Monday, 2 November 2009

Things Granny left me...

When I was about 7 or 8 me and my brother stayed at our grandparent's up at Africa Cottage. 
It was a wee but'n'ben type place up the Kirbister road with no mains electricity and an 
outside loo and it was always an adventure to stay there, especially as I slept in a box bed 
when I was there.  A real princess bed.  Anyway, one night we were staying there and I was 
in my sleepwalking phase.  My Grandad followed me through as I went and stood in front of 
the mantelpiece and stared in front of me.  He asked me what I was doing. I said nothing.  He 
suggested I go back to bed and I obviously didn't appreciate that suggestion as I put my arm 
out and swiped everything off the mantelpiece in front of me including the clock that they 
got years ago (I think it was a wedding present).  I then scarpered off to bed. I honestly had no 
memory of doing any of this the next morning. Anyway the clock got fixed and from then on it 
became known as "Maureen's clock" and Granny promised me that it was mine when she died.
So here it sits on my mantelpiece, ticking away in a comforting way, the sound of my 
childhood. The inside of it still smells of Benson and Hedges even though Granny gave up 
smoking 3 years ago!

I asked if I could have Granny's old baking tins and funnily enough no one else objected! 
Some of the tins (2 bun (cupcake) trays and 2 sandwich tins) are from the wartime (she got 
married to my Grandad in 1943) and on their last legs but I'll see how long I can keep them 
going.  I spent an awful lot of helping Granny to bake and she would have probably got a lot 
more buns out of the basic mixture if I hadn't been helping! She spent a lot of time making 
nice things that brought a smile to folk's faces and I like to do the same.  When my other 
Granny died I asked for her knitting needles and sewing box because that's what I remembered 
her doing.  While an inheritance involving money can be nice and helpful it's not always a 
relevant reminder of who it is that you've lost.  I find social domesticity inherently interesting 
and the passing on of skills, knowledge and love is a better thing to leave behind than anything 
The one other thing she left me is who I look like and who I am now.  Through her I'm a Velzian, 
Spence and a Brown mixed up with Heddle's and Rosie's on the other side.  There's a rake o'folk 
that look like me and me like them.  I was mistaken for my Mum this time I was home because I 
look so much like her. We're dark and small and "duggit" (stubborn) as hell. 
Thomas Hardy says it best... 
I am the family face; 
Flesh perishes, I live on, 
Projecting trait and trace 
Through time to times anon, 
And leaping from place to place 
Over oblivion. 

The years-heired feature that can 
In curve and voice and eye 
Despise the human span 
Of durance -- that is I; 
The eternal thing in man, 
That heeds no call to die

1 comment:

Seòladair said...

I thought from your previous post that your Granny had been on a visit, but now I realise that the 'cheerio' is a more permanent one. You have such lovely memories of your Granny and the photos are lovely, too. And I totally agree that baking tins and knitting needles are worth so much more than money - every time you do some baking or use one of the knitting needles, your Grannies are living on! What went on for generations before them has been passed on to you... and will be passed on for generations to come.

I enjoy reading your blog, but am a bit of a lurker - will endeavour to make myself known more!