My grandparents on my father’s side were my least favourite relatives. I don’t think our parents knew this, but for us kids it was a certainty. They were not unkind or mean; in fact they treated us very much as I treat children now, with a bored and patronising air.
They never forgot Christmas or Birthdays, at which times we usually received books as gifts. Books! We were disgusted by this, yet these days I collect books to give to my nephews and nieces for when they are old enough to read them. Such is the circle of life.
Our grandparents came to stay a couple of times each year, and the routine was the same be it school time or the holidays, winter or summer. They smoked furiously throughout the day – at least a pack each, and when Blockbusters came on it was time to start drinking gin. Blockbusters was a crumby TV quiz in which school kids attempted to win prizes by answering general knowledge questions; it was on around five in the afternoon every weekday. Between them they drank a bottle of gin every day, perhaps more.
I distinctly remember a dinner party once when my grandparents were staying. The kids had been sent to bed, and as I often did, I pretended to go to bed before hiding in various parts of the house listening in to what I was missing out on. This particular evening, my father and grandfather were fixing drinks in the kitchen, away from the guests in the living room. My dad let out an enormous fart, a skill he was notable for, and I thought Grandpa might say something by way of admonishment to his son. However, he said something along the lines of wishing he could let out something similar as he had terrible heartburn. I crept back up to my bedroom feeling I’d learned more than enough about adult father-son relationships for one night.
Posted by msmalteaza, 11th July 2013