Nothing was ever simple when dealing with Nan and Granddad. I was paying to stay at their house but I certainly wasn’t treated like a lodger. He wanted my money and he wanted to be in control but he also wanted to be seen by his friends and colleagues as a generous and kind person. All this meant that he had a number of personalities and he switched between them depending on who was around.
I can remember arriving home a bit later from school than normal – a sporting event I was in had over-run by about 15 minutes. This would normally cause a major row because Granddad liked his life, and the life of everybody around him, to run to a strict timetable. But when I arrived one of his friends from the Bowls Club was in the house and so he switched on his interested grand-parent routine. Once his friend left I got well battered both physically and verbally as Granddad reverted to normal!
For several months after Mum and Dad were killed I was quite often in a frantically sad and stressed state. Quite little things used to upset me but my G-Parents just were not into feelings. Their way of coping with the death of their daughter was to act as if it hadn’t happened so if I even mentioned my parents I would get into trouble. It was only the support I got from the school that made my life even half-way bearable.
Having something as simple as a lock on my bedroom door turned into a massive issue that was never sorted out. They used to knock, wait about 3 seconds, literally, then march in. It was ridiculous. I was a paying guest, paying quite a lot actually, with zero privacy. Not nice at all at 17. Twice I remember sitting on the bed topless on purpose hoping that somebody would come in so that the lock would get sorted out. Nan was a great fan of M&S clothes so I used this to wind them both up. I purchased the briefest bikini in the shop and that summer I used to sunbathe in the back garden. Nan couldn’t say anything because all I would have said was “But I got it at M&S”.
Nobody could say granddad was liberal and sometimes he could be quite creepy, I used to feel quite uneasy if he came into my bedroom for a chat at bedtime, even if Nan was with him. I'm surprised that Nan allowed it even after I switched from wearing a nightie to wearing pyjamas!
Escaping from them and going back to live in Mum and Dad’s old house felt like escaping from prison. As you might guess I was "bad mouthed" by Granddad whenever he was explaining why I had left their house. Nothing was ever his fault of course.