Favourite Sayings.....  

Up the Maggies (In reference to his beloved Notts County)

Bring me your tabs (nibbling on ears with false teeth!!)


Im off to Bingo

If 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.

In 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.

I have many fond memories of the time I spent with my grandparents, and in specific relation to my grandfather the following still remain.....


Every 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:

He 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.

Dinner 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.

Biting 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.

The 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.

Things 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.

Do 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 2011.

This 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.....

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