Category Archives: The Book of Gran

The Book of Gran. Flavour of the Month

Flavour of the Month

We were all a bit racist during the war. We were allowed to say stuff you’d never be allowed to say these days. We hated the Germans, of course, but we didn’t like the French much either. To be fair, they didn’t think we were the flavour of the month; they accused us of running away at Dunkirk. That was a bit of a cheek, as they’d only been involved in two wars in recent history and they’d run away in both.

My Aunty Flo, a cantankerous old sow, who had been to France as a girl, said they lost the war because they have no proper standards. She used to rant on about the state of their toilets. ‘Nothing more than a hole in the ground.’ She didn’t like the fact that they drank wine and ate soft cheese, either. Mum used to argue with her and say that our toilets aren’t much better, being stuck at the bottom of a garden in a draughty, brick, outhouse, with a six-inch gap under the door and a flushing mechanism that had been used since Roman times. We had never eaten soft cheese, most of the stuff we got had an inch-thick, rind on it that was tougher than steel. Fritz used to say it was so hard, we should use cheese rind to make tank armour. Continue reading

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Retreats, Battles and Bombs

Winnie In 1939 the government evacuated a million and a half people from London to the countryside in an attempt to keep them safe from the bombing raids that everyone believed was coming. I think they had run out of money for the bus and train fares by the time they thought about evacuating our area because we never got to hear anything about it. By the following summer, next to nothing had happened and life went on pretty much as normal. The Germans seemed to be intent on destroying our coastal defences and airfields so they left us alone, more or less. Because of this, people became apathetic and thousands of evacuees who had been sent away for their own safety, managed to return home just in time for the bombing. In August a few German planes got lost and dropped their bombs on London instead of their intended targets. This pissed Mr Churchill right off, so he sent the RAF to bomb Berlin. This pissed off Hitler even more, so he decided to spend the next nine months dropping thousands of tons of explosives on London; especially the East End, where we lived. The Germans called it the Blitzkrieg but we shortened it to, the Blitz because it was easier to say and we wouldn’t sound like we were speaking German if we used the word in public.

Mr Churchill made a speech to the country saying, ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’ Fritz’s mum, an Irish woman who hated Mr Churchill, said that wasn’t good enough as she gave all of those things every day of her life but she didn’t expect to become Prime Minister. She said we should get that nice Mr Chamberlain back, give Churchill a two-fingered salute and send him over to Ireland to explain himself. Continue reading

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The Book of Gran. Uncles and Andersons

The Anderson Shelter

September 1940

anderson I was woken up one morning by the sound of workmen tipping a ton of what looked like, scrap metal on our back yard. I walked out, half asleep, to see what was going on and was presented with a docket from a man wearing a blue cap and overalls. This was, he explained, our new Anderson shelter.

‘Sign here, love.’ The man pointed a grubby finger at a grubbier sheet of paper. ‘You are twenty-one aren’t you? Good.’

I wrote my name in my best joined up writing and handed back the clipboard and pencil. The man climbed back into his truck and stuck his head out of the window. ‘A council bod will come to check you’ve put it up right.’  Then he drove up to the vicarage and began to offload a similar mountain of crap onto their garden.

I looked at the pile of corrugated junk and wondered if he meant that I had to build it. ‘He’d have more luck plaiting snot,’ as my dad used to say when he was here.

Nowadays you’d get a pdf file from the manufacturing company website and try to work out how everything fitted together from the Chinglish instructions, but in those days there was nothing, not even a drawing, and as we were the first on our street to get one, there was nowhere to go for help. There was no point in asking the vicar. He’d still be sleeping off last night’s ‘holy water.’

I took the docket inside and dropped it on the kitchen table then I went upstairs to tell mum that I wasn’t going to build whatever it was, no matter what the council thought.

Mum shared her room with Josie, Beth and Marje, three of my older sisters. I shared my room with Jean and Ruth. Phil, the only male in the house, slept on the sofa downstairs. My two grown up bothers were in the navy, defending some other bugger’s shores.

Before I could enter, Mum opened the door with the night bucket in her hand. Her other hand covered her mouth and nose with a dirty-looking hanky. Continue reading

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The Book of Gran. The Hedgewitch

The Hedgewitch

the_hedgewitch Not long after the bombing began, we captured a German pilot. When I say we, I mean the LDV, (local defence volunteers), with the aid of an allotment holder and his garden fork. We were there as a backup in case things got nasty. Fritz had his empty pistol and the rest of us had pen knives or bits of wood that we had nailed together in more or less the shape of machine guns. Our weapons were almost as useful as the ones the volunteers carried as it turned out.

