I know my brother will agree with me when I say that we both had a blissfully happy childhood, and this was in no small part due to nan. She was a strong woman: strong-willed, strong-minded. Strong was a regular prefix. But she also doted on us with that strength and we doted back. Another of her many good qualities was her generosity, which as a kid translated to pocket money. Such was this generosity that receiving pocket money from her – particularly during her final years – was like receiving a tax-free second income.
Nan was someone who saw things plainly - sometimes a little too plainly, though sometimes not. Her methods, also, were occasionally received with suspicion, such as the time when I was eight or nine. We were having tea around nan and granddad’s. My hands needed to be clean for inspection at cub scouts later that evening and soap wasn’t doing a good enough job of removing the ink I’d got on them. So Nan motioned towards the cupboard below the sink and produced a bottle of Ajax, and that’s when the nan-assisted scrubbing began. Suffice to say, later that evening, the scout leader had never seen a pair of hands so clean.
On the days that nan picked us up from school, she would walk us the short journey back to her house and we would have tea she had cooked earlier that afternoon that she would reheat in the microwave when we arrived. To this day, the taste of reheated mashed potato, sausages and peas takes me on a very nostalgic trip back to those visits.
Yes, Nan had her quirks, as everyone does, but we are all unique and so is our contribution. Nan was no different. So here’s to nan. To her love, strength and generosity; to her slightly questionable cleaning methods, and to the ding of the microwave when tea was ready.