Since I do not know my date of death I’m making the most of life!

September 4, 2020

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

Since I do not know my date of death, I have been busy making the most of life and have been travelling the world for the past 14 years. I have visited as many different countries as possible and indeed I have shared many of my adventures and scrapes with you.  But I want to visit so many more….

Since I do not know my date of death I'm making the most of life!

BackPacking Granny is a true globetrotter - read about her adventures at Annabel & Grace online magazine

As you may imagine I have been gnashing my teeth to get going again. Unfortunately due to my definitely dodgy chest – and by that I do not mean my boobs – I have had to shield. Lockdown has been full of constraints. Up 
until two weeks ago I had not spent a single night in any bed other than my own since last September. And that is a very long time for me.

So when my son asked whether I would like to look after their two St Bernards – one still a puppy – for a week at their house, I jumped at the chance. I might add the puppy is the size of a Labrador. She has no spacial awareness whatsoever of her vast size and frequently tries to climb on your lap or go through a gap which is too small for her, thus knocking things over… me included!  However she is an absolutely delightful people-loving dog, as indeed are all St Bernards.

My family were off to Turkey.  All was well.  We had sunny weather. I loved having the two dogs for company.  Suddenly plans changed. My oldest granddaughter came home. A level results were about to be announced and she really felt she should be in the UK to get them directly from school and to share receiving her results with her friends. It also seemed sensible as there was such unpredictability – she needed to be in the UK to get advice should her results not be as predicted. 

I have always adored looking after the grandchildren but for the first time I wasn’t really “looking after.” She is 18. She drives and is well travelled, has plenty of common sense but is also like her Granny ie a party girl! And a big party was being planned for results day AND night at her house. The thought of that sent a few alarm bells ringing.

Since I do not know my date of death I'm making the most of life!
The two St Bernards

The edges of my job description were a bit furry so I clarified with her parents. What can she do or not do? I really don’t want to be a finger wagging Granny. And I’m sure she would rather I wasn’t there looking after the dogs. Not only that, there will be BOYS. It’s a co-ed school. Well, they are not boys, they are mostly six foot male athletes – all of them over 18 and already far better educated than myself! They are of course charming, well-schooled in knowing how to win over a granny. I had met most of them before.  

By the time they arrived at the house they had already had their results, no one had bombed.  You can imagine they were all in a great mood And ready to CELEBRATE!

I had my orders from the parents. I was not to clear up after them, my granddaughter would do all that. All that was required of me was to tend to the dogs, make sure the house didn’t burn down, and presumably ring 999 if anyone got hurt. All things my granddaughter would have done anyway. Well not the dogs as she’s not too keen on picking up poo.   

I felt a little superfluous however. I busied myself away from the crowd doing Granny type things – folded some laundry, watered the garden, dead headed the flowers and sewed on some name tapes. 

Since I do not know my date of death I'm making the most of life!
Brandy and St Bernards - truth or myth?

Now what do I do? Do I just take myself off to a far end of the house with the St Bernards and a wine bottle?

Perhaps I could strap extra wine bottles around the dogs necks just in case it was  going to be 24 hours of festivities. Well that’s what St Bernards do isn’t it?  They bring you brandy when it’s very cold. However, a nice bottle of Whispering Angel would be very acceptable on a warm summer night.

Off I went to the bottom of the garden and read. Copious amounts of beer was drunk. I sipped my stiff G & T having decided on the spirits first. It was going to be a long night… 

No worries – it all sounded happy!  I had my own supper and left the 18 year olds to celebrate. They were barbecuing burgers, chicken and sausages.
I watched from afar as the flames leapt higher and higher – please God don’t let the house burn down on my watch!

Mercifully at that moment the heavens opened and the fire sizzled and smoked happily…  but the big flames were out.  The decibels were drifting across the Berkshire countryside but I guess the only people that could hear it were passing motorists on the M4 half a mile away.  

At midnight I went to bed leaving the A-pissters to dance, drink, sing karaoke and swim. I might say I had put the dogs to bed a couple of hours earlier. I think they wanted to go as they kept yawning. They slept soundly – lucky things. 

What is it about being a granny that makes it impossible to switch off the Responsibility Button?  

I  knew I was in no way being held responsible and yet I listened out for every sound. The party was in full swing. I dared not leave my bedroom in case they thought I was spying.  Two o’clock passed, three, still lots of  giggles and squeaks and the odd shriek …. but nothing too alarming. It will be time to get up soon  I thought as I saw the dawn starting to break…

Since I do not know my date of death I'm making the most of life!
Pizza crusts

Activity in the kitchen – I can hear the hum of the oven and soon I can smell pizzas. Delicious! 4.30am!  All I can think is how lucky the dogs are. They have slept through it all. Finally I’m blessed with sleep at 5am for an hour. My alarm goes off at 6am and I need to feed the dogs!  I tiptoe through the debris of croquet mallets, croquet balls, half chewed rugby balls, sun beds, empty beer bottles, cans and pizza crusts. Various bit of soaked clothing are scattered around the garden – it has rained most of the night. The dogs are very pleased to see me!

Yet again I’m in a granny quandary. I hate to see the house and garden looking like this but I know I must leave it and they will tidy when they wake. When will that be? Next Wednesday?  I’m sure you’ve all been in this position. I find it more agonising to leave the mess than clear it up myself but I know I mustn’t. If I clear it up they will never learn and anyway it’s only me who’s in discomfort.  The A-pissters are all slumbering happily and won’t be seen for hours.

I do pick up the soggy pizza crusts  because I didn’t want the dogs to eat them. That made me feel much happier. I had a quick look in the fridge and, true to their word, they hadn’t drunk Daddy and Mummy’s Whispering Angel. Phew I’m glad about that because my son might have blamed that one on me!!

Since I do not know my date of death I'm making the most of life!
Teen takeover

All in all it was a pretty successful staycation. The house didn’t burn down, the dogs were fine and got their beauty sleep, the A-pissters got their first choices and had a jolly good party.  

And I? I learnt an important lesson. If you wait two days your grand kids will clear up.

Here’s to being able to travel again! Stay safe everyone. 

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