Diary of A Modern Gran | Eamonn Holmes or Sports Day?


Istockphoto © Lady running after pram Illustration: Istockphoto

Oh dear. I have a really difficult decision. Eamonn Holmes or my granddaughter’s sports day?

My lovely Penguin publicist has organised a day in London doing various live radio interviews for my new book, including one with Eamonn.

I’ve already explained that Wednesdays and Thursdays are written in stone as granny days.

So my interviews are arranged for a Tuesday. However, I didn’t realise it was Rose’s sports day. To make it worse, I missed it last year too because of a work meeting.

I feel terrible about it. In fact I’ve got working gran’s guilt.

“Don’t worry,” says my husband as he hobbles around on his crutches after his spinal op. “She’ll be too busy trying to win to notice that you’re not there.”

I’m not convinced.

“We understand, Mum,” says my daughter. “Just think! You’ll be able to tell her that you met a famous celebrity when she’s old enough to understand.”

I do hope so. I have to say it was amazing to meet the great man himself. So warm and welcoming! But I also got a terrible pang in my heart when I saw the photographs of little Rose crossing the finishing line before the rest of her class.

“Look, Gan Gan,” she crows triumphantly when I arrive the next day to look after her and little George. “I’ve got a cup and a medal!”

Running, it seems, is in the genes…

My 95-year-old father gets quite emotional when I give him the news on “that Face TV” as he calls it. “She must take after me. I was a runner too in my youth.”

In fact all my three were – and are – pretty speedy on their feet. I joke that it’s because they were always running away from me when they were little!

Meanwhile, I’m struggling slightly with the potty training. George is rather hit and miss.

“I sympathise,” says my husband whose own internal system isn’t quite functioning properly after his op. So the hospital has given him some cardboard cones for you-know-what.

This has led to some comical situations on granny days when I have to bring George back to our house so I can look after both.

“Watch out!” I called out when George almost knocked over ones of the half-full cones. Fortunately, I caught it – and my grandson – just in time.

I have to say that looking after two little ones and an unsteady husband is taking its toll. The other day, I found myself putting a packet of cheese in the linen cupboard…

Meanwhile, I’ve been given another set of instructions from my daughter. “I can’t get George to sleep in the evening anymore,” she complains. “You will have to cut his midday nap.”

What? But I rely on that to get some writing done. Still, I do see what she’s getting at. I’d forgotten that tricky stage when toddlers still need to nap but then refuse to go to bed until late. Isn’t it funny how an early night is such a treat for adults – yet is something that children generally fight against?

Writing for a better future

I finish off my week by spending Saturday in Wormwood Scrubs prison. No – I hadn’t broken the law. I’m a judge for the Koestler Trust which gives prizes to men and women in prison for writing and art.

I used to be a writer in residence of a high security male prison which helped to inspire my thrillers. It’s shown me how important writing can be to reassess your past and make a better future.

On my journey to the prison, I fell into conversation with a very nice couple opposite who told me they were about to see their small grandson from Canada for the first time in a year. Understandably, they were very excited.

I have several friends whose grandchildren live far away from them. It makes me feel very grateful that I have mine round the corner.

As I write this, it’s Sunday. “Let’s have a nice relaxing day,” says my husband as we open the curtains.

Then the phone goes. My son-in-law has been away for work and my grandson woke at 4am, ready to start the day. My poor daughter is exhausted.

I think of our planned “relaxing day” and of the granny I met yesterday. “How about breakfast at our place?” I suggest.

“Thank you, Mum,” says my daughter gratefully.

No. The pleasure is all mine. Personally, I can’t think of anything nicer…

I Looked Away – my new psychological thriller about a granny with a secret past  –  is out with Penguin on June 26. Order now: https://amzn.to/2Lq2rew.

Details about Jane's latest book, I Looked Away

Don’t miss an exclusive serial, The Grans’ Club, written by Jane Corry for My Weekly. All instalments are available now.

Read Jane’s other Gran’s columns here.

Allison Hay

I joined the My Weekly team nine years ago, and I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazine. I manage the digital content for the brand, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters. I also work for Your Best Ever Christmas - perfect as it's my favourite time of year!