Sunday, 18 September 2011

One year ago

This week twelve months ago there was a lot going on in my life. I said goodbye to Ibiza in my twenties. Next time I go back I’ll be in my thirties, and will hopefully see less injuries and illness! Whilst I was there I missed the “R.I.P. Lehman” drinks, two years on and we still talk about it like it was yesterday. Then we jetted off to Las Vegas to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary and spend some QT together as husband and wife (and spend far too much in Abercrombie). The one-year gift is paper. Nick claims he got me “tickets”. I claim that they were e-tickets and so he still owes me…

But, looking back, the thing that I remember most was that a year ago my beloved Nanny went to sleep and never woke up. I know that she's still sleeping peacefully and, alongside my Nonna, my Granddad and my Nanny Upstairs (Nanny's mother – she lived upstairs at her house!), she is watching over me with love and affection, and also keeping me on the straight and narrow… like she did when she was here.

Some people think that nannies are the little old ladies who lick a hanky and wipe your face, who force you to eat your greens, smell of lavender, roast dinners and pears soap and knit jumpers by the fire. My nanny was all of those things, but also the best teacher. She taught me some of the most precious lessons I've ever had the pleasure, and sometimes the displeasure, to learn.

Nanny, these are the lessons that you taught me…

My nanny taught me not to be scared of the dog down her road – Buster the Boxer! He was massive, loud and bouncy but was really just a slobbery, loveable dope!

My nanny taught me that the scariest thing EVER is a mouse. I learned that she was wrong. The scariest thing EVER is ACTUALLY a spider (shudder).

My nanny taught me that even if you are scared, you still shouldn't hurt living things, when she held my hamster Nibbles that one and only time (he scared because he looked like a mouse…"but he's got no tail Nanny – see?" as I pushed him in her face). And so I learned that spiders should be put outside, not squished with a shoe/yellow pages/Pear’s Cyclopedia.

My nanny taught me to knit, but didn't teach me how to un-knit mistakes. Which meant I learned that no matter how big and clever you think you are there's always someone bigger and cleverer!

My nanny taught me never to lie, which means that sometimes I learned that honesty is the best policy, and also what it was like to get told off.

My nanny taught me to colour inside the lines, and that if you're good the fairies come in the night to do some colouring in for you.

My nanny taught me that the power of imagination is sometimes all you need to get through the day, but that if it gets a bit too over active you'll spend the whole night curled up at the bottom of her bed hiding from hungry, roaring lions.

My nanny taught me that pink tissue paper can be a raspberry milkshake, that Bic razor covers make good chips and that some cotton wool and bottle tops make a rather nice fried egg. Which meant I learned that not everything in life needs to be bought from the Argos catalogue!

My nanny taught me courage and bravery and how to face down your fears. At the same time I learned that there is more than one exit at Wembley arena, and we took the wrong one – in a time before mobile phones. Yikes! So she also taught me that when you need it, it's ok to ask for help, which means that I learned the special rescue route to the M25/A12 junction at 7am one Saturday morning.

My nanny taught me that Clacton was a magical place from far far away, and was home to a fantastical creature called Bruno, who looked suspiciously like a dog! Which meant that I learned not to fall asleep on the last train home, when tipsy, as I know how long it takes to get home from there…

My nanny taught me that swearing is bad... Especially in front of the bl**dy children.

My nanny taught me that Ireland is a little piece of heaven and that a face tickle solves everything.

My nanny taught me that toffees can be eaten for dinner, Polos are for crunching and that no meal is complete without tomato ketchup. Hmmmmmm.

My nanny taught me how to wrap presents, how to tie bows and how to curl ribbons. Which means that I learned to how to be a mini entrepreneur.
My nanny taught me that pounds are for saving, but that pennies are for sweeties.

My nanny taught me to always keep them guessing and to sometimes defy the odds. Twice.

My nanny taught me that sometimes your life is what it is, and to be thankful for the little things but sometimes hard work, determination, imagination makes life something to look forward to.

My nanny taught me that life is for living, your face is for smiling, and that although sometimes you have to say goodbye, memories are things that you have forever.

Keep smiling (and crunching) Nanny – we love and miss you.

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