Back in 2010 I wrote about my grandmothers.
My paternal grandmother died when I was about 10. She was 90. Over 30 years later my maternal grandmother passed away this morning, she was not yet 90. Due to an age gap between my Mum and Dad, my Dad’s Mum having him late in life and my Dad being well into his 30s when he had me and in contrast my Mum’s Mum having my Mum very young my grandmothers were more than a generation apart and lived very different lives.
I have found it very difficult knowing my grandmother was ill and approaching the end of her life these last couple of weeks. Hard not to say my own goodbyes and hard not to be around to support other family members. When we heard this evening that she had died we raised a glass to her and remembered her. We exchanged letters with her after the TV show earlier this year and she had been thrilled to see us all on her TV and have an insight into our lives here on Rum and see some of the croft and the island we call home. She was proud of us and supportive of our crazy life even though it had taken us all far away.
There are sights, sounds and smells which will forever remind me of her. She was a florist and as children my brother and I would spend time in her flower shop, sitting in the back room eating marmite on toast. The first flower shop was on the corner next to a train station and the windows would rattle as the trains thundered past, the sound of the gates being wound up and down by the man in the signal box and the scent of cut flowers. The word ‘oasis’ and those tiny fake birds made with real feathers which would sit in flower arrangements and she would let us sometimes play with aslong as we were very careful with them.
I remember her love for Wedgewood, the blue and white china, and for onyx ornaments and furniture, the first artificial Christmas tree I ever saw at her house, Spanish flamenco dolls sitting on top of the TV, a crocheted toilet roll cover doll in a dress, a bright orange 70s sheepskin rug and a fibre optic rotating light. Her house today contained none of those things (well maybe a little onyx) but in my 70s childhood memories they are all attached to my Granny.
As the sole Great Grandparent Davies and Scarlett ever knew she delighted in them, probably more obviously than any other relative. She took joy in their every word and deed and their lives have been the richer for the time spent with her listening to tales of her childhood and a life which somehow sounded so much more than just a lifetime ago.