2019 Pic 193 – RIP Granny Yvonne

So today we “officially” said goodbye to my one remaining grandma, and people will (again) be wondering how this classes as a “happy” picture. It’s because, barring the sombre mood during the service itself, today was a day of smiles, laugher, chatter and family. Despite the circumstances, everyone who was at the crematorium when I arrived had a smile on their face. It’s not often family get together these days, and even with the sad circumstances we took it as a chance to reminisce and to catch up.

There wasn’t a huge number of people there because, frankly, by the time you reach 97 you’ve outlived most of your peers. Also, our family is pretty widespread and some just couldn’t make the journey. Those who did enjoyed some beautiful weather though, which definitely suited the mood. Not an occasion to mourn as such, but to remember the good times.

And that’s the sad thing. For the last decade, my gran couldn’t remember a lot. Where she was, who she was, who other people were. As a result, and related to those issues, she wasn’t the person we all knew when she was younger. It’s ironic that as I’m talking about all the wonderful memories we have of her, she spent many years with a memory that had effectively broken. I have loads of memories about my gran, and my times visiting her – and living with her for a short time when we were between houses while my dad moved for work.

She let kids be kids – old school. Which perhaps has some bearing on the fact that of the three times in my life I’ve needed stitches, two of them were at her house! I remember playing in the park with my cousins, with the school friends I had while I was living there, or with random kids who happened to be there at the time. I remember the boy a few doors round who threw what was supposed to be a tennis ball for me to hit with my brand new (plastic) racquet only for it to turn out to be a cricket ball so the racquet smashed. I remember the pedal car she had in the house for the kids who visited (and there were a lot of us) to play on, and how gutted I was when I outgrew it. I remember our first dog running away from her house because he hated going in the car (we got him back), and I remember our second dog passing away on her doorstep in her sleep.

I remember so many Christmases where she somehow managed to turn the house into a TARDIS and fed the physical laws-defying hordes from a small kitchen in a manner that puts handing out a few loaves and a herring or two into the shade. I remember writing out my list for Santa which she popped into the hearth while the fire was roaring so it flew up the chimney (and got burned to a crisp) so that it would get to the North Pole.

I remember having a record player in “my” room there, and listening to the police chatter on my old radio. I remember running the cold tap in the bathroom to fill the sink then plunging my head into it to cool down on hot summer days. I remember her toast being amazingly buttery and her tea perfectly milky. I remember her baking being the envy of Mr Kipling. I remember my grandad lighting his pipe in the back of the car and her telling me “It’ll be OK soon, that’s the pipe with wine in it” (it wasn’t OK).

I remember her spending hours working for Save The Children. I remember her buying me comics from Johnny, the guy who ran the corner shop (it will come as no surprise to many of you that I still have most of them). I remember getting a roll and chips as a treat from Neptune’s Place/Plaice. I remember her watching CrossroadsEmmerdaleCoronation Street and Take The High Road… and being vocally unimpressed when I was watching the beginning of The Young Ones‘ episode “Time”.

I could go on, but I won’t. The one thing that links every memory – every one – is that they’re happy. Even when they weren’t at the time (those stitches…) I look back on them fondly. Hey, smashing my head open on the coffee table meant that I didn’t need to eat the stew I had for dinner and I wasn’t that keen on it. Score.

It is cruel that someone who I have so many wonderful memories of began to struggle with hers as she aged. The collection at her funeral was for Alzheimer Scotland. If you have a few pennies, please feel free to throw them in their direction so they can help sufferers and their families.

RIP Yvonne Purdie, beloved granny. 23rd Jan 1922 to 6th July 2019. That’s a hell of an innings.

2019 Pic 190

Another film one, though today was about more than just going to see the movie. Today was Hans’ last day in Glasgow, but it was fairly relaxed after a couple of days of trying to fit a ton of stuff in. Yesterday we caught a TV show recording, walked around the West End, interviewed a band, sampled some rather nice food (from “Kings” on Sauchiehall Street who aren’t on Google Maps) and went to a gig.

Today, we did some shopping, visited my work, enjoyed dinner with two of my colleagues and saw Spider-Man: Far From Home before heading to Buchanan Street to drop him off for his midnight bus to Birmingham.

I hope it’s not another six or seven years before I see him again…

2019 Pic 189

Hans wanted to see Edinburgh so… we went to Edinburgh. I was a little worried the kids might not be up to a huge amount of walking, but they were great for the 2-hour guided walk we did (free, donations accepted, courtesy of John of Little Fish. I’m more than happy to plug him and his company. He was a great guide; humourous, knowledgeable and just good fun. He engaged really well and managed to entertain and educate our small group. We bunged him a tip at the end – I hope it was enough!

On his recommendation we checked out the National Museum of Scotland and were really glad we did. It’s packed with stuff ranging from the specifically Scottish to specifically very much not Scottish to space to technology to natural history… We were there for approaching three hours. Suffice it to say that I was the only one who wasn’t asleep in the car on the way back after all the walking. Which is good as I was driving.

We lucked out on the weather and by getting there early on we even got free on-street parking all day (screw you, Glasgow City Council).

2019 Pic 188

An odd choice of “happy” picture today as it follows the news that my last remaining granny passed away yesterday evening. However, I choose to remember her from some years ago when she was still the Gran I looked forward to visiting; who put so many hours into working with Save The Children; who (poor sod) helped raise me for a few months when we were between houses; who prevented warfare between my cousin and I by painting the helmets of half the toy soldiers with white paint so we had a “set” each; and who could defy the laws of physics with the amount of butter she could soak into a slice of toast without causing the whole thing to turn into mush (seriously, there’s a PhD paper in there somewhere).

That Gran sadly hasn’t been around for a few years, and she has finally been granted the rest she deserved some time ago. 97 is a hell of an age, but sometimes that number can just be a millstone rather than a milestone. I still believe she was just too stubborn (a family trait as many will know) to shuffle off this mortal coil. I can picture Death stood there, hourglass running empty and Binky by his side clip-clopping impatiently, while she occasionally looks up from reruns of Coronation Street to say “Not yet – be patient.” He wouldn’t argue with her. I know I wouldn’t.

I feel that I said my goodbyes to my Granny Yvonne some time ago. I’m happy for her, knowing that she’s with my Grampa John again. I’m sure he’s missed her all these years.