Saturday, February 26, 2011


Here's a photo of me (looking not-un-Amaia-like) taken in spring 1968 with my Granny Jean. She would have been 95 today... had she not died 27 years ago. When I was born my parents lived with her and Gramps, so theirs was my first home. After we left when I was six months old, I visited her almost every weekend, staying overnight, until her death when I was 16. I remember her scabby, old pull-down bed in the living room. We used to lie in it on a Saturday morning watching Laurel and Hardy, Champion the Wonder Horse or Cowboy movies... all in black and white of course. She used to tell me stories about being a tomboy at school - in complete contrast to me, but ironically just like my daughter, whom she never met. She used to knit herself what seemed like the same cardie over and over in different colours and would take us shopping for buttons on Saturdays. She ate special k with raisins every night at bed time and washed them down with a cup of hot water in a clear cup! And she spent endless hours doing crosswords, always asking for a new little dictionary for Xmas or her birthday. One of my biggest regrets is that my Granny didn't live long enough to see me work for a dictionary company. I imagine sometimes how her face would have lit up in some parallel universe if I'd brought her home a copy of Collins Large English dictionary instead of the Gems I bought her as a teenager. I like to think she'd have been proud to see her granddaughter's name on the imprint page of so many dictionaries as the lexicographer. I guess people never really leave, they live on in your head forever.

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