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April 1, 2014

I had to work this afternoon, and Granby volunteered to look after Hope.

They’re a gang, the best of friends, but they were also both getting over a nasty bug and were fractious. I fully expected my mother to phone and ask for rescue, or to hear Hope calling for me from behind the stair gate.

It didn’t happen.

After several hours, and a piece of writing submitted to the women’s editor of a national newspaper, I heaved myself from my work chair and headed down to see what was what, all I could hear were shrieks of glee.

Granby had taught Hope to play ‘SNAP’ … there they were, over 80 years between them, totally absorbed in their game. Hope was so pleased with herself, shouting, “look, Granby, look” as she waved two matching sheep picture cards under her grandmother’s nose before slamming them down on the carpet and shouting, “Snap, Snap, SNNNNNAP”.

I felt like Jenny Agutter at the end of the Railway Children, “not wanted there”, as I closed the door and slipped away, not to the end of the field and the thin gold spikes of grass, but back up to my computer screen, with a feeling of immense well being.

A few moments later I heard the stair gate being rattled and Hope calling for me to come “outstairs” (as she calls downstairs). I went down and she dragged me along the hall into the sitting room and made me sit on the floor and play Snap with her and Granby, she even told me what to do, in a round about Hope-ish kind of a way.

Then she leapt up, put her shoes on the wrong feet, dashed off and came back with her scarf and my boots and demanded a trip to the swings, the whole way there she chatted about playing SNNNNNAP with Granby, and the pictures on the cards. We had a happy happy time braving the aerial runway together, but though I’ll always smile at the memory of her excitement as she held on tight to me while we whizzed down the zip wire and shouting, “Wheeeeee, windy”, my overriding memory from today will be of  watching the two of them, my mother and my daughter, together, playing so intently.

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