TO be perfectly honest, I never really fancied being called “Grandad”.

When I was substantially younger, my perception of grandads was that they were gnarled old men in cardigans, flat caps, and tartan slippers, and it wasn’t an image that appealed.

Then, lovely little Chloe came along 22 months ago and I was left with no choice. Family members and friends suddenly started taking great delight in coming up to me and saying things like “Now then, Grandad”, “Don’t you think you should have a lie down, Grandad?” and, the one they think is really funny, “What was it like in the old days, Grandad?”

I was even told at my sister-in-law’s wedding earlier this year that I dance “like a Grandad”.

But that’s all in the past because I’m delighted to report that I am no longer called Grandad.  I have a much grander title. I am now known as Gandalf.

This is because Chloe can’t quite pronounce “Grandad.” Grandma is Ganma and Grandad comes out as Gandalf. Within days, the rest of the family were joining Chloe in adopting my new name.

“Hey, Gandalf, do you want a cup of tea?” her Uncle Max shouted the other day.

“Can you give me a lift into town, Gandalf?” he asked shortly afterwards, magically transforming Dad’s Taxi into Gandalf’s Taxi.

I have to confess that I’ve never read Tolkien’s classic, The Lord of the Rings, so I’m not familiar with this fella Gandalf, but the more research I’ve done on the internet, the more comfortable I am to share his name.
Indeed, it appears we have quite a lot in common…

  •  Gandalf is the embodiment of good.” Say no more.
  •  “Gandalf’s greatest power is wisdom.” So is mine.
  •  “Gandalf is known for manipulating fire and creating smoke.”  I love a good barbecue and I once set the neighbour’s fence on fire when burning some garden rubbish.
  •  “Gandalf is also known for telepathy.” I’m forever having to work out what my wife is thinking.
  •  “Gandalf is known as The Grey Wizard.” My once jet black hair has gone the way of Tom Jones.
  •  “Gandalf was sent to Middle Earth to fight against the forces of evil.”  I’ve written some very powerful editorials warning of the dangers of Donald Trump.
  • “Gandalf is thought to be thousands of years old.” That’s exactly how I feel.
  •  “Gandalf is surrounded by hobbits.” My wife is only five feet three (and a half).
  •  “Gandalf goes by several names.” So do I – depending on how much I’ve annoyed my wife.
  •  “Gandalf didn’t trust himself with The Ring so he gave it to Frodo.” This is the one I think seals it. I lost my wedding ring within a year of getting married and had to ask my wife to buy me another one.”

So, you see, it really us uncanny. Gandalf and me are almost one and the same. And I’d much rather be a grand, powerful wizard than an old man in a cardie and tartan slippers.

Yes, Gandalf definitely has a ring to it.


I’M a big fan of misprints and my favourite for a long time has emerged in Lowestoft, where the menu at a restaurant called Tuttles Corner had a children’s menu not only offering “Gaelic Mushrooms” but “Hot Dog In A Bum.” Think I’ll give it a miss.


ONE from the Dad At Large archives…Tamara, a friend’s little girl, was watching the final episode of Inspector Morse with her Mum, and a murdered body was being bundled into the boot of a car.
“Eee, they shouldn’t be doing that, should they Mum? exclaimed Tamara. “They’ll never be able to fit the shopping in!”