An ode to Nanny

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A month ago, my lovely Nan, also known as Cuckoo Nanny, sadly left us.

She was a much loved lady.  As my dad said, she was a little lady with a big heart.

During my Nan’s last days, she completed a mental agility test, for which they asked her to write a short sentence.  Without hesitation, she managed to write “I love my family.”  My Dad retold this story recently at her funeral, as we felt it really encompassed everything that Nan stood for.

The infamous wedding cake.  My grandad baked each tier whilst away at sea, he was a baker in the navy; and then returned the tier to be iced prior to his big day.  Both my parents and my husband and I used the same knife to cut our cakes.  When I look back, and remember Nan, I remember her sparkly blue eyes.  Her cheeky smile.  The way she would grab your hand when she got excited.  How she absolutely loved everyone – apparently too much, as in Ireland (her home), she was known as the kissing Aunty as she would smother all her nieces and nephews with copious amounts of kisses.  And as much as she loved her grand-children, her great-grandson, and her own children; the biggest love in her life was my Grandad.

These days, you so often hear of broken marriages.  I do wonder if people believe in marriage the way my grandparent’s generation did?  We live in a throw away society, and it seems so many include their marriages in that as well.  Couples, or perhaps just individuals, just don’t seem to take it seriously.  Possibly influenced by the world of celebrity?  I’ve lost track of how many times Jordan has married now.  Couples just don’t have the same role models.

But I did.  Both sets of Grandparents believed wholey in the sanctity of marriage.  They believed in good times and bad.  In sickness and in health.  Both my granddad’s sadly passed away before their  better halves.  And both my Nans never remarried.  They belonged to their husbands.  As Nan lay in hospital, she was accompanied my Grandad in a frame, next to her bed.  He was always with her.  And although we’re all so sad to have lost her, I take great comfort in the fact that she’s now back with the love of her life.  Grandad will be so happy to have her back along his side.

So, if there is anything that my grandparents, and parents for that matter, can be happy about, it is that they have all taught me the importance of marriage.  The day I married Andy, I took every vow seriously. I believe there is no problem too big to be resolved.  I believe arguments are healthy, they mean you can have more fun making up.  I believe in growing old together.  I’m looking forward to that.  I admire how strong my grandparents relationships were.  And I hope, as they’re up there looking down on Andy and I, they will give us a wink and a smile as we enjoy our own little adventure.

nans cake-2

So, back to Nanny.  What are all this cake pics about you may ask?  Well, this April, Nan was due to turn 90.  We were going to have a big family meal, for which, I wanted to honour her with a lovely Birthday cake.  Sadly, she was gone too soon.  So I promised Dad, I would stay true to my word, and make the cake for Nanny’s wake instead.  And this was the result.  I decorated the cake with florist paste Peonies, as my Nan loved her gardening and flowers, and a pearl necklace, also made of florist paste, strung together with dentral floss and painted with pearl lustre dust.

I hope my Nan would have liked it.  Whilst I was making it, I was also constantly reminded of my Grandad.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend his funeral; so I do feel that this was my little tribute to both of them.

Nan and Grandad.  You will be so truly missed.  You were one of a kind!  xxx

nans cake-3

My Aunty Marian, my Dad and I, cutting Nan’s cake using the same knife my grandparents, my parents, and Andy and I used on our wedding days.

nans cake

5 thoughts on “An ode to Nanny

  1. That is so sweet Claire. I agree with you, about society these days. However, as long as there’s still people holding firm with their traditional beliefs, about marriage and what it truly means, then the memories of all those generations before us, will continue to be as proud of us, as we were them. Beautiful piece Claire. x

    • Thanks Daryl.

      I certainly think of my grandparents, whatever I’m doing. Always thinking, what would Nan do? Or Grandad, when my baking isn’t going well, I hope he might send me a lightning bolt of inspiration!!!

      And you look back to all the advice they gave you, which one day I’ll pass down too. Apart from the “it’s ok to have cream and ice-cream with trifle”. Because, it’s not!

      We’ll never let the memories go. X

  2. This is so lovely Claire, I love the story, the cake, using the knife and the picture with your Dad & Aunt. My Nan passed away just before Christmas, but she was in Barbados, so I couldn’t get to the funeral either. We’ve since lost another Grandad & Grandmother within 51 days of each other, Margaret’s funeral was held on the day that would have been their 72 wedding anniversary! Love Jen x

    • Oh you’ve really had a difficult time, and all around Christmas as well. I’m so sorry to hear your sad news. But although you couldn’t be in Barbados, I’m sure your Nan knows you loved her all the same. And how amazing your grandparents were for getting to 72 years. That’s amazing. I admire couples who can achieve that. It’s a beautiful thing. Xx

  3. Hello, I still have one Grandparent left, my Nan lives not so far away. Margaret & Ernest were on Roger’s side of the family, but still very sad x

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