Darling, of course I don’t mind, it will be great fun,” says Granny Alice, as she ponders how to break the news to her long-suffering husband, aka Grandpa Tim, that they’ll be staying home to make loom-band necklaces and play Candy Crush on the iPad with little Freddie and Eva rather than joining their daughter and son-in-law for the lakeside dinner at sunset that evening.
“We’ll order in some pizzas for you, Mum,” says her daughter Tamasin. “The place down the road is meant to be fab. Dad won’t be disappointed, will he?”
Alice thinks about her gastronomically obsessed husband, who frankly found his own child-rearing years a challenge some 40 years back. She murmurs an attempt at soothing reassurance. Of course she understands – after all, Freddie’s going through a wobbly patch, and even though the nanny is a delight, sometimes nobody is quite so good as granny. Still, so many of her friends hardly see their grandchildren, and they’re really so lucky that Tamasin and Greg wanted them to come along on their American odyssey.
“Granny, you’re still coming zip-wiring tomorrow aren’t you,” eight-year-old Eva chirrups. Oh lord, she’d forgotten about that one. “Can’t wait, Evie darling. What a lucky granny I am.”
And to think that her book-club friends are doing nothing more intrepid than trundling round Tuscany, gazing at frescoes, sipping vintage Barolo on sun-dappled terraces and nodding off over a good book with a bunch of other 70-year-olds. Poor things.