GRANDMA GRUNT …
When you think of grandmas, you probably think of nice, scented old ladies – the kind of doddery old dears who drink endless cups of tea and spoil their grandchildren with sugary, stodgy home-made cakes. Your grannie is there to make you feel safe, warm and all gooey inside.
Grannies have cuddly, nursey mannerisms and a slightly bonkers too-old-to-care approach to life; they allow their grandchildren to get away with all manner of slightly naughty acts and misdemeanors. Eating too much cake? Breaking a china plate? Going to bed without cleaning your teeth? Such naughtiness may NEVER be allowed at home, but a grannie will usually find childish hijinks, tomfoolery and slovenliness to be quite acceptable when you stay at her place.
All this talk of sweet old dears gurgling tea and baking bad-for-you sugary cakes may possibly remind you of enjoyable visits to your OWN grandmother – and as a consequence it may give you soft, fluffy memories of never being scolded, of endlessly eating candy until you felt queasy and of always being well looked after.
Unfortunately, these were NOT the memories of Edgar and Wilhelmina Grunt. The grandmother of Edgar and Wilhelmina Grunt was NOT a nice, scented old lady. The grandmother of Edgar and Wilhelmina Grunt was SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY.
The grandmother of Edgar and Wilhelmina Grunt did not make sugary cakes, nor dish out too much candy. The grandmother of Edgar and Wilhelmina Grunt did NOT make you feel warm and squishy inside.
Imagine a grandma with a strong, lingering, rotten-vegetably smell – the kind of putrid stench that made you cough up a little bit of sick every time you got downwind of her! Imagine a grandma who spoke words so rude even a foul-mouthed football hooligan would be too embarrassed to repeat them. Imagine a grandma that liked to encourage spiders and other creepy-crawly things to live in every nook and cranny of her dilapidated, unclean home, and who fed her grandchildren food off plates that had never been washed in over forty years. Imagine a grandma with a mountain-range of lumps over every inch of exposed flesh, and with hairy moles on her skin that looked like baby tarantulas! Not to mention the coarse, bristly hair that grew in the strangest of places (even out of the gums between her blackened teeth)!
NOW you’re getting a picture of Edgar and Wilhelmina Grunt’s grandmother. To top it all, their grandmother was quite mad. An absolute fruitcake, in fact. Her favourite book was THE FROGS OF WAR – a woeful tale about pond-life taking over the world. Grandma Grunt was CONVINCED the book was a prophecy – and that one day the world would be taken over by frogs, toads, newts and salamanders. She read the bleak, miserable book again and again and again to her terrified grandchildren, filling their heads with images of the frog wars to come …
Soldier toads, and frogs of war,
Built for fighting, blood and gore.
Hop o’er land, break down your door,
Take it all, then take some more!
We’re the toads and frogs of war,
Croak and ribit, belch and roar!
She called the book ‘The Froggy Scriptures’, and read terrifying chapters of it to Edgar and Wilhelmina every time they came to stay. Once satisfied she’d scared the living daylights out of her grandchildren, Grandma Grunt made them eat ‘GROT’ – a grey, semi-liquid concoction of her own design. Part-porridge, part-soup, and part whatever-was-found-in-the-backyard. Anything unfortunate enough to be slow and easy to catch often went into her vat of Grot – she had a particular fancy for snails and slugs, and even squeezed the ‘juice’ out of a dead seagull once, in order to add it to the putrid gruel.