The woman who started it all

There’s a woman who lives in Derby. She’s 87, has five children and is extremely kind. She’s also rather funny and far too generous for her own good.

Her name is Nana, or Anita if you want to get all formal.

One of my earliest memories is receiving a present. I was about two and a half and this present was pretty much the most amazing present I could have ever imagined. It was a huge doll called Lucy, which Nana had lugged on the train all the way from Derby to Bristol. I still have her now (although she has a little less hair after I decided to practice my hairdressing skills on her as a teenager).

When we were little we used to go to North Wales on holiday. We’d stay in Nana and Dada’s caravan. The whole family would be there, aunties, uncles and cousins, all squeezed into the caravan. And Nana would be at the helm, cooking the fry-up to end all fry-ups, finding a plaster for a scrazed knee, or just sitting and reading a story to us. And always with a naughty sense of humour and a smile on her face.

She baked for England. Lancashire Lemon Fingers were my personal favourites, but she could whip up a mean chocolate torte too. You could never go to Nana’s without getting fed to within an inch of your life.

But a few years ago, my Nana lost someone. He was her companion of sixty odd years and a constant source of irritation and amusement for her. She loved him dearly.

I still miss Dada terribly. I miss how he used to have the telly turned up so loud you could hear it from the end of the garden. I miss his, “What’s for pudding ‘Neet?” as soon as the main course was placed in front of him. I miss how he thought he was being subtle smoking a cigar in the garden, when you could clearly see the smoke curling up from behind the greenhouse – he was fooling nobody.

Since Dada has gone Nana has had a hard time. She has loving family all around her, with her youngest daughter and family just over the road. But she misses Dada. It makes her confused. She forgets words now. She recently gave up baking. She has no one to look after any more. No one to scold or deliberately wind up by saying words like “Bugger”. The house is quiet.

So I was desperately pleased to have Nana there on my wedding day recently. She looked marvelous in a hat and fancy jacket. Just like me, she wore a dress made by her daughter, my mother. She laughed and ate and cried and laughed some more.

It was her 87th birthday on that day. And I clearly remember looking at her after I’d given her some birthday flowers and thinking, blimey, if I have half as much to show for my life when I get to 87 I will be a very happy woman. Five children, ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren. And wives, husbands and partners to boot. That’s some family. All because of Nana.

She started it all. We wouldn’t be here without her…

The woman who started it all, Nana


This is my entry for this week’s Gallery, where the theme is Faces. Head over to Sticky Fingers to see the rest.



Filed under Family

42 responses to “The woman who started it all

  1. Beautiful, she sounds like an amazing lady and a fantastic Nana. If my grandchildren can say such lovely things about me I will be very happy. xx

  2. Ahhh… that’s so lovely x

  3. Expat Mammy

    What an amazing post & an amazing woman.x

  4. What a wonderful post. The whole trying to hide the fact he was smoking very badly thing reminded me of my grandad! You used to be able to tell where he’d been sitting because of all the crumbs left behind! My nan was lost when he passed. There’d been companions for over 60 years as well. I still miss them both dreadfully now. X

  5. She looks lovely. And can I have one her lemon fingers?

  6. What a beautiful post x

  7. A wonderful tribute. That photo is priceless. I’ll get @cosmicgirlie (Jay Mountford) to have a look. Wonderful.

  8. Nana, seems like a great lady…x

  9. Pardon me while I dab my eyes . . . dust, you know . . .

    Lovely. I love reading about her, and your gratitude for her. ♥

  10. You made me cry, how lovely xx

  11. Pingback: TheBoyAndMe · The Gallery: Faces

  12. What a lovely post- I have the upmost respect and love for my Grandma- she is an amazing woman and your Nana sounds like an incredible woman also.

    That photo is absolutely amazing. I feel a little teary after reading this.


  13. Such a warm and loving tribute to your wonderful nana. Brilliant for this weeks gallery x

  14. She looks like the kind of woman who could just make it all better with a cuddle and a cup of tea x

  15. Caroline

    Just beautiful.

  16. I’m trying to swallow back tears. This is my favourite gallery this week, and in a long time.

    Such love and adoration. Thank you for sharing

  17. That’s lovely – such a great life, and lovely to have family around her. So glad she is appreciated

  18. Thank you, I love photos of older people, where you can see the imprint of life. I can also sympathise with dada and the pudding thing!!

  19. granny from the north

    You take after her, clearly XX

  20. Helly

    A very touching blog and close to my heart as Nana is my Nana too :0)
    I am not entirely sure what my first memory is but I do remember playing endless games of cards with Nana and the game frustration, baking, going shopping in Nana’s cupboards with the tea trolley at their house. Walking the two labradors Henry and then Jack with both Nana and Dada. Superb holidays with the family.
    Nana said at her 80th birthday party that she was so very proud of her and Dada’s achievement in bringing up such a lovely family who are all very close.


  21. This is a beautiful post for what sounds like a beautiful person. Great photo too.

  22. Beautiful Molly,

    I lost my grandparents a long time ago and still miss them all.

    enjoy x x

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