Remember my mother? (94, excellent mechanic, plays Scrabble, makes pie). She bought an iPad shortly after Christmas. Not because she’s into tekkie stuff, but because Auntie Barbara has one. Auntie Barbara (who makes the best mince and tatties ever) is a mere a child of 84 and is constantly using her tablet to converse with her daughter-in-law in Inverness, and challenging all comers to Word On, which I suppose is a bitly version of Scrabble.
However, both she and my mother are now addicted to Candy Crush, and their weekly Saturday catch-ups, instead of being devoted to the latest Magiwool knitting patterns for evening wear, are now delicate fencing matches of who is on what level. And how long it took them to get there.
On Sunday mum came to lunch. She came in, gave me the pudding she’d made (delicious, natch) engaged her grandson in some query about missing jpegs, and then sat down and played Candy Crush constantly until dinner was ready. Her grandchildren were equally absorbed in their phones. It was eerily quiet. No conversation about how tidy their bedrooms were; nothing.
It was not until Tuesday that I realised what was going on. Tuesdays, you see, are when I go round and play Scrabble with her. This Tuesday, I played Scrabble, she played Candy Crush (and Scrabble). It was like being with a self-absorbed teenager. Somewhat exasperated, I at last said to her, ‘So what level are you on?’
‘20,’ she replied.
‘And what level is Auntie Barbara on?’ I asked.
‘27,’ she said (rather muffled, as she was concentrating on her moves) ‘But she can’t get off it. She’s having a bit of difficulty.’
She looked up and I could see the gleam in her eye. It was obvious what she was thinking: Within a week, I’ll be ahead of Barbara, and where will her mince and tatties get her then?
So there you have it. When you get to 94, there is still good food, new stuff to learn, and, oh yes, obsessive family rivalry.
Must stop, have got to smash my jellies.