Showing posts with label Granny. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Granny. Show all posts

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes...*

We run outside in bare feet with a ball and a lot of wide open smiles and excited laughter. Slightly long grass, slightly long shadows, slightly damp underfoot. Slightly warm evening. Intense smells. Perfect. My three children and me.

It has been a month of tears and stress and tense shoulders. Of swollen tongues and aching throats from decisions that were impossible to make alone. Of resentments and regrets and clunky pain that made my body feel like a bag of clanking rusting spanners.

A month of "I don't wanna". And that was just from me.

There are so many tangled emotions when it comes to family choices and choices over what do do with our family. Not least of all guilt and worry. Anger and sadness play a big part for me too.

And my poor kids really take the brunt of my out of sortsness.

I have really really really tried to shield them from all of my worry. But there has undoubtedly been a cloud. A scratchiness. An atmosphere. A treading on eggshells kind of vibe. Don't make Mummy cross.

I know it, I can feel it too. And even though I feel a desperate guilt, even though I hate myself when I look in and feel wretched that my moods affect them, I have felt powerless to prevent it.

And then, when I feel like I am truly going to break -  when I feel like I am just going to run away and leave it all - who to, I am not sure - something happens.

A barometer shift?

A pendulum swing?

The wind moving from hot northerly to cooling southerly?

The sun breaking through clouds?

Ice cracking and silk smoothing.

And I gather them up, to redeem myself in their eyes and in my own.

We run outside in bare feet with a ball and a lot of wide open smiles. Slightly long grass, slightly long shadows, slightly damp underfoot. Slightly warm evening. Intense smells. Perfect. My three children and me.

And as always, a butterfly appears. He is probably always there. But he catches my vision. I stop. I stop being a cranky bitch. And breath. And look upon my children and run with them and play ball with them and laugh with them. And hold them close. And remind myself that when shit stinks, and when the going is rough, that when I stop and do what is right, this butterfly always appears as a stamp of approval.

I do not know if these butterflies are reincarnations of my Dad or my late brother. My brother, I suspect. But I am glad that they appear. After the fact, to remind me that when I get my head out of my own misery, that it will all be OK.

Do you get "signs" like this, ever?

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* Lyrics from the brilliant Ace of Base. ♥ that song.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The best thing since sliced bread...

My Dad's Mum, my Granny, Phylis, was known to all of her ten grandchildren as "Barnham Granny"

She was an amazingly resourceful cook. My cousin Kate & I both strain with guarded but keen desire for her old handwritten recipe notes. They speak of how to create peppermint creams within the confines of the rationing that became her commonplace in World War II. My aunt used to tell me of tuck boxes sent to her at boarding school, filled with sweets, made from complicated substitutions of cornflour, essence and glycerine.

My Granny lived in a toll cottage, on Lake Lane, in a tiny Sussex village called Barnham. She and my Grandpa retired there, and lived opposite a bakery - Holt's bakery. (Which has since been demolished and turned into townhouses. Such is life.)

She was a strong woman.By the time I came along, nearly the last grandchild, she had aged and mellowed. My fondness for her was, quite simply, beyond measure. She had a grin that warmed the whole world. My perpetual memories of her were her beautiful voice, her huge bust and the cigarette the was her constant companion. She was a coffee afficionado. Of her and her gurgling coffee machine, and her laugh: I was so fond. With her red hair and her cuddles and her protection, I was so comfortable.

She smelled so good. Of baking, of tea rose, of cigarettes, of coffee. She was strong and tough and gentle and simple and sophisticated all in one hit of loveliness. I search for photos of her - the snaps never do justice to her persona, at all.

But due to the nature of her proximinity to the bakery, her bread baking days were done! She could concentrate on less arduous baking; and quicker treats, often with me at her side. She taught me so much.

She served tea. High teas. Jam tarts, and scones. Fruit cakes and iced fancies - sugar & butter and eggs and fruit in the 1970's were a long way from rationing, and she made the most of it! And sandwiches, made from bread from the local bakery across the lane.

Always at the dining table, we would wait for her to slice extra bread. A whole fresh loaf. A 2lb loaf, no less, to entertain her grandchildren.

And she would hold that bread under her arm like a baby, against her bust, and slice the most perfect thin slices. No squashed crumb. She evidently had had years of practice to get the tension and pressure just right. Never a nick or a cut, and certainly she never caught her cardy or her pinny strings with the end of the knife.

Just perfect slices of easy bread.

I miss her.

She was the best thing since sliced bread.

AND, all that said, I have a winner for last weeks bread baking giveaway....this was kindly sponsored by Brad Russell and the team at Kitchenware Direct - thank you!

Kell from Mad Mummas Sweet Randoms

Thanks to everyone that entered, and Kell, could you please email me with your postal address please?

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PS That image up there? Of my Granny's cottage? I managed to get that by going to Google Maps and moving up and down the lane until I spotted the house. A house I have not been to for thirty years, but I knew each curve of the road and spied it easily. How cool is modern technology?!

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Me & Peggy in about 2000. She was pretty, I was so fat.

My granny would have been 100 today.

She was born on the 19th November 1911. 19.11.1911

It's her birthday. I wish she was here to get a telegram from the Queen.

I wish she were here so I could pop in and have a chat.

I still think of her every single day. She was so pretty. She had the softest peachiest skin.

She was a nag, in a way that I realise annoyed me intensely because she was often so right.

She peppers my thoughts in such a good way.

Granny, I miss you.

I hope you look down on us and smile.

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* Fiona - if you are reading, I know you miss her too. xxx

Saturday, 21 August 2010


You may have heard me make mention of my Granny before.

She was an amazing woman, and my hero.

Peggy, I miss you every single day.

She and I would laugh, a lot, together. Like naughty school girls. Despite the fact that she was born in 1911, and I was born in 1969, we were so close. Like two peas in a pod. And we giggled, a lot, together.

One thing that made me chuckle throughout my childhood, and the memory of it makes me smile even now, was "pink meat".

It was a staple saturday night dinner at my Granny's house.

"What's for supper, Granny?"

"Pink meat, and good enough for you"

It is a staple dinner in our house now. Exactly the same.

Each and every time I dish it up, with its mashed potatoes and carrots & cabbage, my children call it "pink meat" too.

(I hope, really hope so much, Granny, that you look down upon us, and smile?)

Corned Silverside
1.5kg peice of corned silverside, rinsed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 stick of clelery, chopped into big chunks
1 bayleaf
10 peppercorns
10 whole cloves
1 small onion, halved
1/2 cup vinegar

  • Slap the whole lot into a slow cooker/crock pot and cover with cold water

  • Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours

  • Remove the meat from the water. Rinse in hot water. Allow to rest for 30 mins, wrapped in foil before carving into slices.

  • Serve with steamed carrots, steamed cabbage, mashed potatoes and parsley sauce.
 Tell me, do you have old fashioned family favourite meals like this?
Share with me?