Saturday, 30 January 2016

Storm Gertrude






Here are son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter on a beach during a brief respite from Storm Gertrude earlier this week. There was just time to splash about a bit and draw a few sand-pictures before diving into the vehicle and heading back to the  warm and comfortable log cabin while the wind howled around and the rain cascaded into the already sodden fields and bulging rivers. But it was warm, or at least mild, unlike Gertrude's dramatic visit to America. And everyone is used to rain in Wales. Even when it comes with roaring winds the sheep go on steadily munching and the many ancient castles go on steadily crumbling, and the beaches....well, the beaches are as wonderful as ever, with all that firm, clean flat sand.

I haven't been able to walk on a Welsh beach for a long time, and I was so grateful to have the opportunity do it again. I could walk all day on a sandy Welsh beach, even in the teeth of a gale. Perhaps especially in the teeth of a gale when the surf is rushing up the sand.
This beach is at Tenby by the way, and sometimes it looks like the photos in the link. Not always, though, and certainly not the other day.
We also went here, which, to my mind, is even better, smaller, with a working harbour and lots of rock-pools.

Not only was I aware of  the joys of being on flat sand again, but I was also made very aware of my changed status. Now that Little E is talking (constantly, endlessly, entirely engagingly about everything possible) I realise that family conversation involves everyone calling me 'Granny', and I end up calling son and daughter-in-law 'Mummy' and 'Daddy'.
Yet, when I went recently to collect Little E from Nursery she introduced me to the group by my Christian name, saying firmly to one of her companions who called me 'Nanny', 'She's my Annie (Granny), not yours!'
So if she gets it so straight, why don't we?

I reflect on the concept that possibly Grannyhood causes a sort of softening of the brain, as allegedly in pregnancy. I regress. I am in danger of ambling around thinking about fairies and dragons, talking rabbits, frogs riding motorbikes and small furry things in jackets and dresses. Granddaughter, meanwhile, is also investigating astronomy, geography, numbers and human and animal anatomy.

As she reaches forward I seem to lean back. I appreciate the luxury of handing over responsibilities, of having someone else doing the driving and making the holiday booking. In essence, of being able to share in Little E's state of  awareness and fascination with the world without the constant tension of having to do something about it all. To take a back seat, literally.
How restful to sit back and watch the scudding clouds and think that Peter Rabbit must be getting awfully wet out there!

15 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Without the benefits of children and grandchildren I already spend time thinking about dragons and fairies. And Peter Rabbit. And Mr Todd. And watch the scudding clouds with glee. I still tell myself stories about the shapes they make too.
And feel no shame.

Relatively Retiring said...

Wonderful! We're in the same place.

Zhoen said...

Beaches in the teeth of the gale are awesome, elemental, stripping away all but the soul and the bones.

The world is far stranger than we can imagine, so we do our best, I think.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Being a grandparent is an awesome thing. We no longer have to make the decisions and the responsibility is not on our shoulders. Who cares what they call us, just as long as they call us - and love us.

I hope your weather improves.

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: yes, the raw power of the combination of wind and water is humbling. Huge boulders are tossed about like pebbles.

Starting Over: by the time I got home the sun was shining, the birds were singing and I went out to do some gardening. Storm Gertrude roared along, all in one big bundle.

Jenny Woolf said...

I loved your final sentence. And yes, it's ghastly starting to call your own children "Mummy" and "Daddy" isn't it?! Everyone in the family of whatever age and relationship) calls me "Jenny" But my younger daughter always liked doing things properly, so chose "Mum" at an early age! I am very happy with either name.

Relatively Retiring said...

Jenny:I'm amused when new grandparents decide what they want to be called. It's really not their choice. I've been 'Annie' as soon as E could say it, and I quite fancied 'Grandmama'.

Zhoen said...

In my family it was always, "Your dad" Your Aunt Alma" "Your Grandma." If I'd been able to be as much of a smartass then, as I turned out to be, I should have replied, "Your Husband Rene" "Your Sister-in-law Alma" "Your Mother-in-law Zebre." Etc.


Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: a missed opportunity for a bright child!

gz said...

The luxuries of Grannydom!
We must head for Pembrokeshire again soon...some say a beach is a beach is a beach...but not so!

Relatively Retiring said...

gz: there is really nothing as good as that hard clean sand. I have missed it during the last months and it was so good to walk on it again.

Pam said...

We're about to approach the question of what our son's parents-in-law want to be called. I'm sticking to Granny but if she wants to be Granny too then I'll need to be Granny Pam. Which is fine. I don't think I possess sufficient dignity to be Grandmama!

Relatively Retiring said...

Do you actually have the choice? Little E. chose my name despite all our suggestions, and I have friends whose grandchildren firmly call them 'Gaga' and 'Dodo'.
Grannypam has a nice ring to it.

Leslee said...

Sounds wonderful! I will never be a granny, but I see my friends all enjoying their grandchildren so much. As for wide flat beaches, I haven't been in a long time either but my parents retired near a strand of flat sand beach that was great for walking, at least at low tide (at high tide it was under water). I've been back since they left, but alas only day trips so no long walks at off hours and seasons when the tourists are gone.

Relatively Retiring said...

Leslee: thank you for commenting.Have you ever been to GB? Perhaps you know those hard, flat Welsh beaches?