Days Gone By

I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front lately, many things contributing towards this including christmas and the new year when frankly, too many things go on in such a short space of time, it’s hard to pinpoint specific moments of celebration. However, if there was a moment I would like to celebrate, it’s spending time with my Grandad over the christmas period who sadly we lost in the few weeks that followed. It’s been a particularly hard time for my family and I as most who know us will know that we have cared and looked after both my Grandparents for the past 10 years or so.

Living together as a large family for the best part of half my lifetime has given me a lot of life experience and also taught me to celebrate family more than anything in the world. Therefore after taking some time out to support each other through this difficult stage I have decided to help celebrate my Grandparents life through some old photo’s and short stories.

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Personally, this is one of my favourite found photo’s of my grandparents taken on their wedding day in 1950 and truly shows just how modest and traditional marriage was back in those days (what couple today would have their professional photo taken in front of an old fence!). I love the beauty in this photo and have to laugh at the joke my grandad used to pass off as an excuse as to why he and grandma got married….. to share lodgings together and save on money! Sure enough it’s clear to see the love and bond between them was strong enough to last 66 years by each others side.  I cannot wait to show you all the photo’s of my own special day when it comes around.

There’s something magical about old fashioned black and white photo’s and it’s lovely to see a life had before I was born and listening to stories of my parents and grandparents is easy to picture with a photo memory attached to it. Our house is full of random bags, boxes and photo albums through the generations and the laughs that occur as a result of stumbling across evidence of the old sweater worn year after year because we didn’t have the heart to throw it away is a hard feeling to beat. Together they tell a whole timeline of stories and I would love for the children of my future to look through this blog and recognise the importance of life’s little moments and how I valued the friendship and love of each person mentioned.

So how would I describe these two special ones:

Grandma: Typical. She was loved by all and she loved all. We all loved each other but usually it’s a woman’s job to express these emotions daily and that she did. She would greet you with the tightest hug you could ever imagine, the one where you were sure your head would turn blue at how hard the squeeze was around your waist. She had patience and made the best sunday roasts ever. She also came with a large tin of buttons from her variety of different coloured dresses and collected over her years  working as a seamstress. It provided us with hours and hours of entertainment sat in front of her fireplace at their bungalow on the norfolk broads.

Grandad (or ‘Pops’ as my little niece has named him): Unforgettable. These words used apply to both of them but there’s something about my grandfather that even people in the street wouldn’t forget. Unlike my grandma, he would always take a short walk every day whilst he was living with us into the nearby town to place a bet on the horses and pick up ‘The Sun’ newspaper alongside a fresh apple pie or crumble. Without fail he would be wearing an Arsenal shirt usually underneath a suit jacket or coat. He was a typical joker and loved to wind us up but his laughter was infectious and anyone who has experienced his jokes will feel the same. Unexpectedly, just before christmas of 2014 he took his usual walk out but this time collapsed after suffering a heart attack which left him in intensive care for the best part of 2 months after being given another chance after some passers by performed CPR in the street until an ambulance arrived. When he woke, we expected the worst and were told brain damage was certain if he would pull through, but against all odds his first words were regarding the football score and from that moment we knew nothing was wrong with his thoughts at all. Sure thing, he survived a whole year following this accident and had time to thank those who saved him and also to truly express his love to us, his family and we heard this almost everyday. Lesson being to make the most of every moment with your family and tell them how you feel, even if it does sound fluffy and sensitive. You’ll be surprised how much comfort it can bring knowing you have told your loved ones how much you appreciate them.

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Grandad worked as a Head Shunter for the Railway and loved to tell us stories of a working class lifestyle, many of the perks and laughs as a young lad but many which you can’t even imagine to have experienced when work was dangerous and fearful. One thing he was always sure to remind you of was his Irish background and the traditional irish music that had embedded itself into his nature. You were certain never to get a word in during grandad singing one of his favourites (the world had to stop for a few minutes as we were forced to listen).  One of the funniest memories I have of him singing was when he would wait until Grandma had left the room and begin to sing ‘Oh you canny push your granny off a bus…..’. It became a classic in itself!

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Alongside their wedding photo, this also has to be one of my favourite photo’s as it shows that no matter what age and stage of life reached, they remained together full of love. I remember the exact moment that I took this photo as i’d overheard my grandad asking grandma to go with him for a walk around the garden to get some fresh air as my mum and I were out in the sunshine tending to flowers. Looking back on it now I am so glad to have captured this moment and find comparing it to their wedding photo is a real treasure.

If there’s one thing I know about this pair it’s that I knew how much they wanted to be at Jason and I’s wedding this summer and it’s no surprise to say they will be sadly missed but their words of encouragement and support will be at the forefront of my mind throughout the whole day. They will be loved forever.

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