My Granny

I grew up with Nature. One of my favourite pasttimes as a youngster was to pick up rocks at the bottom of the garden to see what was living underneath. I still enjoy that now.

 

My Granny always encouraged me in my love of wildlife. She had a couple of wildlife ponds in the garden, and I was always happiest watching the tadpoles swimming about. I loved that time of year. I made a couple of wildlife ponds in my own back garden and one in the front this year. She would be happy about that.

 

We also used to collect the cabbage white caterpillars from her Nasturtiums, and put them in one of those tall plastic sweetie jars that she always had saved for me. We fed them until they turned in to cocoons, and released the butterflies.

 

I remember the plants she grew in her garden. I loved the Morning Glory. Such beautiful blue flowers that opened in the mornings. Even the closed ones were pretty.. All curled up and fluted like a long snail shell. There was Lemon Geranium. I really liked the smell of the leaves, I struggled for years to find any to grow in my garden, but managed it last year, I found a small pot in the shop at Fordhall Organic Farm. I recognised it straight away, and bought it immediately. It grew really well in my kitchen for a while, until it was too big for the window sill, and it is now in pride of place by my front door. I need to bring it in once the proper winter starts to protect it. It is very precious.

She had sweet peas growing outside the conservatory, they were delightful little pretty flowers, that still remind me of her. MrM calls Daisy ‘Sweet Pea’ sometimes, so I need to grow them in ub our garden for both of them.

 

Her conservatory was a little wonderland for me. For years it had little trays at floor level, with water and rocks in them. They were little homes for frogs. There was always someone hiding in one of them, and it was a source of great fascination for me to go and visit them. I always left them alone. I was taught a healthy respect for nature. I collected creatures to draw them, or study them, and then I always released them.

 

I remember she always used to have bird seed of various types in the little conservatory. It had tins with different seeds in, and we used to put them out for the birds. All the seeds of course attracted mice, and of course Granny encouraged them. She used to tell me to be quiet, and show me which the mice were living in.

 

She liked to cook too. I remember when we were young, she used to make rice crispy cakes with us in our kitchen when she visited, and as we got older, she made Apple Strudel with me, and Stollen. She was Austrian, from Vienna. I loved her Christmas decorations, and the traditional Austrian Christmas foods. Iced Gingerbreads, Liebkuchen etc. It still isn’t really Christmas for me without Stollen. She had a little carousel that went round and chimed when you lit tea light candles underneath it. I adored it. I need to find one, so that Daisy can be as enchanted as I always was with it.

 

There was a book she used to read to me regularly. It was Strufel Peter or Shock Headed Peter. It was about a little boy who was naughty, and what used to happen to him. She had it in German and English, which fascinated me. I ordered a copy from Amazon, but it wasn’t quite right. It was a weird version, which had prints of the pages in the middle of a bigger page. I will order the right copy to read to Daisy.

 

We used to sneak chocolate at the top of the stairs, while she was combing my hair. It was the Marks and Spencer layered chocolate, with Milk, White and Dark chocolate. It was like a naughty little secret. We shared a bar together.

 

I always loved the swing in her garden. It was a simple metal frame, and a wooden seat. It was right next to one of her ivy covered bird tables. It was surrounded by hedging. It was so much better than any other swing. It was just great. You could almost imagine that you were a fairy, flying around in your little wonderland.

 

Her garden was split in to two halves, with a fence in the middle. It had a compost heap and a rhubarb patch in the back. It was always magical. Looking back, there wasn’t anything particularly special about it, but it always seemed so amazing to me.

 

Another plant that always reminds me of her is called Honesty. I don’t know the proper name for it, which means I may struggle to buy/order it, but it is quite distinctive, with seed pods that look like oval paper stuck together with dark round seeds in between. That always grew in her garden.

 

For me, time spent at Granny’s house was time spent amongst nature. There were always animals to see, plants to inspect, and whatever little dog she had at the time to play with.

Thumper was the first one I remember, a Yorkshire Terrier. He came with her when she stayed with her, and I remember a photo of him in a wooden crate bed with our cat, Tip. Then there was Thomas. He was also a Yorkie, and was more grumpy with other people than Thumper was. He came round eventually. Then there seemed to be ages without a dog, and then she got Spencer. He was a rescue, and is a Schnauzer x Poodle. He is overly friendly, and likes to lick a lot. She always was a dog person. She didn’t like cats as much, as she encouraged the birds in to her garden.
I remember once I got a Dalmatian toy dog from her for a birthday, or Christmas. She took me to a pet shop so I could buy it a collar and a lead. I loved that dog. It had a plain white belly, and I felt sad that it didn’t have any spots there, so I got a marker pen and drew some on. She always used to use marker pens to write addresses on parcels too. A random memory, but something I started doing.

 

It was always good times at Granny’s house. There are a lot of memories to look back on, both inside and outside the house. Tea in the Church in Hereford, and walking through town. I will always remember a lot of these things. Magic times in the garden, adventures with the frogs, and watching a whole underwater civilisation going on with it’s business in her ponds. These are things I hope to pass on to Daisy.

 

Named Daisy Faith – Faith being Granny’s Maiden name.

The last two weeks or so…

This last couple of weeks have been very up and down for me.

