The Princess Diaries by Joy Fahey (5)

The Princess Diaries

Day 5 Being a Grandmother

My weekend was spent writing and painting. After the busy week it was lovely to have some ‘down time’

My painting was quite serene in shades of soft blues with many different faces and figures appearing. It’s always curious where these paintings arrive from, I get lost in the process, time just doesn’t seem to exist and these mystical shapes flow onto the canvas. Sounds a bit crazy but that is what happens when I get into the zone’!

I called it ‘Looking for Heaven’ as it’s so ethereal!


Anyway Monday came soon enough and with my ‘teaching a Princess hat’ firmly in place I arrive on time at the Villa. The buzzer isn’t working so, without yelling to loudly I shout ‘Hello’ and bang on the side door. Nothing happens, should I peep the horn? I wasn’t sure quite what to do. I then phoned the house number but there was no answer. OK bang again. Waited another 5 minutes and then in frustration hit the horn!

I wondered if they had left over the weekend, a bit like the Princess just doing her disappearing act. All kind of crazy thoughts run rampage in my mind and later I think how peculiar that the brain pumps into action with so many ludicrous thoughts? What imagination! I think I’ve been watching too many films!

All that immediately stopped when a few minutes later the gate eventually opens, with a sigh of relief and a deep breath to try and relax I drive slowly down the drive.

The Butler apologizes profusely for making me wait and leads me through the darkness of the hall to the bright terrace where he disappears momentarily but returns with a very welcomed bottle of water and freshly squeezed orange juice. I thought it better not to tell him of how anxious I’d been!

I sat down and had a few minutes to get myself prepared for the class but was interrupted with hearing a babies gurgling voice. A young Filipino woman carrying a baby boy walked out onto the terrace, followed by another young woman carrying bags of toys.

The far side of the terrace had been rearranged and made baby friendly, a big rug with a couple of bean bags were surrounded by 3 sofas. Some colourful balloons had been attached to one of the pillars by a long string and a high chair stood in the corner. The two young women said hello and I got a huge big smile from a lovely one year old little boy.

This was the Princesses grandson and his two nannies. Yes I know ‘two’ nannies, I was a bit surprised too! I later found out that the baby needed a 24 hour watch so the two were necessary. Not sure where the mother and father fitted into this but there you go!

However he certainly seemed a happy little chappie and we made funny faces at each other and did baby talk with much laughter until the Princess arrived.

This was the first time I saw her really smile and seem genuinely relaxed and happy. It was a very different Princess to the one I left on Friday! The whole atmosphere had changed; this little boy had undoubtedly bought a whole new dimension and joy into the household.

Like any ‘ordinary’ family with a new baby, the grandmothers can’t keep their hands off with the great maternal contentment of having an extension to the family, and in this a case an even bigger celebration as the baby was a boy, it was all very heart warming.

We are all just human beings after all, but perhaps this little boy’s destiny might just be slightly different to most! But a happy scene all round which I was glad to be part of for a short time.

Eventually we got round to doing some painting. The Princess seemed to have a better attention span today and she progressed with a second painting with gusto! Quite different from the first with reds and oranges mixed with purples and greens, it’s much freer than the last one.

We chatted happily about the family and about her art. I told her about my new painting and was surprised when she said ‘I’d love to see it, will you bring it tomorrow?’ ‘Yes of course’ I said rather surprised. She carried on ‘I don’t get to see many abstract paintings except in books or on the computer, so it would be nice to see a real painting other than my own’

The freedom and things we just take for granted and assume as normal are very different in the Saudi culture. Similar to driving we never think twice about it and going to an art exhibition or museums it’s part of our education. So this conversation was very enlightening and certainly gave me some food for thought.

Talking of food the Princess again invited me to stay for lunch and meet her other son and daughter in law, the baby’s parents, which I was very happy to do. I was very curious to see who the baby really belonged too!

Joy Fahey ‘Where Art and Life Meet’

Written and published by: Joy Fahey
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