Grandpa taught me the deep impression a grandparent can have

Ally Bunbury remembers her grandfather’s role in an adventurous childhood

Ally Bunbury’s grandfather Eric Craigie by the lake he created

Ally Bunbury’s grandfather Eric Craigie by the lake he created

One of my earliest memories is driving a car around a field of lush grass. I was seven years old, my feet barely reaching the pedals, as Grandpa sat in the passenger seat, casually instructing me about changing gears and keeping tight control of the wheel. That was the tip of the iceberg in terms of the life skills my cousins, siblings and I learned from our grandfather, Eric Craigie, a man who lived and breathed adventure.

On his manmade lake, shaped like the map of Ireland, Grandpa held a raft-building tournament. Split into three teams, we were supplied with barrels, rope and various pieces of wood. To win the prize, we had to create something that could float, upon which we would then punt our way to the lake’s island where several geese lazed in the sun. That same summer, when a fox was spotted lurking, several grandchildren trundled off to Dublin Zoo with Grandpa to collect a trailer load of lion dung (yes, from an actual lion), which was then dispersed around the edge of the lake to deter the fox from any goose-gobbling ideas.

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