I was lucky enough to have both my grandparents, on my dad’s side, in my life until quite recently. Both were clever, creative and inspiring people.
My granny lived into her ripe old nineties and died only a few years ago after a stroke. My grandfather died the same year. She wasn’t a fluffy, cuddly little old granny. She was strong, outspoken and she could be a little harsh at times. Her mind was as sharp as a tack, and she was often very funny.
She and my grandfather kept each other going as they grew old and became more and more crumbly. They did the Times cryptic crossword together every day of their lives and I suspect that they considered each other to be the only truly sensible company there was. They had three children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren (so far). He was a farmer but also a linguist, a wordsmith and a published writer.
As well as being a wife, a mother and a grandmother, Granny was also an artist. She painted, and she was prolific. Her oil paintings are in all of our homes. Mostly they were fabulous, colourful still lifes of extravagant, almost unbelievable flower arrangements. Some were a little more surreal, but her best paintings were the flowers. She also took up glass engraving, and would decorate furniture and plates. She painted a mural of the whole family (up to and including grandchildren, one of which was pictured parachuting in from the sky – a late arrival you see) which took her years.
I guess that you could say that Granny liked to add a flourish to things.
What I find so inspiring about my Granny, was not just that she was so artistic, prolific or talented, but that she really got started around about the age that I am now: in her early forties. She went on to paint, engrave and otherwise add her flourish to the world for a further forty years and more.
Having only just recently embarked on motherhood, and a new life in Spain, I often wonder what it is that I will ‘do’ now that I am ‘grown up’. It is in these moments I find that my Granny is an inspiration.
Who is your inspiration? And what will you do now that you are ‘grown up’? Perhaps you are already doing it…