Grandparents can keep secrets, give advice from a much longer perspective than parents and they are often much less critical than constantly worrying mums and dads. (They can remember what their children – your parents – got up to all those years ago!)
For Di Castle, her role as grandma is certainly special, and she has put many of her experiences, thoughts and feelings into a delightful book, Grandma’s Poetry Book, full of touching and often witty little poems, with charming illustrations by Denise Horn.
Di, who lives in Swanage, has always loved books and reading and writing – as a child she loved AA Milne and his delightful stories and poems, and later she discovered the offbeat humour of Spike Milligan and the clever word-play and wry observations of Pam Ayres.
The inspiration for the book was the birth of her first grandchild, which sent her back to writing after what she says was “a long dry spell.” She began to fill notebooks with chance remarks, overheard conversations and little verses. Tweaked and polished, many of them became the nucleus for this collection.
A midwife saying “We don’t do that” grew into the poem Rules – “They do it all new-fangled ways, Not like my fuddy-days days.” But, grandma reflects, there may come a time when “She might be glad to try a phase, Back to my ‘old-fashioned’ ways.”
Baby and toddler times pass so quickly, it is easy to forget the first steps, the first words, the first birthday party, the visit to the park, the games and the mess when mummy goes out and granny gets to babysit … They are all here in witty verses and appealing drawings.
There are poems that reflect ruefully on the pressures facing working mums and little verses that look at life with the toddler’s wide eyes.
My First Easter (or My Chocoholic Mum) finds a 10-month old watching her mother shopping for Easter eggs, hiding them … eating them …
The poems follow Di and her family as more grandchildren arrive and the book ends with teenage trends and grandma sharing memories and photos with her former work colleagues, all grandmas now.
All children are different but there are so many shared experiences and memories in this collection that Grandma’s Poetry Book is an ideal gift for new grannies (and grandpas) – and should be a favourite for bedtime reading with the grandchildren.
For more information on where to buy Grandma’s Poetry Book, contact Di Castle firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.dicastle.co.uk