Mayday….

Mayday Mayday can you hear me

We are a nation in distress

We are being savaged by a virus and

We’re all just doing our best

Well some, more than others they

Show up time after time

They are the doctors and the nurses

Working on the front line

We are spared the horror

 and dread that they must face

safely locked away

 in our own special place

But there can lie another terror

One you may not see

The scars and wounds will

Long be etched in our memory

Some at home, are far from safe

Not just from the virus

Another fear may reside in the form of domestic violence

No escape, where can they go

To seek safe sanctuary

Mayday Mayday please, can you hear me

What about the clusters, in our nursing homes

Distanced from friends and families, feeling quite alone

The PPE, well where is it, to keep the staff all safe

Platitudes and promises won’t keep them from the grave

Businesses and mortgages spiralling out of control

The fear of death and the fear of debt, new commodities to own

We look to our world leaders and put in this request

Save us from this burden at humanities behest

Let us come together and strive to each help each other

No profit or loss should be accounted

For He aint heavy, he’s my brother

Mayday Mayday can you please hear me

We are a world in distress

We need an intervention to help clear up this mess

We shall learn to be kinder in treating our fellow man

And strip things back and start again before it all began

Let’s view with eyes that see despair and decide not to fight

Take hold of the power and use it best to set the world right

This virus has shown it doesn’t care if you are rich or poor

It can travel through any nation and any status at all

The graves we dig are all the same depth when it’s time to go

Followed by grief and loss and despair, hearts full of sorrow

Help ease those sad and fearful hearts and put in a better plan

Cos the world is just the world if it doesn’t have man

Let’s not destroy it or tear it apart for it is a beautiful place

The seas, the rivers the mountains and sky, all so full of grace

and when we finally get through this we need to show we care

By reflecting and by doing and by making the world fair

No more looking down or even feeling entitled 

Peace and power can go hand in hand 

With ambition that’s unbridled

To heal the world and fellow man and stop being so greedy

Take the wealth and hand it out and help  prop up the needy

Mayday Mayday,  are you listening,  can you help us out

If we don’t heed, what we’re doing

Then it was all for now’t

When…

all we are certain of is now….

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When the buds unravel and unfurl in their splendour

it’s time

when a heart skips a beat and you get lost in loves wonder

it’s time

when a mother first sees you and holds you in her arms

it’s time

when a loved one takes their last earthly mortal breath

it’s time

when the moon and stars shines light in the darkness

it’s time

when the sun’s warm embrace soothes and rests on your face

it’s time

when sadness, hurt and despair are choking and squeezing you

it’s time

and when faith and hope and love collide, and give reason and understanding, it gives power in the now, this hour, this second, this moment in time

it’s time to embrace and endure to look and to listen, to feel and to heal, respect and accept

it’s time

Julia

a time to remember our loved ones on national poetry day and remember the strengths and weaknesses that can tie us together….

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What a fair and curious child little Julia was

Happy to sit and play and dance and gather up the moss

A tall man would come from just up the road

his house so very different, from the house where she had grown

he’d pay her a visit from time to time, she was thrilled for such attention

for a child so young she would notice her siblings got no mention

and as she played in the bog, others around would tease her

still, merrily in her naivety, she wouldn’t let it displease her

sometimes he’d give her a penny and place it in her hand

she’d curl her fingers around it, and wonder about this man

she never quite knew why he came to spend time with her alone

He’d wander from the big house, the one that made the quarry stone

she just a farmer’s daughter tending to their lot

fierce with pride and dignity they took care of what they got

her daddy with his callused hands and furrows on his brow

looked tired and worn and beaten down, his eyes full of sorrow

many mouths to feed he ploughed right on and his eldest daughter helped

as she swept and cleaned and cooked for those, up at the big house

her mother busied daily, keeping Julia close by her side

this little child she loved so much had filled her heart with pride

for Julia was only 4 years old in the year of 1916

unaware of the trouble and toils that came from the Easter Rising

A simple carefree country girl now the only one left at home

Her big brother and big sister, to England they had flown

But still he came, the tall gentleman, and sit and sip some tea

Cautious in how he spoke to her and to her mammy

Polite in his manner, he wore a rather tall hat

Always tipped, then took it off and laid it on his lap

A man with many children, he had a large family

Julia never understood, ‘why does he come see me’

