Granny and Grandpa...Memories

The Galloping Major's wife's parents lived in a little bungalow in the grounds of the big house...Granny was a complete dote...she had two awful stinking nanny goats that she milked every day and she insisted I took a flask of their milk home with me...

Even my cats turned their noses up and stalked away flicking the ends of their tails...

I'd wash the flask and leave it to drain and take it back and she'd refill it...discovered that both the Galloping Major and his wife refused point blank to drink the stuff, which is why I had pints of it...

Granny adored her garden and knew all the Latin names of the plants...she'd tweak a bit off a prize shrub and tell me how to get it to root...our garden was filled with gorgeous flowers and shrubs because of those cuttings...

She wore a wig which was just a fraction too big...it'd slip down her forehead sometimes and she'd push it back as though it were a hat...and she wore rubber boots that she'd cut the tops off...unevenly, so the left boot was inches taller than the right.

And a stout apron made from stiff canvas with a big pocket in the front in which she kept a penknife and little dog biscuits to feed to the squabbling terriers.

And Granny knew all there was to know about 'form'...horse racing was a passion with her...she'd sit in their little sitting room bawling advice to jockeys while twiddling with her hearing aid and putting the volume on the television up so high I could hear it when I turned in the drive...

Granny loved nothing better than to talk...she'd talk about her childhood and the pets she'd had and the first pony her Father bought for her...she'd tell me of the time when the meadows were full of wild Orchids...'until he came here' he, being the Major, whom she thoroughly disliked...

Then there was dear sweet Grandpa...he'd shout with one hand cupped behind his ear and he'd bang on the floor with his walking stick...he didn't think much of the Major either...said it was pretentious to keep the Army title...my feeling all along actually.

Grandpa was old when I grew to know him...he must have been about ninety-three or thereabouts...shrunken and painfully thin, he loved chocolate and driving his ancient Land-Rover...it was Grandpa who drove into the town one Christmas to buy me' Lark Rise to Candleford' for a present...probably lurching all over the road, but he made the journey unscathed and I burst into tears when he handed over the book...carefully wrapped and beribboned and signed inside by both he and Granny.

Being almost totally deaf and refusing to wear a hearing aid, if you wanted to talk to Grandpa you needed to sit right in front of him so he could read your lips...he told me stories about when he was in the First World War in command of a troop of mal-nourished and ill-prepared young men who'd come straight from the farms and fields of Norfolk...of coming home on leave and meeting Granny and the farm they once owned in Somerset...

One bright and beautiful summers afternoon I had a frantic 'phone call from the Major...would I come to see Grandpa.

So I did...Grandpa was at the end of his days. The Major had disappeared, leaving his wife and Cousin Diana and I with Granny and Grandpa...they fell asleep but for me and the old man. I sat beside his chair and held his hand until he sighed and was no more.

Cousin Diana flew to open the windows to allow his spirit out and I called the Doctor and the Majors wife made a pot of tea...Granny went out to milk her goats.

It was several years later, long after we'd moved from the area, that I received a letter from the Major to tell me that Granny had died peacefully in her sleep...written by hand, he'd obviously thought of the content...emphasising how much those old people had loved me and I had a fond memory of him limping down the stable yard...waistcoat pockets stuffed with sweets and bits of string, bawling obscenities at the troop of Jack Russell's at his heels...

11 Replies

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  • Memories........... They are valuable. Note them, lest they be forgot...........

    Thank you for sharing,

    breathe easy

    johnwr

  • Memories are treasures no one can steal.

  • Precious memories Vashti x

  • So so precious, lovely story Vashti. Did you watch Larkrise to Candleford on tv. I loved it. :-)

  • Precious , sweet , memories Vashti, shadows and dust.....huff x

  • Oh lovely story vashti as usual. x

  • THIS IS A NICE STORY.

  • Morning Vashti, What lovely memories of such an eccentric family, Gran and Grandpa sound a hoot, I gather it wasn't so long ago! Have a good weekend, How's the tiling going, Looking forward to putting the clocks on an hour tomorrow night. Best wishes, Bulpit

  • I absolutely love your tales, Vashti. I used to sign in to this site now and then but your descriptive and atmospheric memories are now my first port of call each day.Such a huge talent and I am so grateful you share it with us!

    Flora Thompson wrote " Larkrise To Candleford " in my old house in Brixham, Devon and there is now a blue plaque on the wall to honour her. You can actually see it if you Google her name.Best regards, Polly4acre

  • That was beautiful, thanks for sharing xx

  • Omg, hmmmm I sure say that a lot when commenting on your posts. Spent 4 days in the hospital so catching up on your stories. Always excited to read the most recent.

    Oh how special our memories of our grannys and grandpa's are!!

    Hope you are feeling and breathing well.

    Shirat

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