Diary of A Modern Gran | Parking Fees and A & E

Istockphoto © Lady chasing pram Pic: Istockphoto

Well! I don’t know where to start this week. So much has happened.

Usually, to be honest, my granny life has been fairly routine since the start of the corni virus.

That’s because it’s been so empty.

But now things are easing up, I am able to go out on regular day trips with my daughter, and her little ones, providing we are two metres apart.  Although we are lucky enough to live in a beautiful seaside town, we’re beginning to feel a bit stir crazy. So a few days ago, she suggested we went to a different beach, some thirty minutes away.

Of course this involved taking two cars because of social distancing.

“I’ll pay for our car parking,” she says. “The number’s on my phone, from when I’ve been here before.”

It’s one of those automatic systems so I leave her to it while little Rose, George and I have a high old time building sandcastles. Well, actually, they construct and I admire because of this distancing stuff.

They have their picnic lunch at 11am because they’ve been up since 5am. Normally, I’m working at my desk right now but it so happens that I’ve finished the second draft of next year’s novel and now have about two weeks off until the next stage. (One day, if you’re interested, I’ll explain how the whole process works – it’s fascinating!).

Anyway, we get back to our cars at around 12 and discover, to our horror, that I have a big yellow notice on my windscreen.

“I have one too!” says my daughter in disbelief.

After much head-scratching, we work out that the location number she entered, actually belongs to the car park dead opposite.  Ours, on this side of the street, has a different number.

My daughter promptly files off a challenge on her phone. But within two hours, it’s rejected. Our morning trip out has cost us a total of £50 in car parking fines…

“I’m so sorry, Mum,” says my daughter.

I go to give her a cuddle and then realise that’s not allowed

“It’s all right,” I say, trying not to think about the money. “It’s worth it just to spend a morning with you all.”

And it’s true.  The corni virus has really helped me get my priorities right in life. And I know from your lovely emails, that it’s doing the same to you too.

We spend the next day in my daughter’s garden – again with me keeping to the fence, away from the little ones. But it gets a bit tricky especially when Rose wants me to play football. “I suppose it’s all right if you don’t touch the ball with your hand,” says my daughter.

We develop a game when I kick it through their legs. Great fun. But then the clouds gather so they get ready to go inside and I gather up my bike helmet to cycle home. Then, to our horror, we see George standing on one of the garden toddler chairs and – without a word of a lie – vault over the back. There’s a crash. A yell. My daughter gasps and sprints over. There’s felt tip all over his hands and mouth. Except it’s not felt tip. He’s banged his nose. And his face looks like a blood bath.

Now my daughter is a bit like me. She sweats the small stuff but is very calm when it’s a crisis. “’It’s all right,” she says, soothing George while taking him back into the house. “Grab my phone please, Mum. I need to ring the doctor.”

But I can’t touch anything, can I? So I pick it up using her cardigan and carry it in as though it’s poison, although I’m not sure whether the phone or I pose a bigger risk to each other.

The doctor asks some questions about concussion (no), change of pupil size (no). She thinks it’s all right. Phew!  All we need to do is teach George that he can’t fly.

I breathe a sigh of relief. Too soon…

Two days later, I decide to go swimming in the sea during the afternoon. Naturally I leave my phone behind. When I get back, the landline is ringing. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” yells my daughter. “We’ve all been trying to get hold of you. Rose has bumped her head when she ran out of the kitchen into the sitting room and it’s really bad. We’re on our way to hospital.”

My heart literally freefalls. I’m sure you know the feeling. Little ones do have their tumbles but this doesn’t sound good. “I’m coming,” I say. Then I realise I’d better take off my wetsuit first.

Thank heavens there is one parking space left at A & E.  I grab a mask from the front of the car (luckily I’d been keeping some spares there) and rush in. Wild horses wouldn’t have dragged me into here before but all I could think about was my little Rose.

“I’m sorry,” says the receptionist, “but we can’t let you go in. They’re in triage at the moment and we’re only allowing one carer per child.”

“But I’m the granny,” I plead.

“Give us your number and we’ll let her know you’re waiting outside.”

There’s nothing else for it. I spend a nail-biting hour and then the call comes. The doctor is seeing her now.

Another hour and then I hear someone saying, “Mum?”

My heart soars with relief. There is my daughter with little Rose in the pushchair. Her forehead is badly bruised but she’s smiling. There are no obvious signs of anything awful but she needs extra special watching in the next 12 hours.

I follow them home. My poor son-in-law who had to stay at home to look after little George was beside himself with relief, as were all of us.

Rose seems quite chirpy now…

“I’m going to sleep in bed with Mummy tonight,” she announces.

The following morning, she wakes up bright and happy. The rest of us didn’t sleep a wink. Once more I say my prayers of thanks.

Then I realise something. I’ve hardly thought about corni virus in the last twenty-four hours.

Does this mean life is almost back to normal?

Just before I sign off…

I’d like to say a belated happy birthday to one of our readers, Gabrielle who lives in Germany. She got in touch to say how touched she was when her 4-year-old granddaughter sang Happy Birthday to her on Skype. Gabrielle then sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to her new 8-week-old baby granddaughter as she lay on the changing mat and cooed. “It was the best birthday present I could have had,” she told us.

We love uplifting stories like this during the corni virus so do keep sending them in! Email janecorryauthor@gmail.com.

Jane’s new book… out now!

I Made A Mistake book cover

Hope you don’t mind me mentioning this but my new Penguin thriller launched at the end of May! It’s called I MADE A MISTAKE and is about Poppy, a mother of teenagers and her live-in mother-in-law Betty who is a young 70 year old. The two of them are like mother and daughter. But each has their love secrets. Betty’s go back to the 1960s. It’s on sale at supermarkets, bookshops and online. Here’s the link.

http://bit.ly/IMadeaMistake OR https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Jane-Corry/I-Made-a-Mistake/24376830

Allison Hay

I joined the My Weekly team ten 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!