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Granddad

Two weekends ago my brother and I went down to Somerset to visit my Granddad (my Dad's dad). We hadn't seen him in something like 15 years due to various reasons that I'm not going into, and we were both quite nervous about how it was all going to go. But thankfully the day went really well.

First of all we went to our Auntie Anne and Uncle Chris's house for lunch and to have a quick catch up, it was amazing how the house looked pretty similar to how I remembered it but the garden had completely changed! We had a look through some photos, there were some of Dad and some of us as kids that I hadn't ever seen (some of which were really embarrassing!) and some really nice ones. There's one of me as a boy where I look exactly like Nicky does now, apart from being slightly more Chinese. I've got scans of some of them, but hopefully next time we go down I can get a few more.

After lunch we went to see Granddad. I had been really nervous about how he would react to us but he was really happy to see us, I even thought he was going to cry at one point. He then spoke for a while about Dad's childhood, lots of things that I'd never known before and need to record here so that I remember them.

Dad was born to a family of travellers from near Southampton, and had been abandoned twice before he was six months old, one of those times he was just left on a beach. At the time, my Granny and Granddad ran a children's home called Abbey Wells, and wanted to take in a baby to show the children there what looking after a baby would entail. So Dad became part of the family, to the extent that when he was 5 he was formally adopted by Granny and Granddad. Granddad told us of one time before the adoption where they had taken a family holiday but left Dad at the home, and that when they came back all the progress they had made with Dad had taken a few steps back.

Granddad told us of a story about Dad and a friend seeing a bike being left outside a shop or house, and they decided to take it and ride it around a field. When they had done this for a while Dad's friend wanted to just leave the bike where it was, but Dad wanted to take it back to where they had found it - consequently this led to him being caught and getting into trouble, even though his heart had been in the right place.

There was another story of Dad in school - one of his classmates had got into trouble even though it hadn't been their fault, and Dad had told the teacher they shouldn't have been so hard on his classmate because she didn't deserve it!

Dad had trained to be a fireman, but I believe he had been misinformed about the school he went to which was for training officers rather than normal firemen, so Dad wasn't able to progress, even though one of the teachers there really wanted to keep him. Dad also had an accident with a ladder and hurt his back which also put paid to this career. At this point Dad started training to be a mental health nurse, which is where he met Mum.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something here! But that's all I can recall for now.

Hopefully we can go and visit Granddad again soon, as we were told after that he had more to tell us but as he's 93 it can take a while to remember things! I think it has really helped me and Jonathan though with coping with Dad's death, it's obviously still hard to deal with at times but things seem easier now, and it's great to be back in contact with our extended family.

Here's a picture of me with Granddad:


After we left Granddad's home we went back to Auntie Anne's, and each took a piece of Granny's pottery that she had made after she had retired. I've got a plate which I need to find space for in my office, out of Nicky's reach! We then left for home, via a quick stop in Wells to light some candles in the cathedral and visit the fudge shop on the corner which is still going strong!

Just so that I remember, Granny was cremated at Haycombe Crematorium near Bath, and there is a plaque there that I'd like to go and visit one day.

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