Thirty-five years ago, during the night of 28th and into 29th May, my grandfather Eric Kirby passed away. (This picture
is of him reading to my sister Suzanne and I... the Trumpton annual is from 1969... apparently a particularly good year for Captain Flack et al)
Back in 1977, I was approaching my thirteenth birthday and it was the first time I’d really had to face, or try and understand, the loss of a close relative. Plenty of years have passed and as I turn 48 on Sunday, it’s perhaps no great surprise that none of my four grandparents are still alive, but I have some fantastic memories of each of them... and I consider myself very lucky indeed to have arrived “in time” for all of them to be an important part of my life.
Eric was a strong and principled man, but also very kind and caring... he enjoyed his sport and was never far from the boundary edge as his only son, my father, played his way from Darlington, via Cambridge University into the county cricket ranks with Leicestershire...
Sometimes, memories seem so random, but one of the things I have never forgotten about Grandad is that he had this maroon Austin Maxi that made me feel sick whenever I travelled in it... actually it was more than just a feeling on a number of occasions. Mum used to try and sneakily get me to take a tablet before any long journey... a good plan, only she “hid” the black tablet inside an almost transparent yellow jelly sweet and even I wasn’t going to fall for that one...
Most of those longer trips were to or from Blackpool, where we spent many a holiday when I was young. There was always a competition to see who’d be first to spot Blackpool Tower... I probably didn’t win very often... too busy throwing up..!
But they were good times... happy and innocent times, made all the better for having been able to share them with Eric, my Gran Gertie and also my Mum’s parents Les and Mary when we paid our regular visits to their Leicestershire home.
I remember each of them often, but tonight I will raise a special glass to my grandfather Eric... God bless x
All my own work... almost.