Today I have been to my nan’s with my mum, just the two of us, to get her housework done and to spend some time with her. I thought I’d heard most of my nan’s stories before and didn’t really think she could come up with any new ones that would surprise me. On how wrong I was. Whilst mum was putting nan’s hair in curlers I sat with them and had a chat. Nan’s always very interested in the children and likes to hear what they have been doing and as A had been swimming this morning I was telling nan about how she is getting on. Nan never learnt to swim as her PE teachers thought it would affect her leg muscles and stop her from running as well as she did and hamper her chances of competing. She subsequently had a few scary incidents, such as being thrown in the pool at age 16 by some boys she had gone to the outdoor swimming baths with. They knew she couldn’t swim but it didn’t stop them chucking her in the deep end. Luckily a lifeguard saw and helped her out. We got on to talking about her trip to Niagara Falls and how she went on the Maid in the Mist boat trip under the falls, again despite not being a swimmer. I knew she had done this trip but didn’t know there was a “story”. This one was an eye opener. Apparently she had “been on the ouija board” a short while before her trip and an old friend had “come through” to say that if she did the boat trip under the falls and took a photo she would see the old friend, in the form of a bird, on the photo. Yeah. Really. Sorry, I’m guessing you’re still back at the ouija board bit. I’ll let you catch up. Ok? So, nan mentioned this to another friend who is a keen bird watcher and he advised that there was no way any birds would go near the falls so it was a ridiculous idea. In case I hadn’t mentioned, nan is quite determined, and in true nan manner she was undeterred from doing as bidden and whilst on the boat trip, unable to see much of anything at all thanks to the spray from the water, she slipped her camera out of her pocket and clicked away at whatever the camera lens was pointing at. Unbelievably, when she had the photos developed there was indeed a bird on the picture.
I’ve also learned: that the weather on the 20th November will reflect what the weather will be on xmas day. I’ve marked it in my diary to test it out. I do believe her, but I’d like to see for myself; the dog in the sky will tell you that rain is coming. Yes, clouds that look like dogs, chasing along between the other clouds, mean rain later; as do the leaves on the trees – they will turn upwards when rain is coming.
I know when most people go into my nan’s flat they will see a lot of stuff. There’s photos all over the wall in her sitting room and most surfaces. There’s her trolley with all the things she needs by her chair and the drawers of her sideboard are chock full of stuff. But I see the home of a person who loves her family more than anything and has photos of them everywhere. There are even two of my brother and me under a piece of glass on a table in her “special room” where she prays and meditates. The photos are over thirty years old and are faded almost completely but she put them there all that time ago and has never taken them out. She never ceases to surprise me.