Old Wisdom (part one): Old-Fashioned Love.

21 Sep

I get to see my Grandma very rarely because I live in London, and she lives in Yorkshire. Her home is a cocoon of warmth and quiet, perched on the side of a hill, her house looks down onto a vast valley below. A valley that is filled with people and houses and even a motorway, but in her home you feel entirely detached from all those things, life and its business are over there somewhere  and you are up above it in a space brimming with rest.

My Grandma's lounge through the mirror. My Grandad made a perfect sized cubby-hole to fit the piano in.

Authentic vintage…my Grandma’s lounge through the mirror. My Grandad made a perfect sized cubby-hole to fit the piano in.


Old-Fashioned Love 1

‘Down in the valley’


Travelling from my parents’ home in Lancashire to my Grandma’s in Yorkshire is a journey that always resounds with me because of two things…

At weekends my granddad used to cycle the 84 miles from one side of the Pennines to the other, from where he lived, to where my Grandma used to live as a girl in Lancashire. So, he used to cycle for seven hours, up and down, across some serious hills just so he could see his girl (Beryl) and then back again a day later. When he heard that my Grandma has been in a car-accident, he cycled through the night to see her.

Good old-fashioned love.

The kind that knew no boundaries and would not be curtailed by something as inconsequential as  hills and distance.


Lounge of rest...lots of plants and lots of photos

Lounge of rest…lots of plants and lots of photos

On his way back, Grandma used to cycle part of the way with him, through the lanes near her farm, and then watch as he cycled back into the hills. That image does something to me, it shakes me deep in my core, a parting of the sweetest kind.

Love has always been and always will be, and really that is the only thing that matters. If we boil life down to the nuts and bolts, love is there at the bottom of it all, the bare husk that the rest of life rests within.  My Granddad died over twenty years ago (six years short of my whole life) but I know he’s just cycling back into the hills, looking over his shoulder waiting for his Beryl to join him.

After he died, my Grandma found a poem in his bedside drawer, we don’t know if it was written by him or if he copied and amended it from somebody else. It went like this (it is written in the Yorkshire accent)…

I love thee lass
Tha’ naws i do.
Altho’ our dreams ‘avent all come true,
Tha’naws I’ve alws done mi best,
To keep thee up to all t’rest
Tha’ naws mi lass, we ain’t done bad,
We’ve three grand lasses and two fine lads,
What more could man want?
Tell mi lass.
Then let the things that come to pass,
Lead you on life’s ‘appy road,
Any carry well, what ‘ere your load.
I love thee lass.
I’ve said before, but now…
I love thee much much more.
What ‘ere we take, or what we lend,
I’ll love thee lass, right to t’end.
My Grandma has these words embroided, standing in a frame on the table just below the window that looks down onto the valley below. Love is not a static thing, it unfurls beyond itself. Its that first glimpse into each other and its still there in a different kind of way sixty years later ,when one of you is gone but the other doesn’t believe that, not really.
The poem is in the big frame on the left, just below the window.

The poem is in the big frame on the left, just below the window.

Morning sun over the valley

Morning sun over the valley

So I said the journey from Lancashire to my Grandmas resounds with me because of two things…my next post will be about the second.

5 thoughts on “Old Wisdom (part one): Old-Fashioned Love.

  1. Naomi, this post brought me straight to a place of tears. the image of your grandpa, cycling away, looking back over his shoulder for Beryl. Thank you for writing this post. I think what you write about is the very essence of life. The “bare husk that the rest of life rests within”. In the end, it is all that matters. It sustains even when mortality separates us. It is what I hold on to, all that is left of my own mum. I know that she loved me. I continue to love her back.
    Beautiful writing! I am looking forward to your next instalment!

  2. Pingback: My Top Memory Treasures -

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