respecting grandad.


TRICK-OR-TREATING might not happen his year, but Chloe is still extremely excited about Halloween, a celebration which combines her two favourite things: dressing-up and sugar.

“I’m going to be a bad fairy,” she told her Dad. “What you being, Daddy?”

Knowing the danger of having an opinion of his own, he asked: “What do you think I should be, Chloe?”

“Hmmm. You could be a zombie,” came the reply, “You just need to look dead.”

Then she cast a critical eye over my eldest’s fashion sense and announced: “You could wear that coat.”

THE autumn brings other exciting activities. Chloe has regularly been helping my wife to harvest fruit from our two rather sickly-looking apple trees in the back garden.

‘Ganma’ explained: “Look Chloe, these apples are good for eating. The ones on the other tree are called ‘crab apples’ – we can cook with them. Why don’t you see if Grandad wants one?”

She obediently ran up to me and asked: “Gandalf? Do you want a good apple, or a crap apple?”

FINALLY, Chloe may have learned that her Daddy knows what he’s talking about when he insists that it’s bedtime – much to her daily displeasure.

“But I’m NOT sleepy!” is the usual objection, to which my son insists that she most definitely is.

He reported that one morning, having finally won the battle of wills the night before, he was rudely awakened by a hit to the face with a stuffed toy elephant and, in an amazed tone of voice, the words: “Daddy! I WAS sleepy!”