This week would have been my lovely Grandpa’s 91st birthday. Sadly, he died back in 2007 but he is still such a big part of our lives and so I wanted to share a couple of pics.
This is a pic of my Grandpa and Granny with little teeny Mum and Auntie. I love the story of my Mum and Auntie’s arrival into the world – though I am sure it was very traumatic for all involved. My Granny was convinced that she was having a big, fat boy with red hair. I imagine it was quite a shock when she went into premature labour and delivered two very tiny bald girls two months early! Grandpa was definitely in shock and when he went to register their births, forgot the names that Granny had chosen and so told the registrar just to call them after their grannies – so we have a Mary and Elizabeth instead of a Jill and Marilyn! The babies were very tiny but tenacious and while Granny recovered from the difficulty of their arrival, Grandpa gave his little translucent girlies baths in olive oil as water was deemed to harsh for their paper-like skin. He had really big, strong hands and could fit a whole baby in one of his hands!
This is my favourite picture of Grandpa and me. I am guessing I am about 18m so Grandpa would be almost sixty – isn’t he handsome?! It is taken outside his old house where he made a putting green in his back garden, his greenhouse smelled of tomato plants, his garage was a treasure trove of beautifully organised and maintained tools and his ‘coppers’ jar was emptied every time we visited. When I look at this picture I swear I can smell ‘Cossack’ gents hair spray and ‘Imperial Leather’ soap. Grandpa always smelled divine!
And here he is with Alexander and Ruby at Easter of 2004. Ruby was brand new and Alexander was less than two years old. Grandpa was delighted to be a Great-Grandpa and loved watching Alexander running about like a wee nut although it terrified him any time Alexander went near anything with a corner (hilarious considering his own ‘daredevil’ childhood!). He usually called Alexander by my brother’s name which didn’t bother me or Alexander (who hated people getting his name wrong at this age!), it must have seemed like the blink of an eye since my brother was the one running around in dungarees :-)
We didn’t realise when we named our daughter that ‘Ruby’ had been the name of Grandpa’s imaginary friend. He was so delighted with our choice of name and I remember him sitting with her on his knee on the day this picture was taken – he was just gazing at her as she slept, smoothing her dress and stroking her wee hands with a lovely smile on his face.
There are a million stories to tell about this wonderful man, the man who rescued crows from the side of the road and nursed them back to health, who had about 20 different pets named Boab (Boab the dog, Boab the rabbit, Boab the canary!), who made breakfasts that could waken even my brother from a deep sleep, who could fix or adapt ANYTHING!
I feel very lucky to have known him, delighted to have some great stories to tell my children about him and hopefully through those stories they will know him a little too.