Today is Grandma day. It's my Grandma's birthday, which we still celebrate even though she's been dead for ten years. We eat the kind of food she used to make (shepherd's pie, toad in the hole) and light a candle. This year I'm having shepherd's pie and trifle, and I bought a bag of buttermints to keep in my handbag in an old-lady kind of way.
Grandma was a huge part of our lives when we were growing up. Both my parents worked full time so it was Grandma who took me to school, cooked my dinner and helped with my homework. Thinking about her today I started to remember all kinds of random things about her. Like the way she used the word "terrific" to mean a lot ("oh, it rained a terrific lot today"). I remember her teaching me to knit with green knitting needles and purple wool. We used to watch television together when I came back from nursery school - a children's programme about a man who owned a bric-a-brac shop for me, and Pebble Mill for her. In the middle of the afternoon we would share an apple and an orange, and then she would fall asleep.
I remember staying round her flat where she had a pyjama case shaped like a dog, and I remember the smell of fat frying when she cooked me breakfast in the morning. She wore a huge coat and a big furry hat which the kids on the estate made fun of but she didn't care. Once I made her take me to church because I was a Brownie and had never been. Reluctantly, she took me. After an hour she said in a big loud voice "once these people start bloody praying they don't know when to stop!".
I remember putting a cross in the box for her when she voted in a local election. I remember endless knitting of yellow jumpers. I remember casserole every Monday. I remember her taking her teeth out and singing Happy Birthday to make us laugh. I remember the gold locket she wore round her neck. I remember endless batches of welsh cakes and mince pies.
My mum has a saying pinned to her noticeboard at home. It says "Say not in sadness that she has gone, but in gladness that she was."