Who Am I?
Hi, if you’re new to the Blog and don’t know me yet, I’m Francesca but everyone calls me Frankie; and this is my Blog “Thoroughly Modern Grandma “.
I’m married to Mr J, who’s put up with me for 40 plus years! We have one daughter Gemma (G), a Son-in-law (Neil aka Mr G). And, three Grandsons, Finley (Fin Grandson no.1), Caspar (Cas Grandson no.2) and Isaac the littlest (Zacky Grandson no.3).
We had G when we were very young. When I tell people how old I am (58) and how old G is (42) I can see them doing the mental arithmetic and the realisation that I was only 16 when I had her, and Mr J was 18. Obviously we hadn’t planned it that way and I wont say it was all easy, but we had lots of support. We carried on with our education part-time and eventually I became an Accountant and Mr J a Consultant Engineer.
Being such young parents means that we were also pretty young Grandparents, I was 44 and Mr J was 46 when Grandson no.1 was born.
I love being a Grandma, it’s a totally different experience to being a parent, and we’ve always spent as much time as possible with our three Grandsons whilst still managing to find plenty of time to travel (more so pre-covid) and indulge in our passion for food and wine.
Three Generations, One House and a Camper Named Gracie – The Plan
In December 2017 I took the opportunity to take early retirement from Transport for London where I had worked as Chief Planning & Reporting Accountant for 24 years.
Mr J and I both worked mainly in London; and although we both enjoyed our careers, Mr J was a Consultant Engineer and I was an Accountant, we worked hard with long days and a daily commute of 3 plus hours. We had always planned / hoped to retire before we reached 60 to take more time out to go travelling.
As our Grandsons became older, G and Mr G needed a bigger house and we wanted to retire and spend more time travelling, so the “Plan” started to emerge that we should both sell our houses and buy one large house and all move in together.
At the end of 2017 I had the opportunity to take early retirement from TfL, which I did at the age of 54.
In 2018 we bought a new Transit VW Transit Van and had a custom build conversion to transform it into a camper van, say hello to “Gracie”.
Things were progressing to plan, and we started thinking about selling out house in 2019 so we gave it a lick of paint and put it on the market.
Our house took longer to sell than we expected due to a noisy road close by, but we weren’t in any rush as although we’d been looking, we hadn’t found a large house to buy that suited all of us.
We Did It!
Fast forward to 2021 and everything happened in such a whirlwind, after talking about it for so long we started to think it would never happen but then suddenly everything came together.
- April 21 – We sold our House
- May 21 – Found the perfect 5 bed, 3 reception rooms, large kitchen, 4-bathroom, double garage house 😊, G & Mr G sold their house, in 2 days, and our offer was accepted on the new house!
- Jun 21 – We moved out of our old House into short term rental
- Jul 21 – mainly spent packing and recycling / rehoming unwanted stuff
- Aug 21 – We all moved into our New House
January 2022, 5 Months Later – Is it Working?
We’ve now all been living together for 5 months, had our 1st Christmas in the new house, and we’ve pretty much settled into a routine. Mr J finished a big contract in October and is now also retired.
And, although I am retired from my full-time job, I’m now spending quite a bit of time Blogging and running my online shop. However, my newfound passion for reducing waste and doing my bit for the planet doesn’t feel like work; and it’s flexible enough for me to do what I want, when I want around it.
We haven’t managed to spend as much time traveling in Gracie as we’d hoped due to Covid but we’re hoping that will change this year.
As with any family there are minor disagreements, but we wouldn’t be human if everyone were perfect all the time. The house is big enough that we all have our own space and so far it is everything we had hoped for.