My lovely Nanna was the BOSS. She called Bingo LIKE A BOSS. She played cards LIKE A BOSS. She once stormed out on a card game when my husband “table talked”. See… boss. She passed down her recipes LIKE A BOSS. Her handwritten custard recipe actually says: “if you let it boil Leis, I’ll never speak to you again”. What is it about the lasting legacy of a Grandma’s cooking? On hot Aussie summer days, my Nanna would leave rissoles out on the bench for hours. It’s little wonder we’re not all dead. Once, she put a casserole in the boot or her car and drove all over town doing errands. She visited the beach, went to the bank, all before dropping that casserole into my brother for dinner – some seven hours later.
Reading Grandma Bird this week by Benji Davies brought all those lovely, quirky Nanna memories flooding back. Grandparents shape childhoods and leave lasting imprints on our souls. This book captures that feeling and the magic children experience when they get to climb inside a grandparent’s world.
Little Noi, from Davies book ‘The Storm Whale’, is off to spend his holidays at Grandma’s shanty cottage by the sea.
“She lived by herself on a tiny rock where the wind cut in
and the grass grew sideways. The only visitors were the birds
who blew in and out on the breeze.”
Grandma boils up seaweed soup, keeps her teeth in a jar and snores like an old walrus. That sounds about right! But Grandma’s also very busy doing grandma stuff, so Noi creeps off exploring. As he climbs inside a big rock that’s like “the barnacled back of an ancient whale” he discovers an injured bird. It’s tumbled out of the storm and Noi knows he has to get the little bird to Grandma for help. But the storm has picked up, and now Noi’s trapped! Thankfully, Grandma appears in her little boat and together they rescue a flock of windswept birds.
“The house was soon full of chatter and the ruffle of drying wings.”
Saving the birds brings Noi and Grandma closer, and they go on to spend the rest of the summer exploring… together.