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Thursday 20 August 2015

Zach - no longer in sight

The Bear Grylls de nos jours

Grandson Zach is nine, going on ten, and now well beyond my abilities.

He is staying with us for a week or so and today attends his second session of Krafti-Monkeys at the community centre. Just what this involves I am unsure. But I do know (via a message he passed first to VR) that in preparing the ham sandwich for his lunchbox I must not use too much butter as I did two days ago.

On an earlier occasion, this time via a message passed to his mother (Occasional Speeder), thence to VR and thence to me, he complained that I added insufficient milk to his breakfast cornflakes.

I tried to engage him yesterday about soccer.  That there was a certain malicious pleasure to be gained from playing in a defensive position, taking the ball away cleanly from a glamour-boy forward and depriving him of a chance of scoring a goal. He listened attentively then gave me to understand - quite politely - he didn't agree with the malice concept.

At lunch yesterday at Wagamama, one of a chain of Japanese fusion restaurants, he ordered his own main course of noodles, chicken and a mess of vegetables plus a special foaming crushed apple drink. I have no idea what these items are called.

During the day he plays a soccer game on VR's laptop. But kicking the ball seems a minor element; mostly he stares at tables of statistics which he must master as the team's manager. I tell him this looks like office work to me and he smiles faintly.

The days of walking him to the boulangerie in St-Jean-de-la-Blaquière are long gone. Soon he’ll be reading Colette aloud to me in French as I maunder at an old folk’s home.
Slouching near new planting bed chez RR


  1. Seems like a typical modern boy, RR. As you say he will soon outpace you - if indeed he hasn't already.

  2. Ah, that twinge to the heart when one realizes the child or grandchild leaves us behind and moves on into the next phase of life, toward independence. I remember mine well.

  3. PS. If a grandchild of mine started "snitching" that I had put too much butter on his bread or not enough milk on his cereal I think I should politely tell him to do it himself in future! But perhaps, like me(!), he is a little afraid of you?

    My grand children are all grown and are now presenting me with great grandchildren - four so far- all female and utterly delightful. (But then, I would think that)

  4. Nest Blonde Two is finally about to empty, and I can but imagine grandchildren who escape me. I hope for their arrival, but not just yet; maybe a few year's grace.

  5. The Japanese restaurant is called "Wagamama" ... are you pulling my leg, dear Robbie? It means willfulness.

    I've got a copy of Colette lying about somewhere. Now I'm wondering if I ever read it.

  6. Avus 1/Crow: Outpacing I expected, independence I applaud. It's the remoteness that is difficult.

    Avus 2: If you'll forgive me, you never sounded like a grandparent who did butter or milk. The point is one may spoil grandchildren in a way that wasn't possible with immediate children. Disciplining them is no fun at all; I had a grandpa that beat me. Also I worry about distinguishing between male and female grandchildren; aren't the former delightful too?

    Blonde Two: I can't remember whether I ever hoped for the arrival of grandchildren, early or late. Seems odd, really. I am at heart anti-dynastic, if the Robinson chain dies out (and, good grief, there are lots of them) I shall regard this as a physiological eventuality nothing more.

    RW (sZ): It's a chain, not a single restaurant. And the key word is "fusion". I'm sure it is hideously inauthentic but compared with hundred-year-old eggs (flavourless Angel's Delight) and caramelised grasshoppers (sticky straw) I quite like the food. There appeared to be two inarguable Japanese working in the open kitchen, together with two Occidental women both seemingly intent on becoming Oriental.

  7. Yes, all grandchildren, great or otherwise are delightful, RR - it's just that the present litter are all girls, so I guess that my dynasty will eventually die out.

    As to spoiling them - when my eldest son died quickly and unexpectedly (perforated duodenal ulcer) he left four young children to whom I became a "father figure", emotionally and financially. They have grown to be young adults of whom I am proud. Two girls and one of the boys now having partners and young children. Indeed the eldest grandson(two little daughters)moves into a delightful new house (rented)close to the sea at New Romney this Saturday (Grandpa, retired coach driver, driving the hired Luton van - although I draw the line, these days, at actually moving the furniture! His brother comes in handy there.)

  8. My (prematurely, I like to maintain) acquired grandson, whom we were despairing of last year not for his accelerating intelligence but the opposite, he appeared to have lost all his unexceptional but pleasant twinkle and curiosity and to have turned into a surly moron, re-endeared himself to me by asking politely about the causes of the French Revolution, and appearing to listen to my reply. (I was disappointed with this in hindsight, too much emphasis on personalities and ideas and not enough about taxation and the corvée, but still). Even football seems to be fading in importance, in the face of his acceptance of his own ineptitude at it and the fact he spent too much time on the subs bench, which even wrung my heart a little bit.

    I never knew what Wagamama meant, thanks Rouchswalwe. I wish we had one here, but Sushi Daily in Carrefour and Lidl's soba noodles will have to do.

  9. Avus: What you did, while highly commendable, hardly qualifies as spoiling. I am talking about being mildly subversive, providing a minor haven against the discipline imposed by the child's parents, breaking down the monolith whereby adults are often perceived by children. A soupcon of well-judged mischief, if you like.

    Lucy: One or another grandchild (it may even have been a nephew or niece) judged it to a millimetre with a remark to the effect that VR was wearing her "wise" glasses. Asking for information is the greatest tribute youth can pay to age, especially if the answer encourages a follow-up question. I have to admit I'm about to look up corvée, despite being convinced that the allusion was just a little too throwaway.