Hi, welcome to my world. Won’t you come on in.

I really could not face my responsibilities of looking after Mamma and Grandad this week. I don’t know why. Sometimes you just want to have fun. But once Mum was out of the door, I realised I needed to dust myself off and get on with it. Life’s too short for messing.

So, I had a slice of toast, washed down with a mug of tea and let Mamma and Grandad do a few jobs whilst I watched TV.

But before long they started disturbing my TV watching so I got the skittles out and kept knocking them over so Grandad was constantly occupied, picking them up.

I decided to get Grandad to set up the IKEA wooden train set next. It is simple and takes me a couple of minutes. But it is good because it occupies Grandad for a good half hour and is a good cognitively activity for him hopefully slightly delaying the dementia. But he does say himself: ‘I’m not as fast as I used to be.’ To be honest if you listen to Mamma he has always been that speed. But you have to be kind and humour him because I’m his grandson. If I didn’t humour him who would? Certainly not Mamma.

We eventually got the thing built. You should have seen the smile of satisfaction break out all across his chubby but bedraggled and stubbly face. It was a joy to see it, well it was more of a joy to see his face than watch the boring train chug around the figure of eight track.

The IKEA wooden railway is a good cheap toy. I used to have to push the engine and train round the track manually. Excellent skills for an eighteen-month-old child.  But now we have a battery-operated engine, so I do not even have to push it, and I’m three and a half years old. I set it off and forget it, you can have that running downstairs and me be upstairs playing. You don’t need to be there. In fact, it’s best if you’re not there because it is so boring. It’s ok for Grandad it’s about as much stimulation as he can take. But I am desperately need more. We need to build a story around the railroad as we play.

We need a lot more complex layout. You can buy manuals on Ebay with over 60 suggested big lay outs. We need buildings of interest, build an IKEA Railway City. Bring in Lego people. Create a ‘Soap’. On second thoughts no, let them have a fun time. Introduce cars, red cars and make up brilliant storylines. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

But instead we just have one train on a figure of eight going around and round and round… and round. Oi, wake up!

Having got bored with the railway I took Mamma to the Post Office so that she could buy me a Kinder Egg. Yes, they still have a traditional Post Office where Mamma and Grandad lives which shows what a time warp, they live in.  We went the special magical, secret way. Do you know which way the secret way is?  Do you know why it is called “The Secret Way”. Because it is a secret way that no one else knows. Do you know?

Well, you go out Mamma’s front door, down that road turn down another road through a jitty with high fence on each side. Down an avenue on to a street. Past the bus stop and you are at the Post Office. But please swear you won’t tell anyone, or it will lose its ‘The Secret Way’ status.

When I returned Me and Grandad played hide and seek. I hid in the fruit shoot cupboard and Grandad took ages to find me. It was a good place to hide. Grandad hid in obvious easy to find places. One time he hid in the cloak room. As usual I found him straight away.  Eventually Grandad hid somewhere really good and I couldn’t find him. So, I just gave up and left him there wherever it was.

Grandad said that me leaving him there reminded him of one of his favourite ghost stories.

We don’t have an Alexa, I’d so love one. Grandad is the next best thing, though. He can find and play you any piece of music on the computer. Ask him a question and you get full book, chapter and verse and footnotes and a bit extra.

I said “Grandad! What’s the ghostliest, ghosty, ghost story you know about hide and seek?”

He replied: ‘The Legend of the Mistletoe Bough is a ghost story which has been associated with many mansions and stately homes in England.

A new bride, playing a game of hide-and-seek in a house of may be 100 rooms during her wedding breakfast, hides in a chest in an attic and is unable to escape. She is not discovered by her family and friends and suffocates or dies of thirst. The body is found many years later in the locked chest as a skeleton in a wedding dress.

Notable claimants for the story’s location, some still displaying the chest, include Bramshill House and Marwell Hall in Hampshire, Castle Horneck in Cornwall, Basildon Grotto in Berkshire, Minster Lovell Hall in Oxfordshire, Exton Hall in Rutland, Brockdish Hall in Norfolk and Bawdrip Rectory in Somerset.

The tale first appeared in print in the form of a poem by Samuel Rogers entitled Ginevra, in his book ‘Italy’ published in 1822. In notes on this work, Rogers states ‘The story is, I believe, founded on fact, though the time and the place are uncertain. Many old houses lay claim to it.’

The popularity of the tale was greatly increased when it appeared as a song in the 1830s entitled ‘The Mistletoe Bough’ written by T.H. Bayley and Sir Henry Bishop. The song proved very popular. In 1859, its ‘solemn chanting’ was referred to as a ‘national occurrence at Christmas’ in English households, and by 1862 the song was referred to as ‘one of the most popular songs ever written’, ‘which must be known by heart by many readers’.

Kate Mosse reinterpreted the story in her 2013 short story collection The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales.’

See, who needs Alexa when you’ve got Grandad. But please, please don’t ask him to play all the Beatles No.1s. And definitely don’t ask: “Grandad! What was the Beatles first No.1?”…

‘From the 10th March 1960 the chart used nationally in the U.K. was compiled by the “Record Retailer”. This was a trade publication as used by record shops and the music industry which later became “Music Week”. The choice of this chart as the one used for “official” purposes is slightly unfortunate, because in just about EVERY other national chart “Please Please Me” was number 1 (and therefore the Beatles FIRST number one).

The NME, my all time, favourite pop music newspaper/magazine for example who originally created the UK Chart and was considered the official chart from 14th November 1952 until 26th February 1960. On 10th March 1960 the Record Retailer, became the official chart and has been to this date.

The NME showed The Beatles first No.1 as Please Please Me on 23rd February and 2nd March 1963 whereas Record Retailer had Wayward Wind by Frank Ifield at No.1 and Please Please Me at No.2  and Summer Holiday by (the now Sir) Cliff Richard hovering to take over the No.1 slot for 3 weeks.

The first time a Beatles record went to No.1 in the Record Retailer Chart was therefore 2nd May 1963 with From Me To You.

Consequently, there will always be much debate as to which record was actually The Beatles first number one, and quiz compilers and the like should avoid asking this question because of the ambiguity of the answer!’

Serves you right. I did say don’t ask him, he’s far worse than Alexa.

In fact, Sister Freya asked him to play all the Beatles’ No.1s. I’d best go and listen with her.

Oh, Mum and Dad save us from this Grandad torment, get us an Alexa, please, please!

Bye Bye, George.


“When the past calls, let it go to voicemail, believe me, it has nothing new to say.” – Unknown


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