You know what, I really, really miss my grandad. In fact I miss both my grandparents, Betty & Harry. They were together for over 60 years and when gramps died in January 2009, nan pretty much gave up on life and also died 10 months later. I feel almost grateful that she developed alzheimer’s in those last months. Whilst it may have meant that she thought I worked at the nursing home whenever I visited her, it also meant that she didn’t remember that gramps had passed on and expected him to walk in any minute.

My parents split up when I was 5 and I never really got on with my stepdad so my grandad was the only constant male influence in my life. He had his faults, of course he did, who doesn’t, but to me he was the world. He took me to Greenwich Park in his Morris Traveller and we’d feed the squirrels, he told me stories about when he fought in the 2nd World War (often the same story a dozen times), he gave me toffees when nan wasn’t watching, he tiggled me until I begged for mercy. Bless him, he even tried to have the old birds & bees talk with me…when I was 27.

Me & Gramps, a good few years before the birds & bees chat

Me & Gramps, a good few years before the birds & bees chat

And he always wanted to listen to me talk about my travels, even more so when nan wouldn’t even let him get on a bus because she was afraid he might catch germs. But she did let him tinker with the Morris in the driveway even though they both knew that he and the Morris weren’t going anywhere.

Goodbye Old Man

Goodbye Old Man

Even after his death he made me feel special. I’d always admired a picture that hung in their dining room, the very moving ‘Goodbye Old Man’ picture depicting a soldier cradling his dying horse during the 1st World War. So, imagine my delight when my dad contacted me after both my grandparents had passed on saying that he’d found a note on the back of the picture from gramps saying that he was to give it me, a note that was dated years before he actually died. That picture now stands proud on my mantlepiece. And, in case you were interested, no, I can’t watch Warhorse without bawling my eyes out.

Gramps, I know you are up there keeping an eye on me, and no doubt getting moaned at by nan. I hope you are proud of how I’ve turned out.

Goodnight gramps, sleep well.

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