You can't beat that for appreciation. It's the sort of thing that makes looking after him and his younger cousin two days a week so immensely rewarding. But it's also immensely tiring. And until recently I was working at Goldsmiths College two days a week and trying to finish off a novel at the same time. So I was stretched. The end of that novel tantalised me like a mirage in the desert.
But I'm happy to say that I've finished it, edited it and sent it off to my publisher. Consequently, I am no longer going around thinking about it night and day. I am a free man and I couldn't be happier. In fact, I feel like jumping up and down on the spot and flapping my arms about. I'm not going to, of course, because at my age you have to try to preserve some small modicum of dignity.
The other day I took my grandchildren to a local aquarium. The younger one, who is just over one year old, was not particularly impressed. To him, I suspect, everything is bizarre, fish no more so than anything else. He wandered from tank to tank giving each one a cursory examination until he discovered a chrome rubbish bin that absolutely fascinated him. But the older one, who is just over two, was beside himself with excitement. In fact, he did that jumping up and down thing all over again.
Which rather put paid to my fantasy about being the best grandfather in the universe. The truth is that I am as good as a load of fish. But I suppose that's not too bad, when you come to think about it. As good as a load of fish who have just finished a novel. Glug glug!