At the age of seven and a half, Criss’s grandmother dubbed her as ‘precocious.’ Since then, it’s been a private goal of hers to live up to that.

She could not remember much about her grandmother or many of the things she might have said to her for as their visits to her stately home in Crendinmore were many, their direct interactions were few.

Their visits were routine. There would be hugs and hearty greetings at the door, then the adults would either step away to the sitting room or gather around a large table in the kitchen to talk. In the mornings they would sip coffee and nibble at coffeecakes. Visits later in the day involved simple drinks of alcohol and the sharing of a modest, yet adequate platter of cheese and crackers.

The children were to play. They were given all the freedom they could handle, but the expectation was that they would play, and play nicely, without raising a ruckus so as to disturb the adults. So they played simply, or flipped through old books and magazines to keep the noise to a minimum and the prospect of getting in trouble at bay.

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