Tiger-Lily decided to visit her grandmother, Ginevra, to interview her for a school History and Raising Self-Esteem project. The synthesising thread that suffused the two areas was genealogical research and the children had been given the title: Who Do I Think I Am?
Tiger-Lily’s mother, Carrie, had often said to her daughter: And who do you think you are, young lady? However, the question had been given a different emphasis.
Magda, Ginevra’s carer, answered the door. Shhh! she said. Come into the kitchen and have a …hot chocolate. She had nearly offered Tiger a gin and tonic, but remembered in time that this was inappropriate. I’m a little worried about your grandmother. She has been in the study all day, on the computer. She hasn’t moved for six hours. At first I thought she might be-you know…. Magda trailed off, not wishing to involve a teenager in too much anxiety.
What are you up to, gran? asked Tiger-Lily, pushing open the study door and spilling some of the hot chocolate in the process. Oops! She spooned out some of the melting mini-marshmallows and ate them, to leave a little more room in the mug.
Oh, hello, said Ginevra, not even turning round to greet her granddaughter. I’m busy writing my e-book called Sunday in the Park with George. It’s about an eighty year old woman who meets a man on a mobility scooter and is knocked head over heels by him. Sometimes they feed the ducks together. It’s..
…raunchy gran-lit, said Tiger. But you can’t use that title, gran.
Why not? said Ginevra indignantly.
Because it’s the name of a Sondheim musical.
Oh, really? I thought it was something to do with that spotty painter.
Yes, Seurat, said Tiger who had seen his paintings in a book in the Art block.
Well, he’s dead, so the copyright won’t apply. Maybe I could change it to Sunday in the Park with Graham, Gordon or Gregory. Yes, Gregory sounds okay. Anyway, there’s a woman called Hilary Boyd who gets 20 pence every time someone downloads her e-book. Amazon might put me on promotion. I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to do this. Mary Wesley was the same: she didn’t publish till she was past seventy.
Twenty pence won’t buy you too many Dewlaps, gran. I don’t want to discourage you, but.. Privately, Tiger thought that old people doing it was disgusting and writing about doing it was even more reprehensible.. But old to Tiger was anyone over the age of twenty.
You’ll be singing a different tune when I’m on some programme with that woman Mariella Jockstrap, said Ginevra determinedly. Anyway, what did you want?
I wanted to ask you about our roots. It’s for my school project.
Ginevra spun round on the swivel chair. There was nothing she liked better than to be the centre of attention.
Magda, get me the photo albums, will you? Oh, and a Dewlap, darling.
Tiger settled in for the long haul.
When I married your grandfather it was really on the rebound, she began.
Gran wouldn’t need a dementia buddy- she had superb recall.
Wait, gran. I’m just going to record you on my phone. Tiger could see an A* in the bag. She just hoped there wouldn’t be too much information.