the Maggies (In reference to his beloved
me your tabs (nibbling on ears with false
off to Bingo
you asked me to recall my first memories of this man
I would struggle - perhaps some vague recollection of
seeing him when he and my grandmother would look after
me and my sister on the weekends/holiday periods whilst
we were at the childrens home. If you asked me to recall
my last memory of him that would be far clearer - of
this man laying in a hospital with pipes coming out
of his body and various machines around him - however
by that time he was dead. I can still recall going into
the hospital and seeing him lying on the slab - lifeless
and cold - it didn't seem real and for me this was perhaps
the first time I had to deal with the death of a close
family member and the whole memory still seems surreal.
terms of 'Darky's history (Darky was the name used by
all of those who knew him/were close to him) I still
know very little, other than he was born in the same
village he had lived in all of his life (Denton) and
that he and my grandmother were not only married for
many years (fifty years at least!) but that they enjoyed
a very happy and contented marriage (now how often can
you say that these days). He was a farmer and woked
tirelessly throughout his working life (Welby Estates)
and I can still recall him getting up for work at 4.00am
every morning (that I was there at least) without fail - before leaving he would
get the coal fire going and tidy the house, returning
home every lunchtime (again) without fail. He was without doubt
the most hard working, thoughtful and unselfish person
anyone could ever meet - quite simply the most decent
human being I have ever had the privelege to know.
have many fond memories of the time I spent with my
grandparents, and in specific relation to my grandfather
the following still remain.....
THE MAIN STREET HOUSE
Saturday he would go to bingo (without my nan of course).
I can remember his ritual....(i) take over the bathroom
and have a bath/shave, (ii) leave an opened pot of brill
cream in the bathroom and his comb on the sink and (iii)
present himself in the front room dressed in his best
suit, slicked back hair and a face full of hope that he would
return bearing (bingo) gifts. At the time he left I
am sure I would be watching some great Saturday night
television...the A-Team or something similar. As with
his work, this mans attendance to bingo was almost religious
- he attended without fail, and more often than not
he would return with some spoils. There were occasions
in which I would still be up upon his return (approximately
10.00pm) and looking back this was clearly his bit of
time, which amounted to what, three hours a week. The
rest of that time was spent doing things for others.
Other isolated memories are:
would like to take us all out for a ride in the car
- he would drive around the countryside (pretty slowly
as I recall) and he and my nan would point out various
landmarks. I used to love it, especially in the summer
when there were rolling green fields, winding country
roads and grazing cattle.
times - he would often do the cooking. Whilst that is
not strange in itself, I can remember that the starters
for their meals would always be yorkshire puddings (straight
cut) and gravy - followed as always by the main meal.
Irrespective of the day the Yorkshire pudding would
always precede the main meal.
the tabs - Okay this is going to sound strange I know.
My grandfather would 'bite the tabs' of his grandchildren
- that is he would (gently) bite the top of each ear
until the aforementioned grandchild said 'when' (which
indicated that had enough. Now I must emphasize the
fact that this was all done in humour - if I reported
it as happening now the poor man would be facing child
abuse charges. We would usually go through the tab biting
exercise if we (as grandchildren) wanted something and
he would start chattering his false teeth as he prepared
to administer the ritual. I have many fond memories
of this and would suggest that it was perhaps something
his grandfather had done to him as a child.
50 pence meter - yes in their Main Street house an electricity
metre was installed - there were many occasions in which
I can remember my grandfather lining up the fifties
for the meter.
changed for my grandad when he retired from work - with
his statutory retirement from the farm (which had been
his livlehood for many years) came the loss of the farm
house. He and my nan had to leave their spacious, extensive
stone farm house and move into a small bungalow on the
council estate (of which the only advantage was its
location within the same village). The onset of illness
further compounded the changes myself and others were
observing - over time the energy and enthusiasm
this man had for life ebbed away - a once healthy, active and
jovial man with a love for life became a frail and unhealthy
man who spent much of his time in his arm chair (all
too quickly). The
glint in his eye slowly dimmed, until eventually this
glint, along with his life, was extinguished.
I remember his funeral - of course. I made a speech
at it - shame I cannot remember the speech or its detail.
He is a man who had many friends and he was, and indeed
remains sorely missed. If there is a heaven, and I can
forget the cynicism and scientific beliefs I hold for just
a few minutes, I would hope that he is looking down
upon me, perhaps playing bingo, or enjoying the company
of my grandmother, of whom he was re-united with in
page is nothing other than a small tribute to a
man who gave everything to his family and did everything
he could for his family. RIP Darky.....