Being a grandad is cool!

A short while ago the eminence gris of modern English literature, Martin Amis, said, on discovering that he was about to be a grandfather, “Becoming a grandfather is like receiving a telegram from the mortuary.” And guess where he said it …the Hay on Wye Literary and Arts Festival, a gathering where neither you nor I, or I anyway, would be seen dead, it being the sort of place where pompous arty-farties such as dear Martin can say that sort of thing, while trying to be a bit of agent provocateur for the Baby Boomer fraternity. But there again, I’ve always thought that Martin Amis was a bit of a toss-pot.

I’ve just got back from England after saying hello to my new grandson, Daniel Thomas Alexander Workman, and renewing my all too limited contact with my corazón, my little sweetheart of a granddaughter, Katie. And it was wonderful.

Three Christian names (or forenames, as I believe we are now supposed to call them) may seem a bit excessive, but this delightful selection actually harks back to the old idea of naming one’s offspring after family, forebears, or for some specific person who had been influential in the parent’s or family life. And, of course, because you simply liked the name. Young Danny (by which name he will always be known) would have only have had the D and the T to give as his initials had not a close friend of his mum’s died a few days before his birth. Hence the Alexander, which I think is lovely. Not only does it acknowledge the love and importance someone had in life, but, purely by chance it is also the name that, given the opportunity, I’d have chosen myself. Let’s face it, given the choice between Alexander and Derek, what would you have chosen!

But I wander off the grandparental theme.

It’s been said often enough that one of the benefits of being a grandparent, as distinct from a parent, is that at the end of the day you hand them back. I can put up with a certain amount of crying, mainly because after I’ve spent a couple of days with my little darlings I can get a flight that takes me two thousand miles away, and still retain the sylvan image of that angelic smile of the well-fed, content little angel … and I haven’t had to change a single shitty nappy. I can take the photos, bounce him/her on the knee, buy the prettiest little outfit I can find, and make all the ridiculous ‘oobly doobgly kichiii wabadaba’ sounds I like, knowing that my friends will never hear me and think that I need a treatment of relaxatives or, more likely, that I’m just pissed again and that I won’t remember a thing about it in the morning. (And a word of warning about those who think that short-term memory fades with age … it doesn’t, and you invariably remember everything you said the night before and feel like a complete and utter pillock for having said it!)

So, far from being in accord with Mr. Amis, I disagree with him entirely. My grandchildren have given a new lease to at least part of my life. I enjoyed visiting my sons Tom and Jim, and their respective ladies, on my irregular visits to the UK, but now there’s the added incentive of being able to act a little silly with Katie – and with Danny in the future – and make her laugh. And that, dear Martin, is something you and your grandchildren will miss if all you can think of them is as one step nearer the grave.

And, apparently, being a grandad is cool! Hmm…not so sure about that one!

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, www.derekworkman-journalist.com , and Spain Uncovered

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