Granny, who was a teacher, has lived in the same house in Middleton for thirty years. In her youth she was, so she says, "a bold, bad girl," and she still has a indomitable will and a dry wit, as well as an instinctive majestic dignity. She has a cat named Mintchoc, does not read much, is deeply superstitous, and teaches Polly to cook. She is inexplicably afraid of mice and other small animals, has bad attacks of sciatica, and often rests in the afternoon. When it rains, she carries a huge green and white umbrella. Her mother left her a lucky opal pendant, which she passes on to Polly. She loves treats and has a penchant for proverbs. She has two friends her own age, whom she calls Aches and Pains; but she takes their mother, old Mrs. Oaks, quite seriously.
She protects Polly emotionally from both parents, although when Polly gets older she insists that Polly visit Ivy regularly. Polly thinks of her, and her house, as having "a sort of holy calm," and as smelling like biscuits, "a nutty, buttery smell." Her motto in raising Polly is "Don't wish your life away."
She calls Hunsdon House "That House," and is dubious of anything connected to it.