Tuesday 28 August 2012


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


  1. This is such a beautiful post Charlotte, Happy Birthday to your beloved Granny.

  2. A beautiful post, best wishes to your Granny. Love the rose, it's gorgeous. Is it from your garden?

    1. Hi Maria,
      Thank you! Yes, the rose is from my garden and it has the most amazing scent.

  3. How I loved your post! I too owed much to my Granny (she raised my sibling and myself) and my love of books emanated from her own literary thirst! She could never own enough books and read until her death at age 93.
    She too lived through wars, WW1 as a teenager, then WW2 as a young mother of 4 but the experiences left her none the less with more spunk you can imagine!
    Making do was the only way to go, she embraced life with gusto and whilst she never became a play writer as she hoped (she left school at age 9)she was an inspiration for many, learning multiples languages, traveling around the world and always writing in her diaries!
    Thank you for reminding me of a most lovely lady and blessings to your Granny on her birthday!

  4. Hope your granny has a wonderful day. Its lovely to listen to the memories isnt it? Try and write them down if you can because one day they may otherwise be lost forever.As a keen family historian I am trying to write down anecdotes and other (not necessarily important) information about my family that my parents tell me. It is forever a work in progress but one of the reasons I also write my blog is so that my future generations will be able to read and see photos about me and my family.

  5. what a lovely post....I'm always so interested in the WWII era....it's amazing what people lived through and how brave they were through those awful times.
    Happy Birthday to your granny....and many more

  6. Wishing you Grannie the happiest of birthdays!
    What a lovely post :o) The rose is gorgeous.
    Rose H

  7. Wondering if you had thought of videotaping her telling her history so that you will have a record of your delightful granny?

  8. Happy Birthday to your Granny and what a lovely post, it is lovely to hear of her life and they were so remarkable in the life they had to face at such a young age.
    Enjoy the week

  9. Happy Birthday to your Granny. Loved reading her story. I knew most of my great grandparents, but my favorite Granny lived to be 104, and was amazing too!

  10. You're so blessed to have a wonderful grandmother (Happy Birthday!). I never had a grandmother, nor the homey kind of life I always dreamed of as a kid...I think that might be why I collect & make "grandmotherly stuff" now. I just watched an old '40s Rita Hayworth movie in which she was an entertainer in London during the WWII bombings, with scenes just like your grandmother describing of coming home and the home being gone. We are so fortunate for all who fought for freedom before us.
    Oh, and Rebecca & Jane Eyre are some of my very favorites!

  11. Hello Charlotte, I am setting up a new blog which will be 'Invited Readers Only', please if you would like to follow my new blog contact me by my email, as I have to send you a request. Ann annhilary@bigpond.com

  12. Lovely to hear about your Granny. My husband's mother was born in 1890 (she died in 1988 just a week short of her 98th birthday) and she could recall the soldiers going off to the Boer War singing Goodbye Dolly Grey, the song of the day. Not only that, she was in her late 20s when she was working in a munitions factory in World War One. Her memories of London as a young girl, with horses and carts taking presidence over the new motor vehicles, were wonderful to hear.
    Margaret P