IT has been a serious bone of contention for some time that I am viewed as a second-class citizen by my own granddaughter.

I have honestly tried everything humanly possible to be the best Grandad alive. I’ve been a pilot, almost killing myself by giving her ‘flights’ round the living room. I’ve been an ogre when she’s playing her princess games. And I’ve been a weatherman – creating thunder and lightning, high winds and rain, when she’s sheltering inside her fairytale castle.

But, despite it all, I have to fight for scraps of affection, while my wife is adored for every step she takes.

When we called at the village nursery school to pick Chloe up recently, one of the teachers said to my wife: “Oh, it’s nice to meet the beloved Grandma – she talks about you all the time.”

Then the same teacher turned to me and said, dismissively: “And you must be her Grandad.” No suggestion whatsoever of being in the slightest bit beloved.

When Chloe was round our house shortly afterwards, she wanted to play “lie-berries” because she’s just joined Darlington Library and borrowed her first books. She stood in front of the bookshelves in the dining room at home and shouted: “Anybody want a book from my lie-berry?”

Naturally, Gandma was permitted to borrow a book but, when I stepped forward, I was told I wasn’t allowed in. “You too big, Gandad,” she declared, putting her hand up to signal I wasn’t welcome.

Anyway, this sorry chapter proved to be a precursor to World Book Day, with Chloe, full of excitement at the opportunity to dress up, looking beautiful in her Cinderella dress.

“Oooh, is it Cinderella?” asked a teacher upon arrival.

“No, it’s Chloe,” came the matter-of-fact reply, as if it were a silly question and the teacher really should have been able to see beyond the costume.

The atmosphere soon lifted, however, when my wife arrived to read the children a story. Her choice was one of Chloe’s favourites, I Don’t Want To Go To Bed, and she was able to bask in the glory of her “beloved Ganma” being the star turn.

Before my wife left, the teacher took her to one side to reveal an “amusing” conversation she’d had with Chloe in the run-up to World Book Day...

“Your Grandma’s coming in to read a story, isn’t she?”

“Yes,” replied Chloe.

“Then your Daddy’s going to come in to read a story later, isn’t he?”

“Yes,” replied Chloe.

“And do you think your Grandad might like to come in and read a story one day?”

Apparently, Chloe thought about this for a few seconds, then shook her head, with a sorrowful look on her face, and sighed: “No…Gandad can’t read.”

The endings just get sadder and sadder.


JUST before coronavirus put paid to my speaking engagements, I managed to sneak in a visit to Ainderby Steeple WI…

Josephine Sykes recalled the time a little boy had been invited to a tea party and he’d been told to be polite and say “thank you” afterwards.

When he returned home, he was asked: “Did you say thank you as you were told?”

“No,” replied the boy. “The boy in front of me said ‘thank you’ and the lady said ‘Don’t mention it’ so I didn’t.”

ANOTHER member, who has understandably asked to remain anonymous, remembered the time she was upstairs changing her baby’s nappy when the telephone rang.

Her seven-year-old son answered, and the mum shouted: “Who is it?”

“It’s that woman from church with a beard,” came the reply.