MANY years ago, when I was just a dad, an old man told me why it’s such a joy being a grandad.

I was speaking to the Stanley Grandads Club, in deepest County Durham, and he let me in on the secret: “It turns your life full circle,” he said. “Because I’m a grandad, I can roll me trousers up and go splodging in the sea. I can go to the pantomime and go boo and hiss at the baddies. And I can play with train sets. If I didn’t have grandkids, they’d lock me up.”

Now I’m a fully-fledged grandad myself, I can see that he was absolutely right. My life has been joyously turned full circle. Like Doctor Who in the Tardis, I’ve been transported back in time and I’m a child again.

Last weekend, our daughter, Hannah, was home from London and she had a phone call from our eldest son, Christopher – the Big Friendly Giant – to say that he was taking our grand-daughter, Chloe, to soft-play and would she like to join them.

Well, never mind Hannah! My wife and I take no persuasion to see Chloe. We’re like Usain Bolt out of the blocks if there’s a chance of seeing her, so smitten have we become. We all piled into the car and headed for the Dolphin Centre in Darlington.

When we got there, 15-months-old Chloe was somewhere in the “Under The Sea” soft play area. There was nothing else for it – desperate to see her, I whipped my shoes off and dived head-first into the labyrinth of tunnels. Up ladders and down slides, I was a Grandad on a mission, like a Royal Marine tackling an assault course, venturing deeper and deeper into unknown territory.

Eventually, I spotted Chloe – having lots of fun in the ball pool with her Dad. I mustered one last burst of energy, crawled up a squidgy staircase, and plunged into the sea of coloured balls to surprise my little grand-daughter.

“Oh, look, it’s Grandad,” shouted the BFG, and Chloe responded with an excited giggle before trying to encourage a chase by crawling away.

Once the chase was over, she decided she wanted to bury me, so I had to lie down while she carefully covered me in hundreds of balls.

Now, there’s something strangely soporific about laying in a bed of plastic balls. I’m 56 in a couple of months, not as young as I once was, and I’m embarrassed to say I nodded off.

The sleep probably only lasted half a minute or so but I’d probably still be there, lost to the world, if Chloe hadn’t started removing the balls and impatiently poking me in the ribs.

That old fella up in Stanley was spot on all those years ago. Being a grandad does turn your life full circle and it’s an absolute joy. Hey, but it isn’t half knackering.


THANK you to Sandra Hedley, of Middlesbrough, for getting in touch about her seven-year-old grandson Sam.

In the middle of the recent cold snap, Sandra was trying to make sure Sam was wrapped up warm when he went outside to play football with his friends.

“Put your gloves and scarf on or you’ll catch your death,” she told him.

“No, I won’t, Grandma,” Sam replied. “I’m not a good catcher – that’s why I don’t play in goal.”


A FRIEND who must remain nameless for obvious reasons had accompanied his wife to the doctor’s for a check-up.

Let’s just call him Peter and say that he and his wife are in the twilight of their days.

The female doctor was gently posing questions: “Do you still have an active sex life?” she asked.

“No, she just lies there,” interrupted Peter.

It was at that point that he was told to leave the room.