Purple rinse, perfect nails and impeccable complexion, that was my Nan. A larger than life personality, full of character and wise words, she was the linchpin of family life and the voice of reason in an ever-changing World. Her reassuring words always reflected her sense of fun and ability to comfort those closest. Nan was my go-to person as a child, when I needed a friendly face; a constant in my life, with true embrace, a willingness to listen and a stickler for tradition!
Nan had mellowed over the years; as Mother used to say - no longer the formidable doyenne, she once was, now reborn into the naughty Nanny who never could say no. With a mischievous twinkle in her eye, she always looked the other way; ‘boys will be boys,’ she chuckled, ‘They’ll sort it out in the end!’ My Nan’s important family role, throughout my childhood brought security and affirmation, always welcoming her grandchildren with open arms and a rather sloppy kiss on the cheek. She was everything a Grandparent should be, archetypal in every respect.
Nanny was sat in the breakfast room, perched high on a stall; her colourful 50s à la mode hair, mirrored her floral ensemble. Neatly pressed and suitably attired, she was perfectly presented, her outfit flawlessly accentuated with a single row of pearls. She wore colourful rings on her chubby manicured hands; bright red nail varnish, catching the light of the morning, beaming through the conservatory door, as she beckoned me over for a hug.
I ran eagerly, burying my head deep in her bosom, trying to stretch my arms around her chest. She always gave the best cuddles. Not wanting to let go, I’d finally lift my head and breathe, Nan sat laughing exuberantly as she gently eased herself off the stall. Kettle on, I sipped a large mug of tea, strong, with no sugar, just how I did at home. With Mother and Nanny sat chatting, I caught the occasional glimpse of afternoon television through the patio doors to the lounge. Chorlton and the Wheelies today and Fenella the Witch, who gives me nightmares to this day. One eye on the TV set and an ear on the gossip in the kitchen, my attention wandered from one room to another, interjecting when I could, feeling grown up and part of the conversation.
Nan tottered around the kitchen wearing her red patent court shoes, different colours each day. I never saw her without them; neatly cleaned and polished, they were part of who she was. Standing on tiptoe, reaching over to the top of the fridge at the back of the room, she gently slid a cake tin to the fore. Grabbing a corner with her hand, grasping it tightly, she teetered back to the breakfast bar, talking as she went. Releasing the lid, trying not to break a nail, she took out a freshly baked fruit cake, still warm from the oven. Soft, moist and bulging with sultanas, currents and my favourite cherries, she cut a hearty piece, placing it neatly on a china plate. Still talking to Mum, she put it in front of my face, a smile from the corner of her mouth, signalled, it was time to eat.
Tea, cake and conversation, hugs and kisses, taking out her false teeth and making us all laugh. This was my Grandmother, with her perfect demeanour, nurturing nature and immaculate coffered hair. These enduring memories are priceless today, as I reach the same age as Nan was then. Sadly she wasn’t a part of my life in latter years, but I thought of her often as I still do today. She was a lady unlike no other and a woman I adored, never far from my mind, I remember my early years and the matriarch that could never be ignored. The everlasting, unremitting Memories of a much loved Grandmother, still very much alive!
47 year old Author, Columnist and Blogger.