Grand-daddies little girl . . . Part 1 . . .
One of my co-workers very suddenly lost her grandfather, and it has made me think a lot about my wonderful ones . . .
Most of us reminisce about out Grandmothers - baking, sewing, their button tins ;) . . . and tend to overlook the Grandfathers . . . However, I can safely say that I totally adored both of mine, and on looking back, can remember the most unusual things about them . . . So before time moves on, and I forget all of these wonderful nuances, I'm going to write these two blogs for them . . .
Born in 1919, Grandad George was born within the sound of Bow Bells, and until the age of fourteen slept in a chair next to a fireplace . . . the fact that he never had a bed of his own shocked me when I heard this age eighteen.
Trained as a cobbler, he entered the Second World War as a machine gunner, and saw action on the D-Day beaches, something that he never once spoke about to me. He obviously enjoyed himself though, with photos of him and his comrades larking about during their time at camp.
A quiet gentle giant he was always such a gentleman . . .
His hands and nails were always immaculate, shoes polished, clothes spic and span . . . always close shaved, and smelling of Lifebuoy Soap and cigarettes, although his brand of choice eludes me . . .
He and his wife moved from London to give their young family a better start after the war - the new town Hemel Hempstead became their home, and he worked hard at the Vauxhall car plant in Luton. Soon enough, they had their own home, with very neat flower beds, roses, a lawn, a veg patch and a garden shed - the place where my memories of him are compounded by the wonderful smell of creosote and earth . .. The box that he made to insulate the outside tap so it wouldn't freeze, the oil tray that he kept under the car engine so it didn't damage the garage floor, and the wonderful deck chairs that until recently we still used . . .
The car trips we used to take to Weston, and the wind break, tea, rock and the vest, rolled up trousers and knotted hankie ensemble he would wear when he dug at the beach with us.
He became the sole carer for my grandmother when she became ill, and refused to put her into a home even when it was detrimental to his own health . . .
When he finally succumbed, he came into his own, but maybe looking back on it, it was due to his loneliness . . . He became a regular at bingo, winning a substantial amount of money, and going away on coach tours around the UK - once winning a fancy dress competition as dressing up as Carmen Miranda, complete with fruit!
When he died, he was the first of my grandparents to go . . .
He had two weeks previously been to see my Grandmother in the home for the first time, and then had been down to see my mum in her new home . . . it was as if he knew his time to move on had come, and he wanted to check that everyone was safe and settled . . .
I will never forget this wonderful gentle man, and the way he bought stability into my life . . .
Much love, Ax