Grandchildren are a joy so enjoy them while you can

Last week it seemed climate change was all over us like a rash.

One day we were sweltering and were told it could be like that all summer. Some chance. A week later I’m looking out at what passes for rain.

Am I glad to see it? Not a lot even though I welcome not having to get out the hose pipe to make sure my flowers, bushes and what passes for a vegetable garden don’t lie down and refuse to get up. Is it chilly? Of course it is. Climate change can mean anything. If it snowed this weekend I don’t think I’d bat an eyelid.

This weather turnabout came within a few days of the grandchildren arriving for a holiday.

My goodness I had plans galore for their stay. With Covid and trouble at airports we simply hadn’t been able to see them for more than a year so when things began to ease covid-wise their dad decided we had suffered enough.

We planned their trip when the weather was glorious and then the rain decided to welcome them otherwise they might think they weren’t in Norn Irn at all.

So my plans needed to change with reserves sorted just in case the rain decided to out stay it’s welcome.

All those booklets showing places to go especially for children were OK but the sun seemed to be shining in every picture.

Now I know it can rain torrents here in the height of summer and we can get days when shelter from the blazing sun is essential so my plan B had to be instantly consulted.

Their stay with us is progressing, good days and middling ones and I’m not overly optimistic about the weather for the rest of their time here. But children don’t seem to care so long as they are active, and there are plenty of goodies at hand.

I had installed a Treat Box at home and when the sun wasn’t splitting the trees they retreated to it to comfort eat. Adults do much the same. I frequently comfort eat when I know I have a column to write.

Like any grandparents we know we feel privileged to have grandchildren but there is evidence that in the not too distance future, grandchildren for many, will simply not happen.

The United Nations latest projections indicates `an already serious decades-long slowdown in population-growth’. And they suspect falling fertility and a surge of deaths has been worsened by Covid.

Postponing having a family is the result, they say, of `uncertainty regarding the disease and its economic impacts’. And the problem is `across the entire globe’. While life expectancies keep rising they say `the worldwide population is expected to peak in 2080 rather than the next century as was previously forecast’.

Dramatic falls in birth rates are worldwide according to the report. It’s not hard to envisage the affect this could have. Will the workplace become totally automated with robots in charge? Who would pay for the health and pensions of the elderly?

I can’t imagine the scenario though I have no need to as I and the rest of my generation most certainly won’t be on earth in 30 years’ time.

It’s not difficult to see where this is all going. Someone my age most likely, in future, will not have the pleasure of grandchildren arriving for a summer holiday.

They will not know the joys of shopping for their visit, buying the treats, taking them to Barry’s amusements (now Curry’s Fun Park). Simply, there won’t be many young’uns around and what elderly is in existence will have to be supported one way or another.

The term family may not even exist.

Now that we have all this startling information it’s likely there is nothing any of us can do to change things back to where they were particularly as the birth rate is already on the slide.

I came from a family of nine children, a rarity today yet it was not at all unusual after the 2nd World War.

People were needed to re-build the country and the economy and National Assistance was introduced. A different future is in the offing. Those of us with grandchildren today are blessed.