At the end of this month my Granny will be ninety years old. She was (and still is!) a very active grandparent and filled our childhood with home baked treats and roast dinners with minted peas. Even now whenever I visit home, Granny often makes me one of her famous homemade chocolate cakes! She is an excellent cook and her cakes with their smooth butter cream icing and feather light sponges never linger long in our house.
She was only 17 years old when Britain declared war with Germany and became involved in World War II. It's amazing and awe inspiring to think that she lived through such a time and I love being able to find out what it was really like and listen to family history. She tells me the fun stories of everyone coming together and making-do; her
family saved up all their clothing rations so that my Granny
could get married in a white wedding dress and have pretty lemon coloured dresses for her bridesmaids.
But she also tells me the scary stories; going to bed in your clothes so that you could escape the house quickly
when the air-raid sirens went off, walking back from work in the pitch
black not being able to see your hand in front of your face and coming home to find the house next to yours blown to pieces by a bomb. One things she is always emphatic about is that she is so glad that none of her grandchildren have had to live through a war and hopes that we never will.
My Granny was one of ten children and she often tells me tales from her childhood and all the fun they had together. One of my favourites is the story of her little brother Ted (Edward) travelling down to Regent's Park Zoo from North London at the age of ten to help feed and look after the elephants. She always smiles with fondness as she recounts how he desperately wanted to keep an elephant at home and was very disappointed when their mother explained to him that he would not be able to keep an elephant under his bed!
As much as I enjoyed hearing family stories, I also delighted in her describing her favourite period novels to me when I was younger. She filled me with fascination when she first told me the story of Jane Eyre, Rebecca and Great Expectations; I was spellbound. When I was old enough to be able to read them, she gave me copies of Jane Eyre and Great Expectations and fuelled my love of classic fiction and costume drama.
When I look at myself, I see her influence reflected in a lot of my own interests and hobbies and I am proud to be able to say I inherited them from her.
Happy Birthday Granny! xx