A Flicker of A Sweet Memory

It’s funny what you remember when you miss someone.

My Nana passed away sometime ago, while I was still at university studying (fat lot of good that venture did, but that’s another story). My dad’s mum, my nana was a larger than life character. Mum of boys, larger drinker, lipstick wearer and experimental cook. I knew I got my attitiute for cooking from someone, and I’m so giving my nana some of the credit.

I can’t even tell you what made my mind wonder to her sausages and flying saucer eggs today, but I found myself laughing as I remember dinner times at her flat. It was a smokey affair, she chain smoked when she chatted but because she had the window open as she did it, of course it wasn’t that bad (we would cringe now). Anyway, I digress. She owned a George Forman Grilling Machine. Or, in her words “George Formby Grilling Machine” she loved the thing, and it got used a hell of a lot.

My brother and I were always fussy with what we ate at nanas house, mainly as the older she got the more interesting the combinations became and the more the food tasted like smoke. She was however, a fabulous cook in her hay day. We ended up having chip pan chips, homemade of course or pancakes, finished off with crisps, chocolate and yogurt. All healthy stuff! My dad was subjected to actual real dinner, and this particular night was rather spectacular. I remember her wafting through the living room with dad’s plate in hand before plonking it down on the table. On the blue and white crockery was a breakfast for dinner. A staple of her household and very much enjoyed.

On dad’s plate there was a fried egg (sunnyside up), tomato, beans, bacon and what looked like two burgers. My dad stabbed one the burgers and held it in the air asking what it was. My nana asked him what the hell he was playing at waving that sausage about. We were hysterical, well all apart from my nana who was completely confused about the laughing. Dad asked why it was so flat, so she demonstrated her Formby Grilling skills in the air at the table.

She’d only gone and put butchers style (the really chunky, fat kind) sausages in the grill and squashed it down until the machine cliped shut. She returned to the kitchen to put her own meal together.

In the meantime there was the fried egg. Same meal, same day. Dad struggled to cut the white of the fried egg so picked it up to see what was going on. Turns out this egg had been fried to with an inch of it’s edible life. It stayed perfectly flat as he picked it up. He starts making his idea of UFO noises as the yolk balances on it’s white plate like shelf with a slight yellow wobble. Again, both me and my brother fell about laughing while dad tried to put back on a straight face as nana came to the table with her own dinner.

I still remember the smell of her pressed powder, the shade of her lipstick, her choice in skirts and how she always wore a pinny over them. Her kindness and patience. Her spoiling us and caving to our every request for sweets as children. I remember having to watch the snooker when it was on because she loved it but then she’d let us watch the Simpsons over dinner time and let us sit of the sofa instead of at the table with our food. I miss her, her accidental funny anecdotes and the liverpudlian twang that still remained from her younger years in her voice. The raspy cough and the way she would order herself two halfs of larger instead of a pint just because it wasn’t lady like to order a pint (but it was okay to sit with two drinks).

I miss her – photo from my 18th birthday meal. A day of mixed emotions, I lost a dear friend that exact day.

What sweet memories do you hold of a missed love one? I’d love to hear a story or two.

Xoxo, L

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Belated Birthday

I spend the most of today with the man I call Grandad. My mum’s dad. I always enjoy our time together, but he gets increasingly more confused these days.

He suffers with vascular dementia and the signal from his eyes to his brain is not all that great. The smallest tasks are difficult for him and his known and loved personality is fading. It’s a killer for him, in his most lucid moments he tells us he hates it and he can’t go on. It’s hard for us around him becauae he is a shadow of the man he used to be. All because of dementia.

Delilah, Demon dog and I walked to the grandparents place this morning and arrived at about 9.30ish. Grandma had already set off for her morning out with a friend. They were off to see some historical picture at the film and photography museum. Grandad was waiting for us with the front door open, I just hope he wasn’t standing there for too long as I’m not sure what time grandma left.

Parked the pram up, got baby and dog inside and made us a cuppa. We had an upbeat morning together. I couldn’t tell you what we talked about. I’m finding it harder and harder to tell what he is talking about. I agree to most things and try talk with him about things in his distant past. Asking him questions about his old hobbies, cycling or bodybuilding or even his work. He was always so passionate about everything he did, almost obsessive. He’d have the best of everything and do things to extreams. He was, as far as I’m concerned, good at it all.

We’ve always had music in common, but he’s lost the ability to stick on a CD or even work the radio. He used to play guitar and banjo, relatively well; he can’t see where he’s putting his fingers now. He does love hearing his old favourites. Old rock and roll stuff like “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino. He lights up when you put on some music or they play live music at his dementia club on a Wednesday morning.

I miss him. His calming influence and his logical thinking. Always positive and very much an engineer with his approach to life in general. I’d like to think he’s taught me a few things over the years. (Delilah’s snap).

Mid visit, we had to take demon dog out to the toilet. Just so happened the post man came to visit at the same time. Demon dog decided to give the postie a head start before chasing him down the street. Playfully of course, but all the same running after the dog with baby on hip is a hardship. Poor postie must have been pooping himself, I mean know one else knkws hes harmless. He came back with his tongue hanging out and his ‘I’m pleased with myself’ playful ears on. He has demonic moments, hence the name. He is actually a very sweet dog, just a little mischievous on occasion and always protective.

Another cup of tea, and four hours later Grandma came home. Absolutely inspired by the film she saw and singing it’s praises, telling me I must go see it. I wanted to stay a little longer, but Dela decided she wasn’t going to nap. I knew as soon as I go her in the pram and set off she’s fall asleep, so I packed her and demon dog up and off we went.

It was a lovely day. One to memory bank. I hope for more of these with him, and I’ll continue to miss the man he was.

Xoxo, L.