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Monday, 29 June 2020

Kittens play in the...

 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.

12 comments:

  1. Your Grandfather made some beautiful things. Definitely keepsakes. My maternal Grandfather was also a carpenter and have been told he made religious figures for the church. I have never seen any photographs of them.

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    1. I am lucky to still have so many of his wonderful pieces of carving. The last one is truly magnificent, an arched piece of three quarter relief plums. I do wonder whether it will be given houseroom by my son and his wife when I go? When I die the link will be broken, so the connection won’t be nearly as strong. My father even mentioned it in his will, going to me, then on to his only grandchild.

      Is there anyway you could locate some of your grandfather’s figures, it would be lovely to do a bit of detective work. Clouseau notwithstanding obv!

      LX

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  2. Awesome carvings, and yes, understand what you say about the direct link. Having no children of my own I do wonder whether the family hand-downs that reside with me will progress. Maybe it is my duty to be a fantastic (of fantastical) great-aunt so the children of my nephews will take those items for me rather than for the memory of some previous generation they never knew.

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    1. Bet you are a fantastically fastasical great aunt, remembered for ever along with your family treasures.

      LX

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  3. What wonderful memories of the man you clearly took after! Another different mould. His work is beautiful and brilliant you still have it. I remember so many bits and pieces my gran had that I wish I had now. Unfortunately my mum doesn't have a nostalgic bone in her body and she got rid of everything when her mum died. My gran stayed with us while ill but her home was in Lancashire and was rented so mum didn't have much time to clear out the house. My mum got rid of all my dads stuff within two weeks of his death. You'd barely know he lived there now. I'm not sure whether it's the way to be, saves worrying about the children inheriting all our 'stuff' I suppose. You must make sure these memories are written down in a diary or something to keep for your son. I'm not sure Blogger will be around for posterity! xx

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    1. It is funny how I have in my turn got rid of things, especially from that side of the family. A silver plated grape plate with a bare tree bending across the plate with a forked branch to hang the grapes on. Marching scissors to harvest the grapes! Today it would be thought totally OTT. I am sad I sold it now. Still what use things to fill the cupboards? Your mum has a point in many ways, it is good that we are all so different.

      LX

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  4. Marksgran my mother was the same. Lettice you are fortunate to have known such a man, and even more have some of his work

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    1. You’re not kidding me, don’t I just know it! I can see him as clearly now as if it was yesterday. Happy memories of a lass that is maybe getting a tad past it? Heaven forbid!

      LX

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  5. Truly beautiful memories< lettice. I want to reach into that final photograph to caress those plums. Marvellous carvings.

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    1. I have so much of his work: beside me as I tap this out, an oak chest, three of his carved six sided tables, a nest! I have the smallest by my chair for my mug of tea, also a slipper box filled with my treasures. His output for just a hobby, was truly amazing. A lucky girl, to have true family heirlooms.

      LX

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  6. Wonderful to be so cherished.
    The work is beautiful.

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    1. Lucky girl I know, with a quiver full of happy memories...

      LX

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I shuffle around like...

an old crone.  Suddenly the years have crept up and bitten me on the bum.  My pazzazz has frankly limbo-danced away on creaking knees.   ...