Beauty in the Ordinary

This is not about being brilliant, or extraordinary, it's not about wanting to be famous, or making headlines, or trying to impress...this about sharing a 'gift' each day with the lift the spirit of people when they read this blog, to show them the beauty in the ordinary.
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." Raold Dahl

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


this morning has me reminiscing about my grandparents
and trying to remember what I knew about them.

Mum's mum, Jessica (pictured here with my Uncle Lindsay)
was crippled with rheumetoid arthritis by the time I entered life.
I never saw this woman stand and she died when I was quite young.
The thing I remember most was the carved-wooden backscratcher that used to hang on her wheelchair.  It was long with a curved hand at one end.  
I think I've had nightmares about that thing.

This is Mum's dad, Sydney.  He used to scare me.  Although smiling in this photo, I truly have no memory of ever seeing him smile!
He was a train driver.  Even though he and Jessica were only children they raised 12 children of their own.
His house always smelled of cucumber sandwiches and he had a beautiful
mantle clock that would chime every quarter-hour.

My dad's family lived a whopping three-hour drive away from us
on Canvey Island.  They were made homeless during the flood of 1953, along with my aunt and uncles, and my parents.
My grandparents, Uncle Terry, Uncle Phil and Aunty Betty returned to re-build. My parents moved to Southampton.

  Visiting them was always an expedition. Dad would throw us all in the car and we would be off to Nanny and Grandad's driving through the Blackwall Tunnel where Dad would tell us all to duck our heads in case the river above came down as we drove through at top-speed.

This is Dad's dad, was only recently I found
out his first name was Nelson.
He lost half of his index finger of his right hand in some machine-related
accident and it would fascinate me to watch him roll his cigarettes with the
stump of that finger.
He always brought us grandkids chocolates when we came to visit.  I don't
remember much else about him, but I have nice feelings of those memories.

And last, but certainly not least is Dad's mum May.
She probably wasn't more that 5 feet tall, but
no one messed with May.  I can still hear her
yelling "Vic...where the hell are you?"  in her strong cockney accent.

She taught me the children's poem:

"Little fly upon the wall,
Ain't you got no clothes at all?
Ain't you got no shimmy-shirt?
Ain't you got no coat and skirt?
Ain't you bloomin' cold?"

I remember going winkling with Nanny on the windy beaches of Canvey Island,

and early morning breakfasts of eggs and bacon and trenchers of the toasted bread we had just fetched from the bakery.  She had a rough way of handling you, as if the only way to show you her love was to make you almost cry.

She was only in her sixties when she died, just the year after my Dad
passed away.

All relationships are important, they form the colours in the tapestry of our lives, so no matter how brief, no matter how few memories, I cherish what I do have of each of these relationships with my grandparents.


  1. Sadly I knew none of my grandparents. But on reading your memories, it just makes me wonder if my grandsons will speak kindly of me when I'm gone..... I do hope so.

  2. What a lovely post ! enjoyed reading about your childhood memories- funny the little things that remain with you-isn`t it ?

  3. Leave them your blog Cro...they will adore you.
    Thanks Janet...yes, it's certainly strange what we remember and what we forget.

  4. I enjoyed this post, Jacqueline! Like you, I recall and enjoy those little snippets of family memories. :)
    Wishing you a lovely day,

  5. What an unforgettable post. The memories we carry are wonderful, aren't they? You and your sister are so lucky to have one another, it's neat that you share a blog. I've always wanted a sister, however, have to say, my three brothers are the best!

    Happy Spring~


  6. love that first photo...she looks ill but rather serene..

    one of your best posts j

  7. I loved your blog post J and all the pictures of your family. So interesting! I can only remember my grandfather! He used to wear a battered old brown trilby and he grew the most fantastic chrysanthemums and lilies in his garden. I can still breathe in the fragrance of them now which is probably why I have this inherent love of plants!

  8. Thanks everyone.
    Arthritis is a wicked disease. You can see how badly deformed Jessica's hands were her feet, spine, hips and ultimatley even her jaw. Thankfully only one of her daughters, my Aunt Delphine, seemed to inherit the gene.
    From stories, not direct experience, I heard tell Sydney was a bit of a gardener himself...wish he had passed that along first-hand.
    Funny old thing, families, eh?

  9. When I peruse pictures of families, I wonder at their resourcefulness, their huge capacity for getting everything done, and their unselfish acceptance of the old and young and in the middle into their homes. We are too spoiled today. We could not accomplish what they did and we could not work or laugh or love or compromise the way they did. Beautiful pictures!

  10. I'm glad I found you through Twisted Knickers... I wish I still had my sister .. this is a lovely post...

  11. I think you maybe right MT.
    Welcome Jane...nice to have you here.

  12. These memories you have of your grandparents J, are the best kind, they might not be many, but they truly are little glimpses into their personalities, and such a treasure.
    Both of my USA grandparents passed away when I was very young (4 & 6) and my German grandparents, well, they were in Germany, so my memories also fall into the tidbit catagory, but they are mostly very nice none the less and warm my heart greatly.
    Thank you for sharing've brought back some sweet memories!
    xo J~

  13. Jacqueline, so much is being done for RA today that your gran could benefit from. I am so sorry she had it. I know about it because I have had it for a while but it is managed well and I take a chemotherapy for it on mondays that stops the progression of the disease. The photos of the flood and your family are remarkable.

  14. happy you have good memories too.
    Olive...I had no idea my darling...wishing you lots of sweet healing.

  15. Jacqueline thanks, I am fine. I really do not think about it much. I exercise and take good care of myself. I refuse to let it take over my life and I have the best doctors. ♥O


Go on...make my day...

Related Posts with Thumbnails