IT has been a common theme of this column over the years that life turns full circle.

And it is still the very much the case now that I’m a devoted grandad.

Twenty or so years ago, I was writing about my eldest’s sixth birthday party. The time has passed in the blink of an eye and the memories remain vivid. Christopher wanted a pirate party: “I’d like a skull and crossbones cake and you can be Captain Hook,” he told me, firmly.

There was to be a treasure hunt, of course, and then he and his friends would have to walk the plank into a paddling pool infested with toy sharks. Then, after tea, the big climax was that Captain Hook would be tied to the garage door and pelted with water bombs and water pistols. Oh joy!

It became even more memorable when the doorbell sounded in the middle of the party and I opened the door, resplendent in my Captain Hook costume, to be confronted by a couple who’d driven an hour and a half from Tyneside to view the house. There’d been a mix-up with the estate agents and the couple weren’t supposed to come until a few days later but I had to let them in.

What made it even more embarrassing was that the “For Sale” sign in the front garden was covered by a Jolly Roger flag.

Anyway, I had to hurriedly show them round as Captain Hook before ushering them out to their car so I could meet my date with destiny, be tied to the garage door and get a good soaking.

Christopher is a dad himself now and the memories of his pirate party came flooding back at the weekend when he brought our 20-months-old grand-daughter, Chloe, round for a visit.

The old paddling pool hasn’t seen action for decades but was dragged out of the garden shed, and given a good clean, so that Chloe could have a splash about in the sunshine. She had a great time and was especially enthralled by the water pistol she found floating in the water.

We’d had a nice family Sunday lunch with a glass of wine, and I was relaxing on a blanket in the garden, when I heard Christopher say: “Chloe, shall we squirt Grandad?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I heard her say.

Naturally, I had to assume the position. I pretended to be asleep – emitting loud, dramatic snores – and braced myself for the inevitable. The cold jet of water hit me in the face, and Chloe giggled with delight as I spluttered back to consciousness.

“Again, again,” insisted Chloe. And so, as dads and grandads must, I returned to the Land of Nod to get squirted me in the face again, and again and again and again.

Chloe had great fun, but I honestly think her dad enjoyed himself more.

At least she’s not ready for water bombs – yet.


KEITH and Lucy Teasdale, of Bishop Auckland, were a little taken aback by their son Craig’s reaction when his pregnant mum asked if he’d like a brother or sister.

“Can we have a rabbit?” he asked.

ASA, aged three, had just come home from nursery. He turned to his mum to ask about a new song he’d been learning: “Mum, who’s Dougie Hokeycokey?”

HELEN Dawber, aged four, of Seaton Carew, was having a philosophical discussion with her grandma… “You’ll have to put her thinking cap on, Helen,” said her grandma.

“I haven’t got a thinking cap,” replied Helen. “But I have got a baseball cap.”