Okay, so I’ve decided to finally embrace the 21st century and start a blog. But before I plough into the future I want to briefly re-visit the past…
My family all hail from the North East of England, so I’d like to tell you a bit about my maternal and paternal grandmothers (sadly, both no longer with us) so you can see where I’m coming from (literally!)
I never got to really know either of them as my parents moved to the south coast when I was a baby, so apart from brief visits and occasional letters, I’ve built a picture of them in my head mainly from snippets of information gleaned from other family members.
I’ll start with Nana S, my Dad’s Mum. A tiny, bird-like woman who lived in the same street her whole married life. By all accounts she loved tap-dancing as a young woman (Dad said she’d get the whole family to join in!) and lived frugally, only getting a colour telly when her children all chipped in for her and Grandad S’s golden wedding anniversary. Ironically when they had both passed away (within months of each other) my Aunty was clearing their house and found thousands of pounds in old money stuffed under the mattress! As a child I used to write to her and looked forward to receiving letters in her spidery hand. She sent me a poem once, called ‘The Lighthouse’, so she obviously shared my love of poetry. Sadly her letters are lost and I don’t own a photograph of her but in my memory she’s always happy and smiling.
Moving on to my Mum’s Mum, Nana T. By all accounts she was an incredibly strong-willed woman, and my Aunty M told me a story from when she was a child which illustrates this well.
Back then (must have been the 1930’s) most working class families lived in terraced houses with small back yards. Nana T had fallen out badly with her next door neighbour who was evidently slightly more well off and enjoyed rubbing that fact in Nana’s face. When the neighbour bought a new rug she draped it over the adjoining brick wall to beat it (or to show off, as Nana saw it!) and Nana saw her chance for some revenge. Under cover of the rug she snipped away at the underside, so that later when the neighbour went to bring her rug inside and shook it, most of the suface fell away!
Of course this infuriated the neighbour who got her husband to have a go at Nana over the back wall. He happened to be wet shaving at the time, and after a war of words, he threw his shaving brush at her.
Nana calmly retrieved it, and from then on it was displayed like a trophy in a small window which the neighbours could see from their yard!
So you can see that I have some real characters in my family (there are more, but maybe another time…)