Family history

The things you find and learn when you’re clearing out the belongings of deceased relatives can be quite amazing. Just this morning I discovered that my grandfather, as unassuming a gent as you could meet, once saved a life while going about his job as a gas meter reader all the way back in 1972.

According to the letters he was checking meters down the road when he heard cries and discovered that a year old girl had drowned in a pond – he performed mouth-to-mouth and revived her before the ambulance arrived. Both the mother and the ambulance crew wrote to the gas company to praise my grandfather’s actions, which was the first the company knew of what he had done; he was commended by everyone, including the company, for what he did but he refused any publicity. That’s exactly the man I remember, the sort who just got on with things and didn’t want constant acknowledgment.

Thank you gan-gan for being who you were; you might be gone but you’re not forgotten.

A kinky little offering

I hope no-one will be offended by this but I stumbled across it amongst the various drawings and paintings done by my great-uncle – I had no idea he had done anything like this; it’s not the only one either, and was amused by it and thought I’d shared it.

I’m not sure when he painted it but he was in his 80’s when he died a couple of years ago and he painted throughout his life so this could be from any decade after the 1930’s, and may even have been a memory from his childhood, though I hope not.

Thankfully the majority of the drawings and paintings I have found so far as ordinary landscapes or of horses or something similar.


That time of life

This is going to sound a little dreary but it seems as though I’ve reached that time of life (40 is approaching with the speed of Usain Bolt) when family members start to pass on with a distressing regularity; I’ve had three leave for the next life (I don’t know what it might be but I hope it’s a nice place) in as many years.

Losing family is bad enough, but when they go you have to clear out their things, decide what needs to be kept, what you’d like to keep, and what should really have been gotten rid of many years ago. This is what I have been doing for the past week or so.

I came home from a few years away to settle down and get serious about my writing, hence this blog, to discover that the family home has become a haven for all the belongings of those family members who are no longer with us, and it seems as though my family is a group of pack rats, hoarders and collectors, so there’s more than you might imagine to sort out. A few of the things I’ve discovered in just the few days spent on the task so far include a book presented to my great-aunt in the 1930’s for perfect attendance at school, commemorative items from the queen’s coronation, a vast abundance of collectible cars and bears (my step-dad was a big collector), a small library’s worth of books, and a birth certificate dating back to 189- I’m not sure exactly because it’s hard to read.

Some of these, obviously are well worth keeping as mementos of people no longer with me, while others, like the charity shop books my great-uncle liked to buy but never read are not. Occasionally, however, you come across something really special, something that needs to be shared; among the items I’ve discovered is some of my great-uncle’s artwork – he was never famous as an artist but he was incredibly good.

He never made money off his paintings, that I know of, which focused mostly on landscapes, horses and WWII aircraft scenes (though I did discover a few more salacious pictures that he did, some of which could be considered artful and others which are a little kinky) but he did make a lot of money from his cartoons, which featured for many years in the national newspapers.

Since I’ve found these treasures, which I have to admit has given me great pleasure, I remember with fondness the hand painted Christmas cards I used to get as a child, I thought I would share some of them with you all. I hope you like them.

Please do let me know what you think, it would be nice to know that others think them as good as I do.


I’ve had to do a bit of editing to deal with my poor photography, I hope Roy won’t be upset, wherever he is.