His older son was sent away when he was only 16

To join the British army and has not been back to Meath

Well that was 4 years ago now and though he is very proud

There is something hanging over his head like a big grey cloud

Mammy seems a little sad, when the man comes by to chat

But she is polite and kind to him and Julia is pleased with that

When Julia is only 9 years old the man could come no more

Some say it was a broken heart, but they cannot be sure

Not yet a man of 60, his time had come to pass

No more would he wander down from the big stone house

As Julia grew older it was time to tell the truth

The tall man was her grandpa, yet she didn’t have a clue

Her mammy was really her nanny and raised her as her own

And her ‘mammy’ was her sister where to England she had flown

And later on after that her ‘father’ too would visit

Back from the British Army, he came back home to Meath

Always through a veil of somewhat secrecy

George would visit Julia with his new wife, the Lady

And though she felt quite happy that they would come for tea

It was a reminder of how very proud she was of her strong family

For back in the year 1912 it must have been unnerving

But strength and pride and dignity were qualities they were preserving

Breathe…

Breathe, said the river as it whispered to the sea
Something is happening, the cowslip is growing free
Bees are feasting on the broom, a delicious yellow delight
Happy in their busy dance, what a wondrous sight
Birds surveying the landscape in noisy melody
Observing all the changes as he flies from tree to tree
And the mountains echo as the hawk and eagle soar
The beasts, the deer’s the elephants, gave a triumphant roar
Breathe whispered the estuary as it washed into the sea
Look at the fishes dancing, oh so merrily
The crabs the sharks the jellyfish, maintain their habitat
No longer caught in the destruction of man, and all that came with that
but as the mist is lifting, like a bride to be’s veil
We see the glorious beauty, of a world that never fails
Just as mother nature, intended it to be
Her creation will provide enough for the likes of you and me
For a while she was raging and her arteries were blocked
Choking, coughing spewing and dying with toxic shock
So breathe said the wind, as it sent out clean fresh air
The people get the message and now they’re feeling scared
Let’s hope they remember the devastation caused
As they watch the planet breathe again, when they were put on pause

Shakespeare

Did you know the extent of the words we use today are attributed to Shakespeare…. There are 422 bona fide words apparently

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Known to have invented/coined/minted over 400 new words, I have put a few (61) together here for my amusement. They are in italics… Enjoy

An Ode to fellow writers who like the written word

I may unearth a little tale that you may think absurd.

 I was born not far from Stratford, birthplace of the ‘Bard’

 easily accessible from my old front yard.

  Well to your amazement you might find this lacklustre

 that I wasn’t really into him, though he was an indistinguishable buster.

 Is not that he’s disgraceful, distrustful or distasteful,

 he simply wasn’t my cup of tea; I know I sound ungrateful.

 I’m not being sanctimonious or engaging in rumination

but I’d rather hang out, if I could with an ill-tempered Dalmatian.

 I know for others, he is king and really hard to rival

 but I think I’m more impartial to reading the blessed bible!

 I’ve been to his house a few times as I’m a little fascinated,

of course the tour began downstairs with a honey-tongued man named David

He had a hunchbacked girlfriend, she was quite a hoot

If she mixed up her lines however, he would show his hobnail boot!

David was ill-tempered this I can’t deny

I heard at their engagement, she had a little cry

I told her not to dwindle, that he was too domineering

she ought to end this courtship and audition for the ‘girl with the pearl earring’.

I don’t mean to be critical but some things just must be said

Of course its circumstantial but I’m not really that well read

I don’t think Shakespeare was fair-faced, he’d had a lot of exposure

but his plays and poems were equivocal in written word disclosure

In his pretty garden there is a rather large footfall

Of people listening to his ‘Acts’; not out playing football

I came across a fortune-teller, suffering with leaky gut

She was a promethean psychic, with a rather large butt

What she said was priceless, over credulous more like

So I became a little hostile and slept on it that night

I think she was a madwoman of that I must lament

she told me that Will Shakespeare, at night to her was sent

as he watched her undress he would have a fitful fap

and when he had quite finished, she would stand up and clap

You see why I am so fretful at this foulmouthed hot-blooded woman

Why would she just stand there while the Bard was ‘coming’

What an auspicious story, it makes me want to shudder

I think she must be lonely and her mind is in the gutter.

