Last weekend I went to my grandad's (okay technically great-uncle, but there are lots of types of grandparents) 75th birthday party. He's a tall, gentle, sweetheart who reads crime thrillers and has a favourite armchair. He reminds me a bit of Arsène Wenger, if Arsène Wenger was brown and smiled more, and also was a diehard Liverpool supporter. He and his wife, my nani, and especially their home, have made a huge impression on me since I was little. A place filled with kindness and fun times and great generosity.
These memories can be so subjective but, as I told my own kids about the party last week, they asked all the key questions - "what kind of cake will there be? Can we play there all day?" - that made me realise that the fun and generosity I associate with these grandparents are objective fact. Even my tiny kids are fully expectant of an abundance of everything at their house.
Grandparents have such a special role to play in kids' lives - to show a love and gentleness that it's hard to reciprocate. We can try - with gifts and days out and kind words - even long after we grow up. But sometimes when the invitation is made, our only choice is to be a kid again and turn up to enjoy their party.
A little art and culture, a little tea and cake: sounds like the perfect afternoon regardless of age. I love Sheerluxe's edit of galleries with restaurants across London.
Life is busy and weekends might not work, but if your grandfolks are local and have time on their hands on a Friday, you can catch a FREE lunchtime concert by the London Symphone Orchestra at St Luke's by Old Street. Check the schedule here and brush up on your Brahms.
Physical and financial vulnerabilities, and increasingly (especially post-pandemic) loneliness are really tough challenges for older people to encounter. If you're not directly in the life of older folks, consider volunteering with Age UK - from telephone befriending to fundraising activities, there are a ton of ways to get involved.
Let them babysit
How the UK economy almost fell of a cliff last week explained in less than 2 minutes (it's a Tiktok video but you don't need an account to watch it 👵🏻).