Saturday, 3 January 2009

Beach House Treasure

Grandma Dorothy's white hair was rinsed pale blue, pink or purple at the hairdressers. "My hair used to be thick and dark, just like yours", she told me as a child, leaving me wondering if I too would go lilac in old age.

She and Grandad Wilf lived in a bungalow near a stony beach by the sea. Her oil paintings of roses and holidays hung on the walls, and a clock tick-tocked on the sideboard, keeping us kids awake at night. Grandma Dorothy made her own jam and stored it in jars with paper lids in the larder. There was an apple tree and a bird bath in the neatly manicured back garden, and squidgy white sofas in the 'sun room' where they snoozed after lunch. The greenhouse - Grandad Wilf's hideaway - was full of buckets, watering cans and seed trays. It smelt of soil and home-grown tomatoes.

We used to take bets on what colour dress Grandma Dorothy would be wearing, when we drove to the south coast to visit. Her dresses were always bright, often floral, and she wore them with slippers and an apron while she cooked lunch. Her teeth fell out after the war, probably because of having babies on food rations. But she had false ones, and the brightest and most genuine smile I have ever seen. I'll always remember her laughing eyes as she hugged us when we got out of the car.


  1. and then what happened? i want you to keep going.
    what a lovely description. i hope you have one of her paintings.

  2. What a lovely trip down memory lane.
    Yes...... keep going!

  3. What a treasure of a grandma. She sounds like the Grandma every child (and adult) would want.

    And ditto the others - I'd like to hear more about Dorothy and Wilf and their life by the sea.

  4. These memories are priceless. Thank you for sharing and do let us have more.

    CJ xx

  5. I wish I had memories of a grandma like that...

  6. After reading this I closed me eyes and I could just picture it all.....

    Fanks for sharing this wonderful memory..


  7. Hi GBS,
    I agree with everyone else... such fantastic memories! and your description of all the things makes me vision them and smell them! - Powerful writing indeed!
    And like everyone else said do write some more!! X

  8. Sniff sniff.
    Took me right back to the days I would visit my grandma and she would let me lick the cake bowl (and not tell my brother) and then come and play hide and seek in her bloody huge back garden.
    Grandmas really are treasures.

  9. Very sweet of some of you to ask me to write more. I've been wondering all day whether to write about Dorothy's decline as she got older ... but I've decided not to. Too personal, and sad. She was such a sweetheart, I'm pleased to have blogged her at her best. Love, GBS x

  10. I'd like to hear more about the time you spent with her when you were little. Holidays like that always seemed to be adventures, with treasures to find and share, and special trips, food, weather... You could really have something here!

  11. Lovely description. Lilac haired old ladies are scarce now - I often wondered what the thinking was behind the pastel hair.

  12. They don't make Grandma's like they used too. Many are more fashionable and trendy than teenagers.

    I remember my Gran as being very cuddly and smelling of Pears soap.