EVEN though she’s only two, I already have high hopes for my first grandchild.

As mentioned in previous columns, Chloe’s revealing lofty ambitions to be an astronaut by insisting on wearing a baking-foil helmet and crawling into her spaceship under the dining room table for journeys to the stars with Grandma.

Since Christmas, she’s also started displaying skills as an astute businesswoman in the well-stocked corner shop Santa Claus bought her. She’ll happily take money for her till and then refuse to give you anything in return. Profits must be going through the roof.

Oh, and she’s demonstrating a promising artistic talent by pointing her toe in her new ballet dress and shoes, then pirouetting like a miniature Darcey Bussell.

Of course, it’s far too early to say what path she’ll end up taking in life but, one way or another, I’d like to think she’s going to make her mark on the world. I just don’t think it’s likely to be while working for the Secret Service.

She loves nothing more than playing hide-and-seek, but she hasn’t quite mastered the finer points of the game.

For a start, she seems to think that simply putting her hands over her eyes makes her invisible. She’ll sit there, on the settee, convinced that no one can see her because she can’t see them.

Then, when she takes the game to a new level, and goes off to hide somewhere while we count to ten, she has a fundamental problem of being incapable of keeping a lid on her excitement. No matter where she happens to be hiding, she can’t stop giggling or shaking so much with anticipation that it’s a dead giveaway.

During one game, a large cardboard box started vibrating and then sliding across the dining room floor because she couldn’t keep still.

On another memorable occasion, her Dad shouted in his most dramatic hide-and-seek voice: “I wonder if Chloe is hiding in the cupboard under the stairs?”

“No – in the toilet!” she shouted back in a fit of giggles.

My wife was acting as the seeker during a recent baby-sitting shift and asked out loud: “Where on earth can Chloe be hiding?”

“Under here!” came the reply from beneath a wildly wriggling blanket.

I just can’t imagine James Bond shouting “I’m in the wardrobe,” when he’s hiding from an evil baddie, or Tom Cruise yelling “Look up you fools,” when he’s dangling from a wire above the heads of security guards in Mission Impossible.

Unless Chloe shows a vast improvement, I think we might have to concentrate on her being a prima ballerina, retail millionaire, or the first woman on the moon.


THANKS to Paul Frost, former Tyne Tees TV anchorman, for getting in touch about a recent episode with young grandson Gabriel.

Gabriel was staying with Frosty and his wife over Christmas and was having a little trouble on the loo.

“It’s a difficult one, Mummy,” he announced to Frosty’s daughter.

“That’s OK,” she replied. “Just push a little.”

Gabriel was aghast. His face contorted in a mix of horror and anger. “Nooooooo, Mummy,” he declared. “That’s how Elvis died!”


“DADDY, I’ll love you even when you’re bald and fat and wearing someone else’s teeth.” My daughter, Hannah, when she was seven, nearly 20 years ago.

The consolation is that I still have my own teeth.

“DADDY, Daddy, I think I’ve got a public hair.” A friend’s six-year-old, running into the room with his pyjama trousers round his ankles.