My grandma used to knit. She could (sort of) knit anything.
Scarves. Cardigans. Jumpers. She mainly was also a bit shit at knitting. Nothing turned out quite right. Nothing quite to plan.
One of my favourites from Grandma’s early collection was a jumper where the sleeves were mainly different lengths not because she was a huge fan of the high low sleeve fashion but because she ran out of wool so she simply stopped the final sleeve at a good three quarter length. While the other sleeve mainly hung over my finger nails. (Picture demonstrating good sleeve)
We grew up with Grandma being the beating heart of our rather large family. Family gatherings where dinners were served on all sorts of tables to accommodate three sons, their wives, the daughter, her husband and her seventy billion grand children – my cousins.
Many a family tradition started in that house in Clayton.
Bacon and tomatoes being one of the many. But not just any bacon and tomatoes – it also HAD be accompanied by bread dipped in the bacon fat from under the grill. Traditions were born and the family knitted together under those traditions like my grandma knitted a half sweater.
Traditions of families coming together and then as you grow older you knit together your own new traditions and the older traditions ebb and flow but the need to dip bacon in the bacon fat remains the same. Nostalgia and fond memories remained as the families grew, more smalls arrived and we lost older members of our clan.
In our family a new tradition was born several years ago when my Uncle Tommy, my mum’s brother, went to sit on his cloud.
My Aunty Glenys or Aunty G as she became known became part of the fabric of our lives, a more permanent fixture. She came to Christmas shows of the smalls (no idea why anyone would volunteer to do this), she knitted her own dolls for my smalls, she walked the stupid dog and my mum and Aunty G started a new tradition.
Every Friday my mum would go over to her house and pick her up and they’d go off on a trip.
It was a bit Thelma and Louise meets the Golden Girls. Well more Thelma and Louise on zimmer frames. Thelma and Louise going large in a Ford Focus with some wine gums. With some ventolin and frequent stops at garden centres to go crazy over some hanging baskets.
The trips might involve a hospital appointment where they’d tear it up down the corridors, a march round the Trafford Centre or even a drive over to Knutsford and a mooch round the shops. Miles and miles covered across the north west as they discovered friendship, fun and freedom on that M62.
Every Friday come rain or shine, Thelma and Louise claimed their own mini adventures. And in recent months their very own Brad Pitt (aka my dad) was occasionally allowed to join them – mainly when Aunty G’s garden needed weeding.
The Golden Girls always stopped for a cappuccino and sometimes went crazy and troughed half a scone. Their crazy adventures usually involved Aunty G getting cross at mum for having all of the sweets in the glove box and mum week on week buying more as they disappeared.
And then there was Cornwall where the Golden Girls took to the stage and put on a show. The first year showcased their rap skills (I have the video evidence) and the following year a poem that involved a penis apron and crocs with socks.
Times of laughter, of love, of family and of friendship. Friendship born out of family.
And then this week Aunty G went to sit on her cloud.
She’s probably sipping a cappuccino or more likely a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc and updating Uncle Tommy on the last few years.
Years that have been full of life and yet today a daughter has to get used to losing her mum, we have to get used to losing our Aunty G and mum; the loss of her sidekick.
But what remains is a lasting love and a bucketful of memories knitted together by the love we all felt for the fabulous aunty, sister, sister in law, friend and, of course, mum. Something we can all be grateful for.
Gone but forever in our hearts.
My Aunty G loved my blogs and always thought I should write more so this one is dedicated just for her and my eyes have been very sodding leaky writing it.
It’s also dedicated to all the golden girls out there showing Thelma and Louise how it’s done.
Maybe it’s time for a new tradition. Maybe it’s time for me to join the ultimate Golden Girl for some new adventures. I’m on my way mum.