Friday, 11 January 2013

Flowers Bring Happiness - Ten Things my Grandmother Taught Me

My grandmother, Ada May Turner, is my guardian angel. We were close right up until her death at the age of 79. It's only recently I have realised, that she never went away, although she has been gone 21 incredibly long years, the lessons she taught me are priceless, and with me always.

1. Sometimes making someone a cup of tea and presenting a tray of homemade scones is equivalent to therapy. My grandmother always had a teapot ready, and homemade scones were almost a daily occurance. She had a cake for cutting always stashed away.

2. Be kind. No matter what you have been through or going through, kindness is a balm. If we are all kind to one another the world is a happier place. I am often called kind, generous and even amazing, but that has all be taught to me by Nana.

3. No man is worth a woman's tears. It seems funny now but when I was 19 I had a boyfriend who was older than me, 27, he was an astronomer, fascinating, geeky and I thought he was gorgeous. He dressed like Don Johnson in Miami Vice, and I looked up to him so much. He decided to have a fling with my best friend and I found out in a most unpleasant way. I cried many tears over that man. My Nana sent me a letter saying she had done the same at my age, and really he wasn't worth it.

4. That sometimes a good shopping trip, putting on a frock and lippy, makes everything better. My Nana loved going to the shops, she was terrible! She used to buy me lovely dresses, and tops, and used to take me out for lunch. We were best friends!

5. Life is too short to make your own pastry. My nana was a home economics teacher, but she left home economics as she didn't like the way it was taught. She believed that it was fine to use convenience foods. Using a tin of tomato soup as a base for a vegetable soup, making a crust for a pie with ready rolled puff pastry, or using dehydrated onions in a casserole if you were short of time was fine.

6. On the back of this though, life is too short for bad ingredients. My Nana was an amazing baker but used butter, eggs, and lots and lots of elbow grease. She would beat enthusiastically, and make sure her cake batters were perfect. My Nana has spoiled me for madeira cake forever! None tastes like hers.

7. Beauty is nothing to do with how you look. My nana was the most beautiful person in the world. She radiated peace, grace and love. She smelt amazing, of lavender and of baking and of talcum powder. She made the world a better place just by being there. Everyone adored her.

8. That you never really know the power and influence you have had in your life until you are gone. My Nana was a simple countrywoman. She worked on her farm, raised her children, taught in her school, but the influence she had was amazing. Our house was flooded with cars, flowers and letters. Her funeral was packed. My Nana had touched more people than she ever knew.

9.That women can do anything. My mother gave me a book on Australian Prime Ministers one Christmas and said I would be the first woman Prime Minister of Australia. Julia Gillard got their first sadly. But my Nana as much as she was a knitter, a baker and a homemaker was an ardent feminist.

10. Flowers bring happiness. I associate lavender, pansies and bulbs with my Nana. Both she and my grandfather were talented and prolific gardeners. It is no accident that this blog is full of flowers. And this will remain so. Flowers bring happiness.  

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