THERE we were on Halloween, all set with our box of assorted sweets, a toothless pumpkin lantern glowing on the wall outside, and lots of spray-on spiders’ webs eerily covering the porch.

Oh, and then there was the killer final touch – a pretend tarantula to stick on my face when the unsuspecting trick-or-treaters arrived.

There was, of course, one little horror we were looking forward to being scared by more than any other – our two-year-old grand-daughter Chloe.

So, imagine our disappointment when her Dad phoned to say he was really sorry but she’d fallen asleep and Halloween would have to be postponed.

We’re learning to be patient as grandparents, so we carried on dealing with all the other witches, zombies, and Draculas that came our way, saved some of the sweets, and left the lantern and spiders’ webs intact for when we received our belated visit from Chloe somewhere down the line.

Two nights later, the door-bell rang and there she was: grinning on the doorstep, in a black cat’s outfit, with drawn-on whiskers. “Tick or teat!” she shouted with a little encouragement from her Daddy.

Out of the two of us, there’s no doubt that she loves her “Gandma” most and perhaps it wasn’t the best way to win her affections by sticking a tarantula with big, boggly eyes on my forehead.

“Do you want to stroke the spider?” I asked.

“No!” she replied and jumped into Gandma’s arms for a cuddle.

C’est la vie. We were quickly dragged out into the garden for the first fireworks display of Chloe’s life. “Ook, Gandma, ook!” she kept shouting as she watched the rockets burst into the sky.

Back in the warm, I decided that drastic measures were required, so I offered to let Chloe draw some cats’ whiskers on my face to match her own. I’ll do anything for a bit of attention and she took little persuasion to get to work with her Mummy’s eye-liner pencil.

Once I’d done a bit of miaowing and chased her round the room with my terrifyingly sharp claws, she soon decided she’d had enough of the cat. She went off in search of Gandma again, had her tea, and I went off to the office to catch up on some work, stopping for petrol and popping into the supermarket on the way home.

It was only when I was brushing my teeth at bedtime that I realised the cats’ whiskers were still on my face.

Tell me this – how is any self-respecting Grandad supposed to retain any credibility if neither the cashier at the petrol station nor the young lad on the checkout at Morrisons saw fit to say anything?

Customer service just isn’t what it used to be.


A FEW more snippets from former Mum At Large columnist Ruth Campbell...

Ruth’s 16-year-old son isn’t at all happy that she’s now working at his school in North Yorkshire.

She thinks he’s turning into Gok Wan because, when she wore a red gingham shirt for work, he told her she looked like she was going on a “cowboy cookout”.

That was followed the other morning by him declaring “You’re not wearing that!”

“What’s wrong this time?” she asked.

“You look so old – wearing a CARDIGAN!

RUTH has just moved one of her five sons -– yes five! – into his student house in Exeter.

Since it was moving in week, all the hotels were fully booked so Ruth had no option but to sleep in his room before setting off on the seven-hour drive home.

His three rules were: 1. You’re on the floor. 2. You’re not allowed to use the bathroom. 3. You’re up and out first thing in the morning before anyone’s up.

FINALLY, Ruth was out for a walk with another of her sons at the weekend and she tripped and fell into a ditch.

Did he help his Mum out? Eventually. After he’d taken a photo and posted it on What’s App.