This blog entry is not written under some ruse or pretext to sell the painting you see pictured below (named 'Remember The Poppy'). The painting has actually already been sold to a lovely lady who I have much admiration for. But I digress. The reason I write this blog entry is to tell you whom and what I was thinking about as I painted it.
I would like to share with you some memories of my Grandad, he's the person in the forefront of my mind as I painted. I've never written these memories down before now, but I just felt the need to share them with you all.
I've been thinking a lot about my Grandad of late. He passed away in 1982 aged 84 (I was only 12 at the time) and I still miss him a lot. I suppose that's why upon meeting my ex husband's Grandad back in 1986, I took him to my heart until his Grandson and I divorced under difficult circumstances, the same way as I've taken my husband's Grandad to my heart now.
The reason I think of my Grandad more this time of year is that it's Rememberance Day in November and my lovely sweet Grandad fought for his country is World War I. He never spoke nor would he speak of his time during the war even when directly asked. I do not know what happened to him in detail except that we have a diary of his that briefly tells us he was sent to a convalescence home in France to recover, from what, is not exactly clear. My Dad still possesses the hand grenade (not live obviously) that his Dad had given to him. A precious momento of a time when men really understood the meaning of hardship and horror.
What I remember about my Grandad growing up is his smile, how he used to doze with his mouth open (my Dad does that now :-)) and how he always had time for me. I spent many hours with my Grandparents when my mum had to work and I have to admit that my Grandad was always my favourite.
I remember how he used bend over the fire building it up with screwed up newspaper, firelighters and coal. He'd retired from working down the coal mines by then and even now the smell of firelighters and coal burning in our fire make me think of him.
I also remember him making me bread pudding one day. I'd never tasted it before and unfortunately I hated it but I ate it just the same because I didn't want to upset my Grandad.
There were two chairs in my Grandparents' living room, one for my Grandma on the left and one for my Grandad on the right and I used to sit on the floor in the middle of them. My Grandad would be forever squeezing my hand until I'd try to wriggle free, both of us laughing.
There's another smell that immediately will make his smiling happy face appear before me, the smell of pipe tobacco. I used to watch him filling up his pipe with his index finger, light his match, puff away until the tobacco was lit properly and it made big clouds of smoke bellow into the room and up to the ceiling. I know you may find this strange but that smell is just beautiful to me.
The sideboard in their living room was always full of trinkets, papers and other bits and pieces. But as a kid, the item I remember the most was that my Grandad would always have cough candy in a white paper bag in there for me. For those that don't know what cough candy is, it's a sugary sweet, normally cubed in shape but with a taste that is totally unique. It was so bizarre that when I was pregnant with my first son in 1994/1995, my pregnancy craving was for cough candy. I couldn't eat enough of the stuff, kilos at a time :-)
I also remember my Grandad's health suddenly declining. He was only in hospital for about two weeks before he passed away. I went to see him in hospital and the last words I heard him utter were to the nurse when she tried to give him some horlicks "Gi o'er wi't bloody horlicks" he said in his broad Athertonian accent (Atherton is in the North West of England for those that don't know). He made me chuckle at the time. I didn't realise at that point it would be last time I would ever see him or hear him speak.
I was devastated when he died and my mum and dad wouldn't let me attend his funeral, they thought I was too young. It took me a long time to get over it and I often would wish he would appear to me in the afterlife, just to let me know he was okay. Unfortunately that didn't happen until recently when I met with a Medium for the first time in my life. He didn't come through strongly, the Medium didn't say what I wanted her to say, but she did say things that meant I knew he was there and he was still the quiet charming man he had been in life.
Bless you Grandad. You will always be loved and never be forgotten.
Member since: 17th May 2012
Joint Director of our company GWR Fasteners Limited based at Weston Farm, Oswestry. Also successful impressionist artist at Art By Jude