Since my grandmother purchased her first mobile phone last winter, we’ve been able to keep in contact a lot more. It’s lovely to know that when something reminds me of her, whether that be a song, a smell, or a sugary doughnut, I can send her a sweet message about memories they bring back. Initially, she didn’t have a clue about the process of texting. I would send her a text, usually asking her what holidays she has been booking lately [that lady has travelled more than Christopher Columbus], but instead of a simple reply, I’d receive a letter through the post a few days later, informing me of her plans [along with a £5 note]. Those letters would always make me smile. I love how incredibly clueless she is to the world we now live in, yet, ever so slightly envious, as I’d love to go back to the 1940s and eagerly await a hand written letter from my love, as opposed to a quick ‘<3 U’ via Facebook message.
A few months later, she finally figured out the concept of texting, so we’re constantly messaging one another [she’s finally cracked the smiley faces too]. Our conversations usually consist of this:
GRANNY: “Would you like to meet tomorrow for breakfast?” [insert smiley face]
ME: “Yes, I’d love to! Where and when?”
GRANNY: “9:30am. The Victorian Cafe?”
ME: “Perfect. See you in the morning!”
Now, The Victorian Cafe is incredibly old, I’m talking well over 90 years. My grandmother used to have breakfast in there when she was a little girl, so it has always held a special place in her heart. According to her, everything is exactly the same, apart from the cutlery [and the staff – of course ]. Whenever I step inside, I’m greeted by the overpowering smell of slightly burnt toast, strawberry jam, and freshly brewed coffee. The scents are like a warm hug – that lovely comforting feeling you get when you wake up early on a Sunday morning to find your parents making breakfast for all of the family. The floorboards creek, as I stride up the green, floral, worn carpeted stairs, which lead on to endless rows of small tables and chairs- draped in pretty white table cloths, to hide the years of tea spillages. My grandmother is usually sat in a corner already, pouring herself tea from the pot. “I’ve ordered you a coffee and two slices of thick toast with butter and jam” she says, placing the pot down and adding a scoop of sugar or two. I’m not a bread eater, well, I was a bread eater, but after embarking on a complete change of lifestyle a few years ago [exercise and healthy eating galore], I rarely eat it. I probably have a bagel, or a croissant once every few weeks, but I must admit, there are times when I fall asleep dreaming about crusty bread with butter. Opting for the thick toast with sticky jam and calorific butter [for a whopping 70p!!!!!], is my dream come true.
This photograph does NOT do this incredible toast any justice.
Following our morning breakfast, we find ourselves rummaging through dusty antique stores, for little treasures to take home. Most of the time, I’m armed with tapered candles, unusual trinkets and rusty jewellery. I give each item its own personal story, and pretend it has a six figure value. A girl can only dream….
I think it’s incredibly important to make time for your loved ones. My grandmother has been on her own for over 25 years, so I always feel this need to take care of her [she’s more than capable], but I worry that she’s secretly lonely and her smiles are simply for show. Most of my friends don’t have grandparents, so it makes me realise just how important it is to take advantage of the fact that she’s still around. These breakfast dates bring us together, and I could sit for hours, listening to her talk about the past – especially stories about my father, who passed away nearly 15 years ago. These anecdotes are quite rare, as she hardly ever opens up. When she does, it’s like she paints a picture, brushing out every beautiful detail, so it feels as if you were actually in the midst of it all.
Life truly is precious and it passes by far too quickly. Wake up early, have breakfast in an empty cafe with somebody that makes you smile, and embrace every beautiful moment.