By Jan, a trainee reflexologist now retired from a long career with the care inspectorate and nursing. Jan lives in Edinburgh and loves the city's local nods to Harry Potter, as well as all things ‘geek’ and science curious.
Gran B was amazing. Her name was Sarah - but, for reasons I never found out, she hated it.
She’d had a difficult life, but as child I never knew any of that. To me, she was just my ’wee, cuddly Gran’ (my other Gran was the wee, crabbit one!) I could always rely on Gran B - she was my safe place, the place I went when things got too hard at home, which happened a lot as I was growing up, so we spent a lot of time together.
I only remember Gran being old, although she was only in her mid-sixties when I was born. I suppose her generation was the one who considered themselves old in their fifties - so she dressed old. She wore the same navy wool coat all the years I knew her. There are so many tales I could tell about things we did and places we went, but the one that popped up in my memory this morning when thinking about The Grantidote was our lunches - and how Gran caught me up in her methodical scheme to ‘avoid paying’ (ahem) in a restaurant.
The thing about this method is, it’s reliant on one of a pair of you being very old and the other being very young. This is how it went….
We often met up for lunch at one of the many restaurants in Glasgow offering a ‘businessman’s lunch’ menu. Mostly it was the Chinese restaurants and they were perfect for her - a low, fixed price and three courses, each one a smaller portion than the normal menu (brilliant for an older person). From memory, I suspect more older people than businessmen partook of the offers.
Gran would eat more slowly than me, so I finished first. She’d tell me she’d be out in a minute and I should wait outside. Because I was oblivious, I must’ve left without showing any guilt because nobody turned a hair. A few minutes later she’d arrive at my side and march me off at a swift pace into the nearest shop. It happened maybe 3 times and took me ages to twig what she’d done! She laughed when I eventually asked her about it. ‘They never stop an old lady’, was her response, with a cheeky grin. She had just kept eating quietly while I wandered out, then waited till the staff were busy and walked out too. She was right, I guess, because she was never stopped! I suppose that’s why she was never caught pinching a few sweets off the pick’n’mix counter at Woollies too.
Ladies and gentlemen I give you my Gran, Sarah, the career criminal!