The Granny who Stands on Her Head: Reflections on growing older

The Granny who Stands on Her Head by Ann Richardson


“Somewhere in the middle of my seventies, I realised that I liked being old.”

So begins this set of engaging stories and thoughts on growing older by someone with a vast range of life experience to share.

Part memoir and part reflection on the joys and challenges of modern life, this book explores the nature of old age and how it compares to what came before. The author argues that being older does not have to be feared. Even better, it can be fun.

This kaleidoscopic book offers a refreshing – and often funny – look at a wide range of issues, Including the personal awkwardness of a loss of memory, a new take on the nature of ambition, and sex at the age of 90. It challenges head on many of the prevalent myths and taboos surrounding old age.

You may never look at old age in the same way again

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Professional Reviews

“A warm, thoughtful and uplifting meditation on the perks and pitfalls of growing older. Made me want to stand on my head, too!”   Carl Honoré, author of Bolder: Making the most of our longer lives


Excerpts from Some Readers’ Reviews

“A refreshing look at what it’s like to be old. Part memoir, and part social commentary, and all enjoyable, this book is a positive ode to getting older. As the author reflects at the beginning of the book, “I like being old, in good health, and extremely lucky,” Yep, I second the motion!

In a positive, earnest and friendly way, the author looks at the various pluses and minuses of old age. Grandchildren and good friends are a pleasure. Not remembering things and stumbling around are not so good. If you are “old” you will smile and shake your head as your read. If you are younger, maybe this book will help you understand the “wrinklies” you know,

Readers will find that this is a very well-written book and is both interesting and heart-warming. Author Richardson looks at many aspects of growing older that I hadn’t considered.  This would be a great book for a book club or to give as a gift. Highly recommend.”


“A wise, thought-provoking celebration of old age. The author draws upon a wide range of life experience including: voluntary work in war-torn Africa; working as a researcher in London’s east end; and being involved as a juror in a high profile murder case….I am entering older age myself and I found her unsentimental and funny reflections on the challenges and the joys of being older insightful and very helpful.”


“This is a lovely, lovely book. The author’s reflections on the unanticipated rewards of growing old – even among its challenges and accommodations – are shared with an engaging friendliness. The anecdotes from her own life add substance, colour and a great deal of warmth and gentle humour, and the graceful, unassuming prose is a delight. A wonderfully cheering read!”

“A timely visit to a subject of concern to a growing number of our citizens, not only to those who are already elderly but also to the crowded numbers to follow. It does not make light of the undoubted trials of old age, but it articulates the pleasures and satisfaction that the ‘third age’ can bring. Ann Richardson gives the subject the reflective exploration it deserves. Her experiences, of course, are personal, but she shares her observations in a sprightly prose clearly and indeed firmly, deftly leavened with expressive anecdotes and humour.

Other elderly people may find that this book helps them see their own lives in clearer relief. Don’t fear getting old, it tells us, for you may very well find that you are in a jolly good place.”

“You will want to add your experiences to this delightful series of chatty thoughts on all manner of issues arising from living into an older age….Upbeat, informal, self-examining, and above all written with an insight into behavior many of us are either not gifted with, or do not take time to think about. I highly recommend this for seniors reflecting on their own lives, and the younger generation as a preview of what comes next.”


“I really enjoyed this book; it was well-written and witty, dealing with difficult themes, such as ageing, illness and helped to take out some of the associated apprehension. The themes within my experience were treated with both humour and sensitivity, while providing valuable insights into those elements which I had not experienced. You’ll feel better after reading this book!”

 “You don’t have to read very far into this book to enjoy how well written and interesting it is. You also do not have to be old?.”


“The title attracted me to this book. ‘The granny who stands on her head.’ And I enjoyed the anecdote about how this came about! It reminds me of my mother -in-law who used to swing standing up well into her seventies! Indeed the author wishes to overturn many misconceptions about aging and proposes to explore its many benefits and unexpected joys particularly if we stay fit and well emotionally, physically and mentally. Which sadly isn’t always the case.

I enjoyed this and would recommend it to those who are interested in reading a personal account about the passing of time, focusing on the changes, challenges, benefits, attitudes, observations and impact on family relationships, marriage, friendships, grandchildren, sex, and the many illuminating experiences acquired over a lifetime. I particularly enjoyed the references to yoga, love, travel, downsizing, (which we hope to do! ) taking enjoyment in the companionship of the author’s long marriage.  (I also have been married for a long time and found this relatable.) How it feels to have middle aged children, and grandchildren, (not there yet but I can see the former must feel strange, the latter joyful,) being an extra in a film and on the trial for a heinous murder!

There is a lot more to this book than first meets the eye!

A thoughtful, interesting and personal account.”


“A great title indeed for a book that describes older age in a positive and earnest way. The little bursts of stories from Ann’s life are very enjoyable and fit nicely into the kaleidoscope of themes about ageing. A life well lived continues to be just that for Ann!”


“I thoroughly enjoyed your take on things…I commend you for writing such an important book. Thank you for penning this gem.”


“I just finished reading The Granny Who Stands on Her Head, and it was such a pleasure throughout the journey of reading! I am eager to share this book with my friends and family, but unfortunately, living in China for their whole lives, only a few of them could read books in English. I just want to ask if there is any chance to have a Chinese version of the book in the coming future?”