His house is quite a wonder, nook-shotten here and there

I even saw his marriage bed when I went upstairs

The guide was watching closely like useful watchdog

Ensuring nothing useless would get past the sod

So here I am to educate myself as I write this

My aim is to humor and of course to reminisce

Because I didn’t know that Shakespeare had invented so many words

I may not be reclusive, but I’m a fairly kickie-wickie girl

I hope you get your moneys-worth if you ever pay a visit

It’s really quite majestic for the time that was in it

I could keep going on and on for there are 422 words minted

By the zany William Shakespeare of which we have been gifted

I’m not one for braggartism so I really will end it here

Don’t be too cold-hearted let me hear some Cheer!

‘we are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with sleep’

The Tempest Act 4, Scene 1

I salute you …. Capt. Tom Moore

Sometimes it is the little things that end up being the big things. Capt. Thomas Moore is a prime example….

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Can I tell you that you’ve moved me

with your simple act of kindness

to walk around your garden

has done more than just to bind us

in uniting in our thanks and praise

it has opened up our eyes

to show that simple gestures

can bring the biggest surprise

a selfless man just ‘helping out’

as you done so in the war

but let me tell you Captain Tom

you have done so much more

you’ve shown a generation of what it means to count

a credit to society, of that there is no doubt

as for the doctors and nurses

for which you bravely fight

the amount you have raised in money terms

is truly an awesome sight

it started with a single step

and caused such a furore

i’d like to say ‘I salute you’

Sir Captain Thomas Moore

I truly hope your birthday

gets the celebration it deserves

your name will be in history books

and forever be preserved

As for your family, a pride they surely feel

and the people who got behind you

it really is surreal

So a round of applause for this great man

and those who have donated

putting your money where your mouth is

without feeling obligated

and thanks to all the medical

and other front line staff

we are so very humbled

as we watch you walk your path

lets hope when this is all over

and we cast a grateful net

of love, of grief, yet hope and peace

lest we forget

The Oscars…..

Not many of us expect to be talking about our ‘final wishes’ at a young age. That is usually for the very rich or the very old, who make provisions for what is to happen to them at ‘the end’. This pandemic may give us all a different view on that now.

I was thinking about the Oscars, I don’t know why, because I never watch them fully, but I do sometimes watch the edited highlights.  I watch as the camera pans to the celebrity that has been nominated, all of them tentatively smiling, looking coy or bashful, but hopeful that they will win the Oscar.  One of them will read the speech which they had prepared, in the hope that they might win.  So many potential speeches waiting to be read, full of thanks and praise for many, including their loved ones

We are currently going through a pandemic; this time it has the full attention of the world.  When it was the Bird Flu, or SARS or even Ebola, the whole world didn’t quite take note as they are now.  I myself, carried on as normal at that time, thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’ and I am sure there are many people who thought the way I did then.

This time it is a different story.  This time the virus is spreading like wildfire and like other viruses, it does not discriminate against age, sex, race, disability, marital status or religion.  This one is abiding by the Equality Act and each of us must take note.

We have all become accustomed, at this stage, to know what ‘Social distancing’ ‘wash your hands’ lockdown’ and PPE mean.   It has become part of our everyday dialect and vocabulary.  My 3-year-old beautiful grand-daughter calls it the ‘Virusy’ and wonders when it will go away so that she can give me a hug again.  How I long for it to be over now, so I can give her and my 3 other grandchildren a big squeezey hug.  I cannot answer her with certainty, no-one can.   Instead we have to ‘make do’ with the occasional ‘window visit’.

What I do know is that the longer people flout the rules and don’t engage in social distancing, washing hands, remaining in lockdown or having the required PPE, the longer this virus will dance with us and pick us off one by one and none of us will know for sure, if we will survive it. 

From healthcare workers to people on the street, Actors, models and even the UK Prime minster, young, old and in between people are contracting this virus and people are dying.  It’s like a lottery, people are chosen at random but there are no winners, only losers.  Sure lots of people will get over it and survive, but with what long lasting damage to their lungs?  Others, not so lucky to survive.

