Little glimpses

I had lunch today with a friend of my (late) mother’s who is 99 years and 357 days old: eight days to go. She is astounding. Allegedly deaf and short-sighted, her conversation suddenly sparkles.

Her parents met at the Melrose Hydro in 1907, the kind of posh hotel about which you might well have found my Greenwell great-grandparents lurking in the Edwardian age. In fact her parents did bump into my great-grandparents, since they were indeed living the high life that week in Melrose. Her father was smitten with her mother the moment he saw her, and cabled Sunderland to ask for two extra days leave (he was an accountant).

He planned to spend the two days in intensive courting, and he and his wife-to-be embarked on long walks. However, they had reckoned without my grandfather, then about eleven, who stalked them from bush to bush, from tree to tree, from tryst to tryst, calling out ‘DO YOU LOVE HER THEN?’

My grandfather was never forgiven. That seems to have been the story of his life. I have yet to hear a good word thrown in his direction.


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