Snap! And I’m back in the room…
Thank you all so much for your very kind thoughts about my Mum. It was a scary moment, but I went in to her bedroom the next morning to find her sitting up in bed asking what was for breakfast.
Her 92 and a half year old body is pretty worn out but her spirit is indomitable.
Watching your beloved parent fading into very old age is a challenge I hadn’t understood until it started happening.
But I’m learning a lot from it – in fact I’m compiling an action plan of how I’m going to plan for my own old age, because when Peggy is 40, I’ll be 82 (if I make it that far) and I’m every aware she won’t have any siblings to support her through it.
I don’t know how I would have got through this without mine, but I’m hoping Peggy’s crowd of wonderful cousins – eight from my side, one from my husband’s, seven second cousins already and two more on the way – will be there for her.
My brother and sister-in-law have been visiting with two of their sons and it’s been the most brilliant fun. There is something very special about seeing your child connecting with your sibling’s offspring.
Iain and Jonny (above) tease Peggy in that loving way which only very close relatives can and it’s really adorable.
One of the highlights of their visit has been playing silly games after dinner.
We’ve given up on Trivial Pursuit because the original 1970s version might as well be written in Klingon as far as the younger generation is concerned and the new edition seems to be dumbed down to the point of moronic.
Instead, my sister in law has bought a simple book of quiz questions and we had hours of fun with that.
It may not be a lie to say that I get rather, ahem, overexcited and competitive, where general knowledge quizzes are concerned… Picture a six year old, hand in the air, jumping up and down in their seat. Miss! Miss! Miss!
Another favourite is the hat game, where everyone writes the names of famous people on bits of paper, folds them up tight and puts them in a hat.
You then work in pairs with one pulling out a name and describing the person, the other one figuring out who it is – as many as you can in a minute.
I felt slightly hysterical when I pulled out Mick Jagger and said to my team mate, Jonny (aged 20), with great confidence, ‘The lead singer of the Rolling Stones’.
He replied: ‘I know it’s that old bloke, but I don’t know his name…’
Peggy played with Iain and I was very proud when she unfolded the piece of paper, looked at it and said: ‘That cool American black guy. I had a dream…’
But the hot new game this year has been Bananagrams, which we have re-named Scroggle, because it’s like a cross between Scrabble (you make interconnecting rows of words from letter tiles) and Boggle.
I love it because, like Boggle, it’s fast and furious, with a race to be the first to use up all your letters, with much hysterical shouting of BUNCH! (when you want to trade one crap letter for three unseen alternatives), PEEL! (you’ve used all your letters and need to get another one – and everyone else has to take another one too) and BANANAS! (you’ve finished and therefore, won).
Time pressure and a lot of shouting are the two elements which make games interesting to me – which is probably why I liked working on newspapers so much.
If Scroggle (Bananagrams) ever becomes an Olympic event, my brother Nick will definitely win gold. He’s terrifyingly good at it, to the point where the rest of us thought he should play on his own, to give us a tiny chance.
But in the end everyone won at least once, including Miss Peggy, which makes it the best kind of family game. And unlike, say Monopoly, there was no cause for anyone to kick the board over and stomp off in a temper (usually my role…).