Christine Grahame: A grand old time as a granny is a delight, not a duty

Yes, it was granny duty time again – and while mum suggested a whole week, I thought that would prove too much for both of us, so the time was divided into three two-day stays, and that worked out just grand.

By Christine Grahame
Friday, 30th August 2019, 6:00 am
Visiting Portobello beach gave Granny Christine the chance of a sit-down. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Visiting Portobello beach gave Granny Christine the chance of a sit-down. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Week one and we did the museum, free and fun. The hot air balloon thingy and the name-spelling robot are grand but the star was the ­Millennium Clock.

Granddaughter ­actually wanted to look at the costume ­section, especially the construction of the crinolines. “How did they pee in them, granny?” was a good question. Thankfully I knew the answer. Some of the modern concoctions raised the same question. I did not know that answer. Moving on.

Later we took the open-topped bus tour, though granddaughter was more interested in working the headphones, so no tick for that. Later she took more pleasure in being on the upper deck of the number 26 and looking down on the streets below. Lesson learned, hide headphones.

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Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

Week two and it was blazing hot, so we went early to Porty beach to secure a parking place, where granddaughter quickly made friends with two other children. Organising them into a work party, they tried to defy physics by filling – and failing to fill – a sand hole with bucket after bucket of sea water transported from the far shore line.

Still, it gave granny time to sit and, well, just sit. I needed it. In the later afternoon we toddled through ­Holyrood Park and she corrected me about the number of pools at the Parly. There are five, she explained. Being in a naughty mood – me, not granddaughter – I encouraged her to swim fully clothed in the pools, a bit like notching up Munros. With mock shock and a great deal of glee she rose, or should I say swam, to the ­challenge and dried off afterwards in the ­summer sun. I think it was a highlight for her.

The following and last week, she reprised the experience but this time in one pool teeming with children and the odd dog. Parents had brought picnics and floats and I even brought a towel. There she was, organising equal sharing of a rainbow float, even though it wasn’t hers. Teacher? Policeman? Politician in the making?

Last day and we paid final tribute to the Millennium Clock and en route to Greyfriars Bobby’s statue took a few photos with Oor Wullies. We went into the graveyard where Bobby’s grave has a pile of wee sticks on it.

Enquiring to no one in particular as to the import of these, a voice from a tour group explained that children leave them for Bobby to chase at dead of night. Of course, my eight-year-old was off at a lick to retrieve a stick to add to the pile.

We went into the kirk, where we had a dispute about it not being called a church. I am determined to keep Scots words in her growing lexicon. There she signed the visitors’ book, where she wrote “cool, I think” while my back was turned. I made her write “aged eight” beside it, just for clarification.

Down we went to the Grassmarket where the knife thrower had inveigled a hapless man into his routine. Granddaughter sat cross-legged on the cobbles, entranced. Edinburgh with an eight-year-old. Good for the calorie count and ­exercise (I lost three pounds) and good for the soul.

Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale.