Thursday, 1 May 2014

Having fun for free

I have always loved reading the letter pages and the problem pages in magazines and newspapers. You never know if a problem is going to be yours and it's always a good idea to see other points of view about what's going on in the world around us. I ve clung to the idea that all you have to do to get over a broken heart is to dance  on a table to Gloria Gaynor's I will survive with all you best mates cheering you on.Yesterday in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica I was very moved by a letter from a grandfather. It was written in response to a previous letter from another grandfather lamenting that the recession or crisi was making it impossible for him to help his grandchildren. The reply to this letter was very moving without detracting anything from the first grandfather's understandable dismay, making it clear that it is not money but love and protection that children need from their grandparents. The second grandfather said how he had a little five year old granddaughter and what a lovely relationship he had with her. He said for the price of a bus ticket he could take her to the centre of the Northern Italian city where they lived. He weaved stories around the statues and historic landmarks, told her all about the people who had lived in the town. He took her to the parks and pushed her on the swings. He said how she would say to him 'Nonno, andiamo a fare l'aperitivo?'.Grandpa, let's go and have an aperitif, and they would climb aboard the bus and go and sit at a cafĂ© together. She drinking water and he with his glass of wine. Just what I love doing with my grandchildren. Only I have coffee., and we both have a chocolate umbrella.
When my children were growing up  we went to England for some of their long Italian summer holidays. My father would often say, 'Today we're going to have lots of fun without spending any money, maybe just an ice-cream if we find a shop.' Off we'd go with a picnic rug ,a ball, tea in a flask and sandwiches. There was a lovely big field near a village not far from our house. A stream ran by the side, ideal for paddling. There was a cricket pitch and lots of space to run around and a little shop that sells ice-creams.As they got older my sons would take their guitars and make all the noise they wanted. Once when we were there we met a whole extended family sitting on the grass celebrating their grandfather's birthday. They had come from far and wide to be together. They ranged from two months to eighty-nine and we all joined in. That field is till there with the village shop and the pub round the corner if the weather changes.
A dear friend of mine who knows London well taught me how to take the children to London for the day on a budget. You start of buying a picnic lunch at Marble Arch and go to Hyde Park, which is like being in the countryside. You can go to the Portrait gallery in the Strand for free and give them a history lesson looking at all the famous faces, and that's just the start..
Everything ready for an aperitif for two


Norman Rockwell's illustration could easily be a grandfather holding his granddaughter

Another Norman Rockwell illustration, teaching life's lessons

Time to relax and have a chat

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post and cool pics! The cat on the background of the last one looks like it its meditating deeply :-)