On Friday November 1st I lay my grandad to rest. He was buried with my Nan and for the second time in my life I have had to stand around that same open hole. That was hard. I wanted to say something at the funeral. I wasn’t sure what, but I did write what I wanted to say. In the end I didn’t say it. I couldn’t quite focus and so I just spoke what came to mind- probably better that way. It was honest and raw. But, I wanted to still share with people what I had originally written.
I’ve made some slight tweaks, as well as inserted a couple of appropriate videos.
I only once spoke to granddad about his funeral. This was years ago. More than a decade. He was still living with nan- and though they had their ups and downs- he did love her. I spent most of my life, at least my younger life with them. Nan and granddad.
Every other weekend, most Christmases, new years, then at 16 I moved in with them. Stayed with them till he moved out. They were more than grandparents. My birth father left when I was a baby. Paul came on the scene and was a bigger man than I will ever be- he took me on when he didn’t have to. Not something I could ever do and I will forever love him for that. And my mum who will do anything she can for her kids, even at her own cost and loss. Mum, I love you.
I remember on a Saturday night granddad would give me money for a can of Coke and a Mars bar- apparently he did that for mum too. A small gesture, but a tradition I remember.
I remember sitting in his front room, his own living room, and watching boxing. I hate sports but because of my granddad I like boxing. And snooker too. Because of him.
I remember every now and then sitting in the living room and him running a “film show”. Setting up his 8mm projector and watching film shows. I will always be a fan of the Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs is in the desert defending a castle against Yosemite Sam because of my granddad.
Here, have a look: WOAH CAMEL!
I remember going on holiday frequently- he was a caravaner. I remember towing the caravan to Hunstanton and putting up near there.
I remember when I was a child my first experience of theatre was with my granddad. He and Nan in Hunstanton took me to see Orville the Duck live.
Orville came on stage in this little car, afterward I got his autograph. I was a child. He was a puppet duck. I was clearly an idiot.
I remember when I lived with them and every Saturday night I’d go to the video shop- remember them?- and hire a film and I’d always ask granddad through to watch. He enjoyed wathing things with me- I never recall him saying he was a fan of sci fi but I remember sitting watching Star Trek: First Contact with him
I later learned he enjoyed our film nights.
So did I.
I remember his love of animals. He was a big supporter- one of his framed pictures on his wall was from an animal welfare charity thanking him for his support.
I remember when we went on holiday and we never left the caravan till after 1 because he had to have his full English breakfast, a wash and a shave.
He used to always show me the pictures of his life in theatre- maybe that is where my own love of theatre comes from.
I remember him trying to convince me that all children by law had to be baptised. Possibly my first step into the world of atheism!
I remember every Christmas he and nan would make the cakes. They worked together and made these beautiful cakes. It was like a military operation in the kitchen you couldn’t enter for hours- one false move and the cake wont rise properly.
I love mixing Earl Grey tea with Assam because I was introduced to that by my granddad.
Every Sunday he’d make a pot of tea to go with out sandwiches and cake for evening tea.
I remember his laugh. I remember his smile. I remember he smoked a pipe, always wore a suit, still listened to tapes. I remember his full head of hair. I really hope I have those genes.
But back to that time I spoke to him about his funeral. We sat down, one after noon- shortly after he’d fed the fish. Little fishy in a dishy he used to call them.
He told me that when he went he wanted a New Orleans style send off. Bands and music, partying and playing- now obviously that’s not something we can do in the UK. But I remember him saying he’d like that. I wish we had a way of doing it.
Grandad was an important part of my life, a big part. He was there throughout it, and always supportive. He loved telling stories- some of which were not entirely true- and he loved being centre of attention. His walk was more of a march and even as a young teen I had a struggle keeping up with him. Left right, left right, left right, left.
But no my granddad is gone. And all I have are my memories- and I am pleased that I have so many. That I can see how and where he impacted upon my life. If it were not for him I may well be a very different person today and for that I am thankful. Grandad, I love you and I always will.
I guess if we can’t have a full New Orleans send off then we can at least sign off here with something similar: