When my sister and I were little, for many years we would go and stay with our Nana and Grandad (my Dad's parents) every Friday night whilst my parents went out with their friends.
Pippa and I would arrive in time for Friday night tea, which Nana always made a treat for us. We would be allowed to stay up and watch 'It's a Knockout' or 'Steptoe and Son'. Then it would be bath time in their big old bath before bedtime. Pippa and I ended up sharing a single bed for many years as she had nightmares and didn't want to sleep in a bedroom alone.
Anyway, on Saturday mornings, before our parents came to collect us, Nana would sit at the piano and play for us. It would always end up with us asking for the 'Marching song'. I don't know what this piece of music actually was, but as soon as Nana started playing it, Pippa, Grandad and I would start to skip and march, out of the lounge where Nana was playing, into their large hall, round the hall, back into the lounge and up and down the lounge. This was such a tradition and if the rest of the family, including our cousins, were there then everyone would join in.
Unfortunately Grandad died when I was only 13 and Pippa and I no longer stayed regularly with Nana as we were more grown up and could be left on our own for a couple of hours on a Friday night.
However, skip forward to February 1988, and Nana's 80th birthday.
Nana cutting her birthday cake with from left to right
my Mum, Aunty Sandra, Cousin Caroline and Uncle John
We had been out for a meal to celebrate, my immediate family, my Dad's sister (Aunty Sandra) and her family and Hugh. We finished the meal and went back to Aunty Sandra's for a cup of coffee and to continue the party. 'Nana, please play the marching song!' we begged. She protested that she was too old and that her arthritis was too bad, but we kept on and said that Hugh had never heard her play, so in the end she gave in! She played the marching song in Aunty Sandra's dining room and we all, including Hugh, marched, skipped and generally had a wonderful time.
Nana is hidden behind my Aunty in the green,
the man in the tye is my Dad and the lady laughing is my Mum
The lady in the black is my sister,
again you cannot see Nana, but you can see her hands!
That was the last time I ever heard her play the piano, although she lived for another 10 years and saw me, my sister and my cousins married and welcomed 3 great grandchildren into the world.
I have many happy memories of both sets of my grandparents and feel very privileged to have those memories.
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