This brings me to the Oscars.  What if you get it?  You don’t know if you will survive it.   You have to be prepared.  You have to have your ‘speech’ ready.  You have to tell your loved ones, not only that you love them, that you will miss them, that you don’t want to leave them, you have to tell them what they have to do with you, if you do indeed, leave them. 

Some families only think about having to bury their elderly relatives, but this virus can take any of us and we need to let our families know, what and how we would like to happen to us at the end.  Whether that is to be cremated or buried.  Whether it is to be repatriated home if you live/work in another country or indeed which graveyard to be buried in.  Is this morbid, no I don’t think so.  It is necessary.  Not everyone has made a Will.  Talk to your loved ones, let them know what you would like to happen to you, ‘just in case’ you are the one. 

Write your closing speech.  Your speech of acceptance, in the event that it is you.  Write it in a letter.   Tell your parents, your siblings, your children, your grandchildren, your friends.  Tell whomever is dear to you, what they mean to you, in your closing speech.  Be prepared.  You may never get this virus and the letter will then never have to be read out, just like the nominees at the Oscars, they go home with their unread speeches if they didn’t win.  You get to keep your letter if you are lucky enough to not contract this virus.

In the meantime, follow the rules to slow the spread and flatten the curve.  Keep our Healthcare workers as safe as possible, by staying home.  Allow them to not to have to be crushed by an overwhelming workload, in these extraordinary circumstances, and often, without the proper PPE.   Give them some respect.  If you do not stay home and follow the rules you are risking their lives as well as your own.  They already have enough of a burden to bear, being in the midst of this pandemic and watching people suffer and die on a daily basis.  Please do not add to their burden unnecessarily.

Take care, stay safe, stay home and give your ‘speech’ some thought as well as your wishes. 

Press Pause

in these uncertain times we have enough to worry about. The most important thing to worry about it staying safe and well and keeping others safe and well. Worrying about rent, mortgages, businesses etc should not be part of our burden now. I think the governments, around the world should just press pause, from the beginning of march and reboot, when this is all over, so no more debt accumulates, adding to people’s already enormous burden of keeping well.

press pause
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It didn’t seem so serious, not really

Not at first

Everyone carried on as normal engaging with life

Wrapped up in it, in work or family, despair, debt

The rat race

December, a month of mixed emotions

Full of demands, from excitement to dread

Christmas

A new unexpected trend was banded about this year

It was ‘Corona Virus’

We heard it mentioned, but it was ‘over there’

We carried on as normal, in the rat race

Wrapped up in work, in family, in despair and debt

Beware the ides of March!

Now we began to listen to take notice

It was here, it was everywhere

Stockpile, panic buy, carry on

With daily life, with family, work, despair and debt

Spreading, dying, ignorance and fear

Lockdown

Essential, frontline, social distancing, cocoon

Wash, wash wash your hands

Don’t touch your face

Stay safe at home

Get out of the rat race

Press pause

Flatten the curve, it will save lives

Don’t be a fool, ignorance is not bliss

It is fatal

The world is broke, full of despair, fear and debt

Press pause

Take time to reflect.

Connect

With fresh eyes, find a way

It’s about people and love and life

Humanity

The rat race, dead in the water

It’s a boulder, laying heavy on your shoulder

The graves are the same depth

Press pause

When it’s over, when it’s been contained

Let a new contagion begin

A kind one, a helpful one, a fair one

Not one full of ignorance, hate, debt or regret

Press play and begin anew

Wipe the slate clean

Let families flourish and businesses carryon

Without the noose

We are all in the same boat

Let’s not accumulate the entire ocean in it and sink

A new world, a new world game

The human race

Let’s heal the world, play your part

Let our leaders play theirs

Let them lead, honourably, wisely, honestly and fairly

Press pause

So that we can embrace the pause

So we may cocoon and stay safe at home

So we may slow the spread

So that we may flatten the curve

So that we may not put our essential frontline staff at risk

So that our frontline staff may be rewarded for their bravery

Tenacity and courage

So that when we un-press pause

The new world looks like a brighter place

Not full of despair, like in the rat race

I hope they’re not ugly

When ugly is more than what the eye perceives. Ugly comes in many disguises

Authors own…. dancing in the shadows

I hope they are not ugly….