I took two weeks off work as it was my beautiful Daughter’s first birthday. I needed a lot of time to bake and get ready for her Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. I was planning on baking all sorts of goodies, we had invited around 40 people, but did not expect all to come.

 

Her birthday was on the Thursday, and we had a lovely day together. We opened some presents, ate chocolate birthday cake, played with her new toys and generally just hung out together.

The next morning, she went to the childminders, so I could spend the whole day baking in preparation for the party on the Sunday.

 

Then on Friday morning I get a phone call from my Dad. My Granny passed away during the night. I was devastated, But had a lot to do! I was quite close to my Granny as I grew up, I used to stay with her during the school holidays and talk to her on the phone. I missed her, as I had moved away, and still don’t drive, so I didn’t get to see her very much. She had known I got married, but at that stage didn’t really leave the house much, so wasn’t able to come.

She had met Daisy a couple of times, but was already bedridden.

 

So it wasn’t entirely unexpected, she looked awful the last time I saw her. it was almost a relief that she had gone, as I hated seeing her in such a bad way. But that is it now. She is gone.

 

I had to crack on with Daisy’s birthday party. I baked Fondant Fancies, Bug shaped cakes and cookies…  Most of my bug cakes failed. My heart wasn’t in it. But I had to keep going.

 

I panicked.. There were a lot of people coming, expecting cakes and cookies and sandwiches. I told a couple of people that I didn’t know if there was going to be enough food.. and bless them all, they all brought something they made. I had extra cupcakes, carrot cakes, decorated bisciuts, all sorts. There was more than enough food. There was Roast Beef and Smoked chicken that we had cooked the day before, made up in to sandwiches and rolls, and my fondant fancies came out fine..  Custard Cream Daisies, the family recipe chocolate cake made up in to cupcakes, and even a few Almond Bug Cakes!

I spent most of the party opening presents with Daisy. She was given so much stuff I was overwhelmed! She had a great time, running around with people and having lots of cuddles and attention.

 

The next week, it was my birthday. I wasn’t particularly bothered, I never was before..  But this year, I had put so much energy in to Daisy’s birthday, I wanted to just have a day off with her.

 

I got a message a few days before from a friend to say that she was taking me out for a pub dinner, her treat. So I accepted..  Even though by this point, I was feeling really run down, tired out and full of cold! I almost backed out on her. After all, it was only the two of us, going out to the pub…  Except for the day before, MrM passed me his phone, asking me to have a look at a badly designed website, which didn’t show how to buy the item it was showing..

I had been talking on my phone to another friend, about how I was being dragged out for my birthday, otherwise I wouldn’t be celebrating, as I wasn’t that bothered..

 

She took a screen shot of our conversation, and pasted it on Facebook.. in a secret group. Which MrM was a part of. So while I was looking at this website.. A message popped up on the notification bar…  X has posted in Sami’s Secret Birthday Meal !   Oops.

 

So it looked like I had to go!

 

I admitted it to her when she came to pick me up, that I knew what was going on…  They had managed to keep it secret for about a month, so fair play ro them for that!

 

So now it is the day of the funeral, A sad occasion, but I was told (and I agree) mourning clothes are not necessary. So I am wearing a pale coloured top with multicoloured butterflies on it. I always did love looking in Butterfly books with Granny. We loved wildlife. She used to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary, helping wild birds, Hedgehogs etc. She loved Hedgehogs and frogs. So we always bought her Hedgehog gifts for Christmas and Birthdays.

Daisy is going to be wearing a yellow dress with a Daisy on it. Bright and cheerful. Granny would have liked that. Funerals are so depressing. This will be a simple service, with just one Hymn.. All Things Bright and Beautiful.

Today will be a day of seeing family, the children seeing family members that they don’t see very often, and them seeing the little ones. It needs to be a positive day.

 

 

Added Post Funeral:

It was nice to see family again, I don’t get to see them often. I miss them all a lot.

The service was lovely, nice and simple. Punctuated with Daisy saying “Ba ba ba ba” a lot, which was a good amusement for people. Rather than people be offended by there being a babbling baby, it helped take the edge off such a sad day. It made people smile.

At one point, being frustrated by me keeping hold of her, she did start to whinge a bit, so I just fed her. Breastfeeding during a funeral service is probably one of the most random things I have done, but needs must, and it helped chill Daisy out. It also gave my brother a laugh.

 

We went to a Cricket Club type place afterwards for a buffet. A few people came, and Daisy got to run around with her cousin who is only 2 months older than her, which was nice.

She enjoys playing with other babies, and they were sharing a drink, passing it back and forth between them, which was lovely to see. I hope she gets to see him more, as family is very important to me, even more so now I have started one of my own.

 

We went back to Granny’s house, to pick up my Dad’s dog Poppy before taking him home. There was a set of Silver hair brushes and dressing table items that Granny had always said I would have one day. Today turned out to be that day. We are on our way home now, and they are in the boot. I am going to wrap them in tissue, and store them safely away until such time as I have a dressing table of my own, and somewhere safe to display them. I have always loved them, and they are so precious. I may even get one of those slimline display cabinets from Ikea and put them in pride of place in there. I would love to display them, they need to be appreciated, not hidden away. But for now, until I have somewhere safe, they need to be protected. <3