In olden times my Grandma, or “Nan” as my sister and I called her, was a lady who knew how to have fun on a budget and get the very most out of her days with us children. I very much suspect all Grandparents who had lived through the war or indeed wars were of the same ilk. With next to nothing in their purses they had the ability to stretch the very little they had into a lot by the simple process of spending time with us doing simple things. Hence, by the ripe old age of eight my twin and I could lay and light a coal fire, shuffle a deck of cards and gamble for pennies (never matchsticks!), choose a winning horse from the runners on Grandstand (a skill that I really must try to resume ) and jump on and off the back of a moving bus (just for fun, not because we were late or anything!) As we lived on the downs, we would go sledging on the golf course in winter and paddling in the dew ponds in summer. She taught us how to knit and if the weather was wet she took us on a bus ride round town and anyone who has ever sat on the back seat, on the top deck of a bus, from top to bottom of Eldon road will understand that to a young child it was as good fun as any rollercoaster! We were encouraged enthusiastically to kick aside the leaves carefully swept into piles by the council workmen and make friends with complete strangers in the queue at the greengrocers. As a by-product of all this foolishness she helped us become confident, self- reliant, sociable and CAREFULL! She also left us all these years later with wonderful, everlasting, happy memories.
These memories came flooding back the other day when a Granddad arrived at Brick Farm Lakes to fish for the day with his Grandson. It was a wet day (again) but they were correctly dressed with waterproofs and wellingtons and having started the day with a warm up beside the log burner over a bacon bap and hot chocolate and following an in depth discussion of flies and tactics, off they set. At the end of the day as I drove away with my side lights on the two of them were still fishing, side by side down on the dam. What a fantastic Granddad! What wonderful memories that young boy will have when he is old with kids and grandkids of his own! What lovely stories and special skills he will be able to pass on to the next fishing generation! Time spent with our Nans and Grandpas are often the most precious times we have as children. They naturally sail through the difficult teenage years that parents often find stressful with an easy-going, but well respected patience and understanding. They can make a very real difference to how our youngsters develop and mature and what better way to do this than by the water’s edge with a fishing rod and a box of flies.