Yesterday we said farewell to Violet Tranter known to all of us as 'Nan'
Her passing came as a surprise only in that all who knew her had resigned to the possibility of her living on for ever and ever.
I knew Nan for ten of her 91 years. Generally I think we got along just fine. We didn't talk very much, if you were to combine all the words we'd spoken to each other over those ten years you could probably meld them into one fairly short conversation. This is down to a combination of her refusal to wear her hearing aid and her inexplicable inability to understand my accent. But dispute our communicative problems we still shared the occasional whiskey, I always let her put stuff in it.
I learned a few things about her over the years, like that she served as the unofficial midwife for the neighbourhood women for a number of years. Apparently she was the go-to gal for the expecting women in her neighbourhood when the local midwife could be reached. She was a dinner lady for the same school that Julie Walters went to. She loved sweets, particularly flying saucers and flumps and to say that she was strong-willed and opinionated was an understatement. If Nan had something to say, about anything to do with anything she would say it. She would give you her advise, whether you asked for it or not or wanted to hear it. Then if you dared not to take that advise you could count on an 'I told you so' from Nan. She used to urge me toward strange jobs, for example when at Jack's birthday party she suggested that I would make an excellent children's entertainer.
Nan was unrivalled in her ability to attract attention, especially from men. At our wedding she had the Freddy Mercury impersonator dancing in her lap with his shirt off. On a night out with the girls she reportedly kissed her way out of the club at the end of the night. At a wedding she disappeared at some point in the evening. After an exhaustive search they found her drinking whiskey at the bar with a stranger.
As the years have gone by I've heard 10 variations of her favourite excuse for her behaviour. It started with "Well I am 81 you know" and it changed every year.
Jack will miss Nan too. She always had the best biscuits and she always gave me some. When he was little he thought that her wrinkly face was hilarious.
We'll miss you Nan, you were an amazing woman.