Driving rain didn't help visisbility on our journey. Mother drove for a little over an hour until she felt she needed a rest then I took over the wheel. I do enjoy driving her car, the freedom of being able to overtake others without worrying that I won't have the time to build up speed. Although speed was not the problem as we followed the convoy of tractors pulling trailers of straw bales. 3 hours after setting out we reached my grandmother's home.
M will be 90 on 28th Dec. She is a game old woman stil living alone in her bungalow. She is steadier on her feet than my mother is and still walks into the village every day and drives short distances to visit friends. She has only recently given up being chairperson of the local embroidery club. I only found out recently that M writes poetry which is why she has a computer (to make writing easier).
It was a very odd experience talking to M as I hadn't seen her for about 18 months (the last time being a week or so before I started working again). My mother has been saying for a few years that she believes M had a minor stroke without realising it. She has been progressively forgetting words and names. It was quite strange having a normal conversation with someone who couldn't remember the names of things or people. But apparently when she is writing the problem disappears.
After lunch M was telling us stories of her youth when she lived with her father after her mother had run off with the chauffeur. It has always been a family joke that M and her sister had so many step mothers they had a ladder. In truth I believe there were only 2 step mothers and 2 step fathers a half sister and 3 half brothers. It was a little difficult to follow the tales of nudists in the woods and wicked step mothers trying to spoil wedding days when everyone is called either her, him or the other one. But I did get the translations later on the journey home as my mother knows all these stories well.
It is interesting to learn that my great grandfather was a land owner who was selling off his land before the start of WWII but my grandmother considers her family not to be in the same league as the family she married into who 'had money'. Of course my grandad's family didn't have money for long as my Great Uncle gambled the family money away.
Oh well looking on the bright side at least I didn't get sent away to boarding school like my father and his sister did. I had the dubious record of being the first child in my father's family not to go to boarding school. (I grew up believing that boarding school had done my father no favours). My father didn't know how to relate to any of his family. However M told me as best she could that I was the apple of my father's eye, he adored me but never had a good word to say about my husband. It's funny because since my father died several people have told me how much he used to enjoy my visits when he had his shop in Highcliffe. He liked to see me and my boys. But he was never able to say or show it to me. I always left feeling as though I had been in the way.