What does that say about me?  What do I mean?  I don’t know really.  When I signed up to take in other people’s children and when I would get the phone call from the social worker asking me if I would take in someone, ‘I hope they’re not ugly’ would always spring to mind.

Rewind to years before I ever became a foster carer but to a time when a seed was planted.  Working on placement whilst studying law, with young offenders in a secure unit I was horrified that they were so young and yet were locked up due to their ‘behaviour’.  Having read their files, I was more appalled at the level of neglect they had received from their significant care givers.  I knew then whose behaviour was uglier. 

Through this placement my path crossed with foster carers, caring for a very pretty little baby girl.  My heart broke.  My 2-year-old was safe at home and surrounded by a loving family.  The seed was truly planted.

When my 2-year-old was 15 I took in my first child.  It was to be for 2 weeks.  Having been given some of the back ground, it was with nervousness, excitement and even a little bit of trepidation that I agreed.  Not only wondering how this would all go, she was also the same age as my 15-year-old, I would try to imagine how she would look, based purely on the information I was given about her circumstances.

In total I have fostered 13 children over the last 15 years and none have them have been ‘ugly’.  But what does that even mean.  Ugly can be determined in different ways can’t it

The dictionary definition is: –

  1. unpleasant or repulsive, especially in appearance
  2. involving or likely to involve violence or other unpleasantness

At times, over the years, there has been an element of ugliness with regard to unpleasantness, bad or undesirable behaviour.  There have been challenges, battles, disagreements and it doesn’t necessarily come from the ‘child’ who has been fostered.

I have had battles with school teachers, my own biological children, social workers, my husband, family of origin members, my family members and of course, the children themselves. 

I had wanted to foster children between the ages of 0 to 10, because at the time, my youngest children (twins) were 10 years old.  I wanted all of my children to be older.  As I said, the first child which was placed with me was 15, the same age as my oldest child.

As the two-week period came and went, turning into six months, things eventually became difficult during this period of adjustment, for my oldest child felt that her ‘life’ as she knew had been completely changed and taken over.  She had to share her home, her school, her friends, her mum and dad, with this new girl.  There was nowhere for her to ‘escape’ apart from her own bedroom.  It was junior cert year and it was a difficult time.  She felt for the girl and her circumstances, but was that really her concern, she was after all, just a kid herself and didn’t really need that sort of responsibility, did she?   Wasn’t she already dealing with enough transitioning into and through teenage hood?  So at times, it got ugly. The twins however, felt differently because to them, it was just another older sister.  She didn’t impact on their friends, their after school activities or their school life. 

Even now 15 years later, we are in touch with this girl.  Lots of other children have made a way into our lives and most have stayed a part of it too.  Fostering is not an easy task by any means, because there are many different angles, perspectives, personalities, dynamics, challenges and ugliness.  There is however, also a sense of joy, a sense of satisfaction and a sense of hope that you can make a real difference in someone else’s life.  Not only the child that you foster, but actually, your own and your biological children’s life.  It teaches tolerance, respect, understanding, responsibility, sharing, even when they don’t want to and acceptance, even of the ugliness.  It teaches people to grow, to have empathy, and to care, to care enough for someone else, someone who has to deal with the ugly.

To Judge

People say they are non-judgmental, but I think people judge all the time, if only for a while…

Judging……

My grandson turned 5 yesterday. He is a very clever, observant and smart boy. He is definitely in tune with his feelings too. The night before his birthday, he go very upset, thinking that once he was 5, he would no longer be able to do crafts or colour in pictures of spiderman etc as he would be too old. His mother reassured him that not only could he still do his crafts and colouring, but that he would get better and better at it and anything that he did, the older he gets. He was very reassured and of course, believed his mother.

I went to see him on his birthday, well to have a social distance visit with him so I could leave his birthday present in the garden for him. After thanking me, he proceeded to tell me that he been upset the night before his birthday because he thought that he would not be able to colour or craft once he was 5 but that his mammy told him that he would be able to and not only that, but that he would get better and better. I also reassured him that yes, that was the case and that I am now 55 and I can still paint, draw and make things and that I got better with age. He smiled and nodded.

