It’s been coming for a while; years in fact, and in some
ways it feels like a relief. She didn’t really do much in later life, and
quietly lived out her final years in a tall, musty house in Ramsgate, Kent.
Yet despite her solitude, she remained ever-present in our lives, a woman who could be relied on to be stubborn and unbending in matters of elderly respectability and social pride. Despite her setbacks, she quietly soldiered on, pottering about, living one day to another with barely a shrug or complaint.
My first ‘memory’ of Grandpa Tom isn’t a memory as such, but rather a photo. There’s young me aged about five shooting him with a water squirter while he’s lying asleep on a deckchair. I don’t remember the incident as such, but I do remember the photo – I’m just sorry I can’t find it.
Skip forward a few years and my first ‘proper’ memory of Grandpa Tom is from my teenage years when we used to do gardening together under the watchful supervision of my dear old Gran (Sheila). Gran was a very small, frail lady, who was partially sighted but possessed with a great spirit and energy, which she applied to the directions she gave her two reluctant workers as we chopped, dug and scraped our way around their small back-garden. We didn’t say much to each other, but we shared that bond you get when suffering quietly in adversity, as I balanced precariously at the top of a ladder while Grandpa Tom collected the rubbish down below.
Lunchtime would always be the same: chicken-flavour Bachelor super noodles followed by a chocolate roll, or two if we were lucky. On extra special occasions we might even get beans and cheese on toast and a cup of tea before trudging back outside to get covered in cuts and bruises in what must be the prickliest garden in the whole of Ramsgate. Continue reading »