Monday, 21 February 2011


On this day in 1910, a baby girl was born who would grow up to have a baby girl of her own. There is a huge amount of material to write about in that alone - how she left her home in Gloucester at sixteen to work in the tea rooms of Bristol railway station, how she met a shy and handsome railway guard and fell in love, how her premature baby (described as looking like a skinned rabbit) had to fight for its tiny life.

That skinned rabbit grew up to be my mum.

The wonderful lady, known to everybody as Joan, was my nan.

Nan died in 2008 at the age of 98. She was a tiny little woman but she left a very big hole in our family. I miss the endless stories that she would tell about her life - stories that would loop  around and start again. I miss her big heart and the huge amount of love she had for each and every one of her great grandchildren.

Just before she died, I took my newborn baby daughter to meet her.  It was hard to see the once vibrant lady reduced to a little more than a bag of bones but her eyes sparkled when she gazed at the latest addition to the family. Although the contrast between one so close to death and one so new to life is very stark, I love the photographs that were taken of them together and I share them here in honour of her birthday.

My nan's last words before she let go of life, spoken to her son, were "Put me on the stairlift, John". We like to think that she had seen her Stairway to Heaven, her handsome husband (who had died some 30 years before) would have been waiting for her at the top and she wanted the quickest way up.

Happy Birthday, Nan.


  1. That's just made me cry...what a lovely post, she looked like an amazing woman. You were lucky to have her for so long :-)

  2. Joan Peck. What an inspiration to us all, eh? (: I hope she's up there dancing with Bill, all happy and full of life. (: It is quite amazing how without her, none of us would be here. o.O I LOVE YOU GREAT NAN. <3 <3 <3

  3. That was a most beautiful blog about my lovely Mum - she was indeed an inspiration to anybody who knew her. She lived her life to the full but was ready to go to her beloved Bill when she died. She will never be forgotten.

  4. What wonderful photographs and memories. She reminds me so much of my Grandmother who also live to see 98. Amazing women of difficult era. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Aww this is such a lovely post - the pics are really touching. Seeing your nan reminds me of how my nana used to look near the end, brought a wee tear to my eye x

  6. Very moving post, a bit teary eyed here! These photos are precious...

  7. I came to comment on your Gallery post, but this wonderful post grabbed me. Such beautiful photos and a great tribute. Really moved xx

  8. Wonderful tribute and I love the photographs - explain life and what it is all about in a fabulous way.
    Someone should have written down Joan's story before but you have here which is lovely and I am so pleased you linked up to my blog hop on wonderful women as she clearly was and I am sure you and your daughter will continue that legacy.


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