Christmas is once again a distant memory, the decorations have long since been taken down, rewrapped and carefully packed away in the loft for another year. One of the final post Christmas activities that happens around here, as it does in many families I’m sure, involves getting dragged around the sales.
Well, after first braving the mayhem on the roads, it was time to find a parking place and that was no fun either. It was like many thousands of ants descending on that lone gobstopper, cast aside on a sunny summer’s day. Eventually, we were able to make our way inside the shopping complex, but even then it was like a fairground ride, being taking around by the crowds… and this was only just after 10 o’clock in the morning!
On one of my rare ventures into a shop, I was firstly amused, but then quickly whisked back to being aged around nine years old and staying at my grandma’s house. The only question I had though was, which grandma’s house was it? Was it the Granma who lived at ‘Two Mile Cross’, or was it my other Granma who lived at ‘403, King Street’?, both homes being in Aberdeen.
So what had whisked me back all those years? It was one of those plug-in shower contraptions that you try to shove onto your taps to wash your hair in the bath. I didn’t even know they were still on the go…but they are. Soon after spotting this little gem from my past I was comfortably sitting awaiting the women folk appearing from yet another retail outlet and whilst doing so, my mind drifted back thinking about other memories I had of my grandparents as a young kid.
Some of those memories would have to include sliding down the three-storey, very winding, bannister rail, from top to bottom, or waking up to weetabix with tinned mandarin oranges for breakfast…..Why don’t they taste today as good as they did back then?
Why were the hydrangeas always in bloom outside Granma and Granda’s house? One house being made from large granite blocks which sparkled in the sunshine and the other being the pebble dashed bungalow, which to a child came straight out of Toy Town.
There’s memories of Granda playing tunes on his mandolin, or learning so many old songs whilst having our legs walked off by either Granma, down miles of care free, car free lanes. It was out on these many walks we’d learn about the flowers and trees, about everything from deadly nightshade to oak apples, from acorns to pine cones, from damsons, all the way through to just what to look for in a prize-winning conker.
If the women folk in my home think I try their patience from time to time, they should imagine what I was like as a kid. I’m sure that back in my childhood I’d top any patience-trying charts and as one of my Granmas would often tell me, “Shaun, you’d make a saint sweer!”
I have no doubt, that spending so much time in the great outdoors with my grandparents as a youngster, planted a very big seed inside my head, which one day would be sufficiently nourished to help me take hold of the opportunities we’ve been afforded over recent years.