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People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*

A Little Bit Of History

I had a bit of a shit weekend. What was supposed to be a relaxing couple of days spent with the Boy, ended up being a stressful, rubbishy, wet weekend. None of it is really worth talking about, just irritable wee things that all combined to make it, well, just a bit shit.

Maybe I've got PMT. I definitely feel narky, which is a sure sign. I bumped into a colleague at lunchtime, who asked how my weekend had been. I snarled that it had been shite, and launched into a rant about something or other. He looked a bit scared, and started backing away slowly from me, much as you might carefully retreat from a rabid dog.

The highlight of my weekend was seeing my grandad on Saturday afternoon. His wee face lit up when he saw me coming in, and he told me lots of stories about his exploits during the war. Some of the stories I've heard many times, but he treated us to a couple of new ones, and showed me an old black and white picture of himself that I'd never seen before. It was taken while he was in Saudi, wearing traditional Saudi headgear and looking for all the world like Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. Except without the mascara.

His favourite story of the day (by this I mean the one he repeated more often than any other) was of being on the bus going down to Malvern to be inducted into the Navy, when the news came through that the war had ended. My grandad, 18 at the time, thought he'd get there, get his kit, and be sent straight 'back up the road again'. It wasn't to be though, and he served aboard the HMS Volage for 3 years before coming back up the road.

He realised he'd been talking about the war for a while, and he actually apologised for it - I had to reassure him that I was interested, and that I liked hearing about his experiences. It saddened me that he thought I wouldn't be interested. He risked his life in the Navy - he was on board when the Volage was shelled during an engagement alongside HMS Saumarez. Three crew were killed, and five wounded, and they got off quite lightly compared to the Saumarez. But one of those three could easily have been my lovely, cheeky, funny grandad, and I wouldn't have been sitting here now typing this.

My grandad thinks no-one wants to hear his memories of the war, but I'm fascinated by them. I suppose I'm trying to store up all this information because I know he's not going be here to tell his stories forever. And no-one tells em like he does.

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At 15.5.07, Blogger James said...

You're a wonderful grand daughter Teeny. Your story made me think of 'Only Fools and Horses' - I loved Uncle Albert.    

At 15.5.07, Blogger Drama Queen said...

Sorry you had such a bad weekend my love. Your Grand-dad rocks. . .my Grand-dad has lots of stories about his youth, NONE of which I want to hear HE WAS A LINGERIE SALES MAN!!!    

At 15.5.07, Blogger Timbo said...

My grandad just tells me about plugs and machines and stuff. I want war stories!    

At 15.5.07, Blogger SpanishGoth said...

I wrote down most of the stories both my grandparents told me. At some point I will piece them all together, they make for some fascinating reading.

My favourite ones are about his time in Burma but I always picture It Ain't Half Hot Mum (and I'm sure it was nothing like that)    

At 15.5.07, Blogger Cat said...

I've not had any grandparents since the age of 13. I really feel I missed out when I hear tales like this.    

At 15.5.07, Blogger londongirl said...

You're absolutely right to ask all these stories (and listen, and remember the details). I wish I had with my grandparents. Of course when I was a teenager I thought my grandparents were boring and I didn't listen. Too late now.

But next time you ask him stories, do take along a dictaphone if you can. The local newspaper interviewed my grandmother about her youth and it made for fascinating listening for us. I'm sure generations to come would be really interested. Just not when they're teens!    

At 15.5.07, Blogger Random Reflections said...

When I was at school for a history lesson I had to record an interview with my grandad and great aunt about what they did in the war. My grandad was a medic in North Africa and my great aunt was an air raid warden in London. Being a teenager, I needed the tape for something else at one point and so recorded over it.

They are both now dead and I am an idiot.    

At 16.5.07, Blogger Teeny said...

James - He's got dementia so you tend to hear the same stories 40 times in an hour, but they're still worth hearing!

Queenie - *I* want to hear your grandad's stories!

Timbo - I bet you can wire a plug though... I can't.

Goth - Someone's recorded all their stories but I've never read my grandad's. It's in demand so I've never got my hands on the only copy!

Cat - I'm very lucky to still have three living grandparents. That's why I'm trying to soak up as much of em as I can now!

LondonGirl - When I was a teenager I was only interested in boys, make up and getting pissed. And not necessarily in that order.

RR - That's a shame. But I'm sure what you recorded over it was just as important, like the Top 20 or something.    

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*Logan Pearsall Smith

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