"However big your troubles, however large your heartache, however old you become, you never outgrow the comforting embrace of your grandmother's arms. You know that when she cuddles you like no other can, she gave the very same cuddles to her daughter; the mother who cuddled you in your infancy and childhood.
Many people think of a cuddle as being no more than a cuddle which anyone is capable of giving with equal effect. How wrong they are. All of your gran's cuddles have within them generations of compressed love. Each time they embrace you, they have present in their arms, the very touch of their mother, grandmother, great grandmother and as many greats as one's mind may travel.Their cuddle is in fact a part of their genetic legacy, passed down from gran to mum, to child. Cherish that cuddle and embrace it within your own behaviour as something beautiful, something to be shared and passed on to future generations.
I was born in my Irish grandmother's house, so she was as big a part of my early years life as was my mum. When I grew up, I knew that I was everything my mother wanted me to be and everything that Irish grandmother's dreams were made of. And though we came across to England to live when I was five, my memories of her remain as strong as they ever were. I can still see her face as vividly as I did at the age of five. She had a craggy, lived-in-face with a big nose. Indeed, my mother often joked that it was big enough to hang a kettle on! She always wore an apron inside the house, swore like a trooper and always baked her own bread on her large fire range. My grandfather mended bicycles for the villagers after incurring a massive heart attack at the age of 25 years. My gran insisted that he ran a cord from his working shed out back, into the kitchen. The cord was attached to a bell that she rang whenever she wanted him back inside the house. Both grandmother and grandfather smoked 40 Woodbines daily all their adult lives. Every night they would go to bed at 10.00 pm and we would hear them talking in bed until 11.00 pm before they turned off the light and went asleep. Both snored, but Gran snored as loud as a suffocating hippopotamus.
The things that gran taught me were few, but memorable. She said that we all eat two stone of dirt before we die, so I shouldn't ever bother if the bread comes out of the range a bit dirty or a slice fell on the floor as she was handing me it to eat. She made me understand that while mums knows a lot in every child's mind, their gran knows everything. I learned that whenever I went to gran for anything, she always had time to give to my concerns and make me feel special.I soon learned that grans never run out of hugs and biscuits. Whenever I hear the song 'There's no place like home' it always reminds me how true a sentiment that is; especially when home is gran's house.
I know that gran and grandad, mum and dad are all together as I write this post. God bless them all." William Forde: October 16th, 2016.