We were both painting at my house about a month ago, I was doing an abstract. He told me that my painting looked like a child had done it! Now thinking back to our conversation yesterday, I am a little perturbed that when he smiled and nodded at me, he was being polite, thinking that by 55 I should be able to paint better than something that looked like a child had done it! I think he may have been judging me!

These are very different times which we live in, especially the last few weeks and it is having an impact on everyone, all ages, across the world. This sensitive 5 year old picks up on everything around him and he is alert to everything in his environment and the people around him.

Last week he and his mother were having a chat which lead to how he views the family around him and it goes something like this:-

Nana L – drinks tea

Grandad L drinks champagne

Nanny M smokes

Grandad J builds

Nanny C Judges (means bosses everyone) 🙂

Grandad K works all the time

Daddy drinks cans of boost

Mammy drinks milk (no I don’t) she says

Jess watches Netflix

Jake says cool stuff

Uncle D gives out to B every day!

Aunty S tells C not to tease

Little J goes to school

and S…. poos

Well, we did have a giggle. Out of the mouths of babes hey. Well me being Nanny C, I took a little time to reflect. Am I really ‘Judgey/ bossy’? Well, yes I guess I am. It’s not the first time and I don’t think it will be the last time that someone will say that to be honest

I Judge EVERYTHING, straight away, and I am not ashamed to admit it. However, I am not the only one. You do too! People like to say that they don’t judge but, we all do. You are judging this piece of writing right now. I first wrote this in a notepad in a beautiful leather bound case which I bought in a shop in Dingle. I judged it as soon as I saw it, thought it was beautiful and bought it. Others may have seen it and thought it was just OK or too expensive, that would be their judgement on it.

The dictionary definition of to judge is:-

to form an opinion or conclusion

We all form opinions everyday, from the weather to what to wear, eat or how people interact with each other etc, etc. The dictionary definition is to form an opinion OR conclusion, not necessarily both, at the same time. In my defense then, I would say that when I form an opinion I do not always come to a conclusion on something, that there is room for manoeuvre. For example, lets take the weather. I may say ‘I don’t think it will rain all day’. That is not a foregone conclusion, merely my opinion. A meteorologist may be able to put me right, given that she/he is more expert in the field of weather, but even experts sometimes get it wrong.

I mind this particular grandchild 3 days per week whilst his mother is at work and sometimes at the week end too, until she gets back from work. He spends a lot of time with me, in usual circumstances, at this moment he is locked in at home with his mammy and loving every minute of having her home! He has been known to call me mammy 2, in the absence of mammy 1, but mammy 1 is his absolute number 1 person in his life I might add. As much as I love him and my 3 other grandchildren, I am known to somewhat spoil them more than I did their mothers when they were little. That is a grandmother’s prerogative is it not? Having said that, I still have to ensure he is ‘fed and watered’ properly and nutritionally first. I also have to ensure he is ‘bathed and bed’ by a reasonable hour, so I can absolutely understand his view of me as being ‘bossy’.

Also, I still have two teens in the house and boy oh boy do they test my patience at times. My little 5 year old is often a vicarious party to the conversations which go on between us plus the fact that they often have to be coerced, encouraged and told what to do and how to do it by yours truly, moi! Hence, of course I am a bossy boots.

I would imagine he has taken in a great many of the conversations we have had regarding, teens, indulgent and otherwise, boys, clothes, and make up styles to name but a few. Make up, especially seems to be a regular topic in the house in that I see lots of people contouring their faces to within an inch of their lives. Making themselves look like drag queens with the over made up eyes, lips and enormous eyelashes, that a bird could build a nest in. Then of course, there are the eyebrows and the shiney noses. Who really in their right mind wants to look like Groucho Marx about the brows and Rudolph with the ‘shiney nose’. Girls, put down the high lighter and step away from the brow pack…. Dont you know you are to only enhance what you already have, not recreate it with a pencil! See there I go again with the judging.

I started this piece by saying my 5 year old grandson is a very clever, observant and smart boy. I have judged him correctly on this occasion, not only is that my opinion it is also my conclusion about him. I also observe that he too can be a little bossy at times….. he must take after his nanny C.

In conclusion, however, to his list, when I am no longer ‘actively’ parenting or childminding grandchildren, I propose to be more like grandad L, and drink Champagne…..