This is not the next blog I thought I would be writing but here goes…..
My Gran died today.
I have been lucky in that I have not experienced grief like this since my Grandad died when I was 5 years old, so not really old enough to process what had happened. I never thought I would do a blog about how I feel on the passing of my Gran but my brain is so full of the stories she used to tell me and my time with her that I am hoping in writing them down it will assist with the crippling sadness I feel at knowing I will never see or speak to her again. My Gran was in her early 90’s but she has always lived in her own home and it is only recently she has seemed less and less like herself. Whilst it shouldn’t have been such a big shock I am devastated and feel like the world is a smaller place without her in it.
As anyone who has read my other blogs will know my Grandma was a Landlady for many years at The Two Pointers in Woodlesford, Leeds. I have spoken before about the warm, comforting feeling I get from the smell of stale cigarette smoke and furniture polish. She was, like a lot of publicans a force to be reckoned with and a grafter. From the tales she used to tell me I got the impression that there were very few punters who frequented the pub that would have taken my Gran on.
As children me and my brother spent a lot of time in the pub. She only had one children’s film on VHS – Mary Poppins and it is down to my Gran that I have a love of Dick van Dyke and know every word to this film off by heart. It never seemed to occur to her that there may be other films out there we might like to watch and it never occurred to me to ask. We just loved Mary Poppins. It was probably this early introduction to Dick van Dyke that resulted in me missing all lectures at University which clashed with Diagnosis Murder.
There were many stories my Gran told me about her time in the pub but my all time favourite was about a lengthy game of eye spy with a regular. One night it had snowed really heavily so the pub was very quiet. My Gran was working the bar on her own and one of the regulars had come in and taken up his position sat at the bar in the tap room. To pass the time they decided to play a game of eye spy in between Gran serving the other drinkers who had ventured out that night. So the man said ‘eye spy with my little eye something beginning with t’. The game went on all night with my Gran pulling her hair out trying to guess the answer to no avail. The pub closed and Gran went off to bed trying to figure out what the item was so she could finish the game when the man, whose name has escaped me, was next in the pub. Several days later the man returned to the pub and took up his residency sat at the end of the bar. When she got the opportunity she said to the man that it had been driving her mad what it was that he had spied beginning with ‘t’ and that he must tell her the answer. The man replied – t’oven door.
During her time in the pub they managed to acquire an African grey parrot from a regular who had passed away. The parrot used to sit in his cage on the bar and swear and make jokes at the drinker’s expense. It always seemed like it would have been a pleasure to drink in her pub and that there was always something entertaining going on.
There seemed to be a lot of regulars who were in the Police and one was a Detective on the Yorkshire Ripper case. I remember Gran telling me how he had been in the night the Yorkshire Ripper had been caught by the police in Sheffield. He was noticeably out of sorts and confided in my Gran that the Ripper had been caught but how devastated he was that it had been by another force. I always got the impression that my Gran acted as counsellor and confidant to many of the regulars in the pub. When I started to drink in there in my late(ish) teens I was always greeted by people who couldn’t wait to tell me how much they loved my Gran and how the pub was so much better when her and my Grandad ran it.
So my Gran is gone and I now need to come to terms with a life without her in it and all the things she will miss. I will never forget the last things she said to me, that she loved me and that my girls were a credit to me. I am eternally thankful that I saw her so recently and have this memory. Goodbye Gran – I love you.