Nantastic

My Nan’s younger sister passed away this week. Sad news which has made me reflect on the fact that I am incredibly fortunate at the age of 34 29 to still have my Nan in my life.

Therefore, this post is dedicated to my Great Auntie Peg, because I think she’d enjoy it and to my Nan, because she rocks.

***

My Nan, probably like a lot of grandmothers, is a wonderful contradictory combination of ridiculously supportive and absolutely cutting:

When she found out that I was planning on running the Brighton Marathon she was absolutely outraged to learn that I wouldn’t get a medal just for taking part and that I actually had to cross the finish line. “But what if you get too tired to finish? It’s a jolly long way.” she exclaimed.

When my sister had her first child, Nan told me that she always thought that I would be the one to have babies and it was a shame that it was too late for me now. I was 30.

When I told her, at the age of 32, that I had a new boyfriend a few years after splitting up with my husband, her relief was tangible. “Oh Jolene, I am so pleased. I definitely thought you were on the shelf.”

My childhood is filled with fabulous memories of my sister and I spending time with Nan and she always made everything such fun. Once we spent a whole afternoon polishing apples from the tree in her garden. I’m sure it would be considered unlawful child labour these days, but we loved it. Other times we’d play games, have tea in miniature cups and saucers with teddy bears, sing and dance. She spent a lot of time skipping. Skipping around the house, skipping in the garden, skipping with a skipping rope. Even now I expect her to skip to answer the door when I visit her; possibly an unrealistic expectation of an 89 year old.

Probably the most important lesson that I have learnt from my Nan is that biscuits solve everything.

Picture the scene:

It’s the late 1980’s, my sister and I are staying overnight with Nan. We have sleeping bags, hot chocolate and a pre-bedtime shortbread biscuit.

We’re allowed to stay up to watch Casualty before we go to bed. The highlight of the Saturday evening entertainment calendar. Accident roulette begins. Who will end up in hospital? The stressed looking Teacher arguing with his wife? The teenage mother boiling eggs for her young daughter? The Shop Assistant making plans to leave her husband and start a new life?

Charlie, Duffy and Megan bustle around doing medically things. A man is arrested. I’m confused, I don’t understand why, I decide to ask my Nan, and that’s when I utter the unforgettable phrase “Nanny, what’s kerb-crawling?”.

Silence.

I look over at her. Her eyes are fixed firmly on the television screen, perhaps she didn’t hear me. I ask again “Nanny, what’s kerb-crawling?”

Silence.

A few moments pass, my Nan stands up and walks out of the room. She returns with the biscuit tin and allows my sister and I to choose another pre-bedtime shortbread biscuit. An unprecedented situation. Two pre-bedtime shortbread biscuits? Unheard of.

I don’t ask the question again.

My Nan. Genius.

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