|Nanny Groves and her brother Charlie as teenagers.|
|Looking beautiful (and as if butter wouldn't melt in her mouth!!)|
She had a wicked sense of humour that was not even vaguely politically correct, a penchant for cigarettes, the odd glass of Teacher's whisky and slice of Battenburg cake! Although she did not really enjoy a robust state of health that never seemed to stop her being great company for us children - even in our teenage years. Watching Top of the Pops with her was great as she'd give a running commentary on all the latest styles - the early 80's being the New Romantic period meant that she had a field day towards the end of her life!
When we moved away from the Midlands to Cornwall at the end of the 60's the highlight of the year would be seeing her again, either in Birmingham or in the Southwest.
Nanny wasn't mad and bad and dangerous to know, she was more a case of 'naughty but nice' and would write to us several times a month to keep in touch, but was just as attentive to her other grandchildren who were closer to hand. All of us grandchildren, near and far, liked getting our hands on, or rather in, her biscuit tin - and her lemon meringue pie was legendary.
|On her wedding day with my grandfather (who looks rather like Jude Law).|
However, the best bits about her were never really associated with big events - I don't think we ever really saw her in any big social gatherings (apart from her funeral, which seemed such a strange state of affairs all around). She would dance seated in her big armchair, singing to The Fiddler on the Roof - If I were a rich man. We'd beg her to do it each time and she'd usally oblige. Here's a clip of it to refresh memories...
|Nanny at a wedding.|
Another theme tune that just seems to conjure her up straight away was that of Crossroads - we weren't allowed to watch ITV at home - so secretly we children would listen in on it from time to time just to get a dose.
And now for that unforgettable music!
|Nanny Groves as an Edwardian child; third person from the left, front row...|
I remember she did enjoy looking at this particular book that I had received as a child for the Christmas of 1973 as it reminded her of childhood in a big city in the first part of the century. The book in question was Miss Carter Came With Us by Helen Bradley, and it was in fact one of several produced by the Lancastrian grandmother precisely to show the youngest members of her family what an Edwardian childhood had been like in the industrial north.
What is truly inspirational, is that Helen Bradley started to paint aged 65, in a style a little like that of Lowry, with his matchstick men, cats and dogs.