My Nana is due to arrive today. She’s a marvellous creature. I was explaining last night to a client that she uses Facebook (albeit grudgingly, but she knows she’d not ‘see’ me otherwise!) and she’s a very adept user of MSN – although we’ve subsequently realised her spelling is somewhat dubious. How someone who reads as much as she does can spell ‘ghost’ like ‘toast’ (goast) is anybody’s guess. I guess it makes sense.
Anyway, at 79, she is travelling – solo – on board Ryanair to Limoges from Liverpool and I’m picking her up at 3:00. I better be prompt today, because you can’t leave La Grand-Mère solo outside an airport.
I’m actually at a loss as to how to entertain her and cater for her. She doesn’t eat like we do: no pasta, no rice. She eats chips, but she doesn’t like french fries. She likes…. hmmmm… I don’t even know…. she likes pies. I could do a pie, maybe. I could do quiche. She’ll eat a quiche. And Steve will eat quiche. I need to have a look in the freezer! Plus, she eats at 5:00. I sometimes eat lunch at 5:00. I think the earliest we’ve eaten tea is 8:00. I’d be at home in Madrid, eating at midnight. We usually eat lunch around 12ish and then tea around about 10:00 – not sure why – just the way it is. I guess I don’t like to interrupt these long beautiful evenings with food! Maybe I can get away with feeding her a sandwich and hoping she’ll make it through til later.
I guess, when I’m 79, I won’t want my rituals disturbed, but it is like having a visit from the Queen: you’ve got to do things how she likes things to be done. She doesn’t want to stay alone, which is fair enough, though how countryside France is different from Wythenshawe, I don’t know. I’m not griping, honest! It’s just it’s a different class of guest from ‘Kenny’ who would eat what we eat, got up about 10:30, didn’t need much entertaining and generally fitted into our way of life. That is an easy houseguest. My nana needs a different kind of treatment! She gets up ridiculously early (I promise, when I’m retired – much as now – I shall get up late! What’s the point of getting up earlier than you used to when you had to go to work and then spending the day saying ‘I’m bored…’
She likes her little rituals – which are out of whack with mine. Lunch at 12. Tea at 5. I can’t take her anywhere with much walking as she refuses to wear sensible shoes, and therefore she can’t walk long distances : /
Still, if we can’t be set in our ways at 79, then when can we?! It is infuriating though. She made me take her to Obsidian in Manchester once, because she’d seen it on a programme. She ordered something she didn’t like and I told her she wouldn’t like, and then didn’t eat it. It cost 40 quid. Now, I should be happy with her company for 40 quid, but we could have gone to the ‘All you can eat Chinese Buffet’ for a fiver and she could have ordered food she didn’t like and then not eat it. It’s worse than Jake! At least we can say ‘no’ to Jake when he decides he wants something ridiculously expensive that he won’t really like. Although, usually, he only picks expensive things he does like, which is a bonus.
Still, there’s no telling her. So… No La Rochefoucauld, because it involves walking. Or Mansle. Or Angouleme. Most of the riverside cafes are shut – so we can’t sit and drink coffee. Maybe I should bring her here, deposit her underneath the apple tree and pass her apples. She likes to feel useful. In fact, she likes cleaning, very much. Maybe she’d like to clean??!
Who’d have thought a Nana could cause such concern!?