Life & Style | Relationships

Professor Tufflov: Living with grandparents

Our resident agony uncle with a heart of stone dispenses brutally honest advice for the modern man

  • By Professor Tufflov for alpha. magazine
  • Published: 00:01 May 1, 2012
  • alpha

Man with grandson
  • Image Credit: Getty Images
  • "Respect for one's elders gives character".

Dear Professor

My grandparents were kidnapped by Somalian pirates a couple of years ago and our family sold their house to pay the ransom money. Basically homeless, they were forced to divide their time between my uncle's house in London and my parents' villa in Marbella.

However, my parents have now downsized to a small two-bedroom apartment in which my grandparents feel claustrophobic and ‘in the way'. My parents have suggested they spend half the year with my wife, our two small children and me in our flat in Barsha. I'm not sure I'm equipped to deal with two doddering pensioners hanging around the place. How on earth would we keep them entertained?


Having survived a real-life maritime nightmare plus the subsequent incarceration in a lawless third-world country, your unfortunate grandparents will, I'm sure, deal easily with the placid surroundings of Barsha and a despicable ingrate of a grandson. Seriously, what is it with youngsters and so-called ‘old fogies'? You treat them like leprous vermin when you should soak up their wisdom, soothe their creaking bones with camphor oil, cherish them - at least if you want to be included in their will. Oh, I forgot, they don't have a single bean due to the pirate episode. Never mind. Maybe granddad has an antique gold watch hidden away somewhere that he plans to give you when he kicks the proverbial.

Listen, Carlton. As Harvey Keitel's character says in Pulp Fiction: "Respect for one's elders gives character", and right now you're showing such a paltry amount of respect for your elders that I'm guessing you have as much character as a chopstick (the plain wooden kind you get in Yo! Sushi, certainly not an elaborate Oriental one covered with images of Chinese dragons).

Related Links

Evidently these are no ordinary grandparents! They've had adventures, seen both wonderful and terrible things. Your children are highly fortunate to be able to perch on their knee of an evening and listen to true-life yarns featuring Kalashnikovs, cruelty and unspeakable hardship, rather than that enfeebling Harry Potter brain-rot that parents rear their offspring on in these unenlightened times.

To make them spend the whole year in Marbella, a notorious hotbed of retired English criminals, ex-footballers and women with fake yellow hair, would be to condemn them to a dotage of deep discontentment. Now get the tea bags in, buy a nice pull-out sofa-bed and get that invitation in the post.

Dear Professor,

My brother has asked me if he can accompany me to my weekly karate class as he wants to learn self-defence. He recently got punched by the new husband of his ex-wife and I think he's planning some kind of revenge attack. I'm worried that he's joining the class for the wrong reason. My sensei tells me that karate is a lethal fighting discipline and should never be misused.


It sounds like he needs to find a new wife, not a violent new hobby that will enable him to satisfy his lust for revenge. Aren't there any attractive single women on your karate course? That way he can kill two birds with one stone, ie, toughen up and satisfy his romantic need for a partner. Personally I like physically robust women. Especially since I stopped wrestling bears years ago due a dodgy elbow and am not as tough as I used to be. I'd love it if Mrs Tufflov were to practise a martial art such as karate or jujitsu. It's less expensive than golf or tennis, and those white suits they wear remind me of the strait-jackets in the Moscow mental asylum I used to work in.

Dear Professor,

I read advice columnists in lots of magazines and I'm sorry to say... you are the most unsympathetic and nastiest of them all! Why are you so hard on people? Why can't you show a bit more compassion when dealing with the problems of those who are obviously in a state of distress? Sometimes I think if you saw a drowning man you'd throw him a bar of soap instead of a life jacket. Can't you just be nice for once?


People enlist my formidable services because they want to change. They want to transform themselves from feeble and pitiable losers to winners, Hitesh, and winners often need a good shaking up to get them back on the straight and narrow. You sound like you could do with a little treatment yourself. The idea of you reading advice columns in "lots of magazines" strikes me as profoundly odd. Do you thrive on other people's problems? Or maybe you want a job as my trusty sidekick. We can have a little good prof/bad prof routine, right? Wrong! I fly solo, pal. Send your CV to GQ.

Lifestyle & Entertainment columnists
  • Russell Hemmings
    The Hemmings way

    Life coach Russell Hemmings on fears, anxieties and the human psyche demystified

  • Gaby Doman
    Gaby Doman: Notes to myself

    The everyday ups and downs of being a modern woman, according to this globetrotter

  • Uma Ghosh Deshpande
    The Dubai Insider

    TV personality Uma Ghosh Deshpande guides you through the city’s society gatherings and stories

  • Pratyush Sarup
    Design diary

    Dubai-based interior designer Pratyush Sarup lets us in on the world of design

  • Bharat Thakur
    Yoga for you

    Bharat Thakur guides you through practices and wisdom of this ancient science of exercising

Life & Style editor's choice