Granddad has been with us for a few days leading up to Christmas. It is his chance to see the kids and to spoil them with the odd shilling. Just three years off ninety he has managed to keep both his mobility and much of his mental dexterity, meaning that the most fun we can have with him is over his gradual loss of hearing. He makes up for this lack by increasing the volume of both the TV and all of his conversations.

Perhaps it is because he wants to make the most of his time but these days he tends to rise early for breakfast; well before the rest of us have begrudgingly thrown our alarm clocks across the room.

Occasionally I will have to match him in greeting the sparrow’s song because of work commitments and have noticed that his deafness has lead to a lack in his ability to whisper. So he shouts his whisper to me from the foot of the stair, ‘Do you want a brew?’

‘No thanks, Sam, I am not thirsty’ I reply in true hushed tones for fearing waking the rest of the house.

‘Who’s Kirsty?’ he asks completely missing the point. Bless him.

He is a picture when we return from an evening out playing cards and sampling some local ale. He approaches the front door with his key ready and a firm instruction to me ‘to be quiet’, for fear of waking the whole house. Typically he tells me this in his not very quiet whisper.

Still having him around is fun even though he has his own special way of doing things.

A couple of evenings ago I was settled in for a night of watching pointless TV and eating comfort food when the old timer informed me that he was short of one Christmas card and would appreciate a trip to the super market to resolve this most urgent of problems. I wanted to quiz him on how much he liked the proposed recipient of this Christmas greeting but I chose to agree to a shopping trip because I was both running short of chocolate and couldn’t find a programme that didn’t have C list celebrities as the main attraction.

As we buckled our seat belts Granddad informs me that he had had the opportunity of buying a card for his collection when he was in town that afternoon but had refused to part with the £1.49 requested by the price sticker; he felt sure that he could get a suitable one for less than quid.

So we set off on our 5 mile journey to save my wife’s father 50p. I started to work out the cost of petrol for such an exercise but decided that the season demanded more kindness that I was currently feeling; that and the fact that my wife gave me a knowing look.

At the late-night supermarket we set off in different directions to complete our respective missions. My wife headed to the right and disappeared into a clothing section which brought me out in a mild panic. Sam went to inspect the vast selection of cards on offer and I went toward all things confectionary only to be side tracked by the electrical aisle. Why do they make these products so shiny and irresistible?

We met again on the way out and compared our purchases at which point Granddad confesses that he had not made a single purchase. ‘The choice is rubbish’, he says ‘And I am sure that I can get them cheaper else where’. It is not that he isn’t generous, he just likes to get good value.

It was at this point that I realised that the world is split into two types of people; those who will travel several miles to save 3p on a sliced loaf and those who have a life.

I wanted to explain this new theory to the old fella but was lead away by my understanding wife.

Eager to end this episode I encouraged our party to head for the car. ‘Come on Sam, Let’s get home I am getting thirsty’ I called.

‘Who’s Kisty?’ offered Sam in his own special way.