She’d rattle cutlery drawer and get the wooden spoon

Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

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It was my dear old nan’s birthday earlier this week. I say old, but apart from the numbers there is nothing old about this lady.

I’m actually very proud of my nan. She walks down into town every day, will think nothing of taking long bus trips to see her sister and is currently enjoying a Mills & Boon novel with a view to reading 50 Shades of Grey next!

Over the years, she has become a bit of a character on my radio shows with all her antics.

She doesn’t get off the Isle of Wight much. I have often referred to her last mainland visit, crossing the Solent on a paddle steamer!

As the island is always 10 years behind everywhere else, she spent the day riding on the first trolley escalator to make the divide, stopping only for a cup of tea at lunchtime. She queued for hours to get Howard from the Halifax’s autograph when he made an appearance.

But on a more serious side, my nan has been so wonderful to me. My mum was still a teenager when I was born and couldn’t really cope, so my nan and grandad stepped in.

As you can imagine, this was certainly not the norm in the ‘2.4 children’ households of the 1970s.

After bringing up her own children, there she was bringing up her grandchild, a mischievous blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy who just loved being the centre of attention.

As we sat in the pub on Sunday discussing my childhood, she reminded us of how she would exert her authority over me.

Running into the kitchen, she’d rattle the cutlery drawer, producing the wooden spoon!

This was always enough for me to run and hide, behaving myself instantly.

But as I slowly started to tower over her, the effect of the wooden spoon wore off.

At the age of 12 I once suggested she used the Yellow Pages to help reach a decent level to administer said wooden spoon.

But I will always be grateful to my nan. She allowed me the space and freedom to become the person I am today, but in the knowledge there was always a warm, safe home for me whenever I needesd it.