wood shavings of my grandfather’s workshop. Closing my eyes, my brain recreates the smell, the sight, the sounds. In a split second the clock has turned back in time. I am there knee deep in the sawdust; the shavings move with wriggling new bodies of tabby fluff. Smiling my grandfather scoops me up to look, look and look some more at the antics of puss-cats in progress. Chisels and sharp implements are put safely away, whether for me or the kitties I am never quite sure?
We go in for tea, leaving the writhing mounds to heave happily having so much fun. Reluctantly I allow myself to be lead away. Standing on tiptoe in the scullery of the farmhouse I wash my podgy mitts. The home made brawn twinkling like jewels in bright clear jelly is turned out of the tin pudding basin. Carefully he slices into his wonderful creation, putting a slice each onto our plates. On the tea table sits celery in a vase, accompanied by slices of bread thick with butter, a tea table fIt for a king.
After tea I am allowed to ride the rocking horse standing patiently in the hall for me.
Of my grandmother I have no recollection, of my grandfather I have so many it is hard to know where to start.
He was a bank manager, that much I know. He was eccentric that much I definitely know. His hobby was wood carving, the examples of which surround me to this day. I cherish the memories of a wonderful man, who wore formal morning dress on weekdays at work in the bank. Beaten up old moleskin trousers to work his magic with wood. On Saturday mornings he would appear on his motor cycle wearing a long Gannex mac, and a beret. An old wooden box on the back of his bike would be full to overflowing with fish heads for the cats. His morning’s catch cadged from the local fishmonger. My memories of his much anticipated visits crystal clear in my mind’s eye, even then I knew he was a man who walked tall among other men, not out of the same mould... different.
Sidney Steward and Maggie his wife. The frames are carved by him.
An example of his work.