Our prisoner was the pilot of a Messyshit, ( I can’t say Messerschmitt to this day,)  who’d got lost in the heavy cloud, come in too low and crash landed on the playing fields at the back of our school. I suppose we should have thanked him really because if he hadn’t been such a good pilot he could quite easily have taken out a row of houses. We didn’t thank him of course, he was a German.

We saw him come down from our perch on top of the fire station. We kids raced for the playing fields while Mr Blinks, the ARP warden, raced for the air raid shelter. We could see the crash site as we crossed the playground. I fell into the ditch at the edge of the playing field and came up looking like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz film. I picked myself up and pulled twigs and dead leaves from my hair as I chased after Fritz and the gang. Continue reading

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The Book of Gran. Introduction

Introduction

Churchill Hi there, it’s Gran here, Tracy’s Gran from the Tracy’s Hot Mail and Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail books. I’m the star of the latter book according to GransFans.com; an Intyweb fan-page thingy that Tracy set up to stop me getting too many pervy phone calls and photos of men’s willies in the post. I didn’t mind the pervy phone calls actually, but I expect to be paid for taking them and I have to admit, I quite liked the willy pics. I was going to set up a Granny chat, sex line but then I found out that some wrinkly old slapper had beaten me to it.

I wish we’d had the Intyweb when I was younger, I’d have been cyber-sexting all over the place. All we had back then was pen and paper, if we wanted to be sexy we wrote, SWALK on the back of the envelope. SWALK was an acronym for Sealed With A Loving Kiss. I always preferred NORWICH myself. (Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home).

I wasn’t always called Gran. That’s just the name my daughter and granddaughter know me by. My useless tosser of a son-in-law knows me by lots of different names, evil old bag, being the most popular. I’ve got a lot of pet names for him too, none of which I’d be cruel enough to actually name a pet with. My favourite at the moment is, wankspittle. Continue reading

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The Book of Gran. Plane Spotting

Plane Spotting.

August 1940

Heinkel Back in 1940 we suffered a long series of what we kids called, hit and run attacks by German planes.  (Their bombs hit our houses and we’d run for the shelters,) it was more commonly known as, the Blitz. During this time, me and a few other kids on my street, took advantage of a doddering old ARP warden called, Mr Spinks, though we called him Mr Blinks because of the really bad squint he had. If ever there was a man placed in the wrong job, it was Mr Blinks. His employment was typical of the twisted logic and unbelievable incompetence of the time. We used to wonder if patients from Bedlam or members of German high command were given the final say on many of these job allocations. Plumbers were given positions in the army looking after radio sets while electronics engineers were sent to the navy to look after the boilers on ships. The biggest laugh of all must have been had when the decision to make Mr Blinks an ARP warden was taken. A lot of tea will have been spat across the deployment manager’s desks that day.  Giving the post of, spotter, for a forthcoming air raid, to a man that couldn’t see beyond the end of his nose was sheer, lunacy, but giving the job to a man who was deaf as a post and couldn’t see beyond the end of his nose, was just taking the piss. Continue reading

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The Book of Gran. Lessons

ww2 image I’m experimenting with this just to see how it goes. If there is enough interest I’ll continue the series and maybe even publish the diaries as a book.

For those who need a bit of background, Gran is the grandmother of Tracy, a character in two of my books. Gran appears in both Tracy’s Hot Mail and Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail where she has been upgraded to major character status. Gran is angsty, politically to the right of Genghis Khan and hates Tracy’s father with a passion. The Book of Gran will be a collection of WW2 memories from her twisted, but sharp as tacks, brain and diary entries from the 1950s and 60s.

 

Lessons
July 1940

Our junior school didn’t have an air raid shelter and Mr Churchill said we weren’t allowed into the schoolhouse until the corporation found the money to build us one. So, for quite a long while we had our lessons in different parts of the town. On warm, dry days, the teacher used to take us to the cemetery where we’d sit and try to memorise our times tables. My young boyfriend. Freddie (Fritz) Fischer, said that they took us there so they could bury us quickly if we were all killed by a bomb.
I loved Fritz, his dad was a German and he was arrested on the first day of the war because the police thought that he might be a spy. He wasn’t, he was so patriotic he kept a signed photo of Mr Churchill on the door of his outside lavvy. Fritz’s mum was Irish and she really hated Mr Churchill but they didn’t bother arresting her. I think the local policeman used to like the poteen she made in her back room. I often saw him stuffing a bag of spuds into her passage. My dad said that wasn’t the only thing PC Tomkins stuffed into her passage. I think he meant onions.
I showed Fritz my knickers once. He had two brothers and had never seen a pair of female pants shorter than the starched, knee-length bloomers his mum used to hang on the line.
His eyes didn’t half light up when I showed him my drawers. Afterwards, I demanded to see what he had on under his shorts. He didn’t wear underpants, so I got to see his willy instead.

 

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