Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers - my Nan's funeral went as well as these things ever can... A sad occasion, but it was good to see so many people there at the service. I thought I'd post the tributes my mum, dad and I wrote. (Dad read them, I couldn't have done it!) So here goes. Tributes for Isobel Ann Everard, born 16th October 1931, died 6th March 2010.
From my mum, Shirley:
Mum was born in the sticks at South Fambridge in October 1931, the youngest of a large family. She remembered the days of blackberry picking, scrumping apples and wandering over fields and sea walls with her older brothers and friends. She was taught at Ashingdon School. There were no school buses, except when they could cadge a lift on the army lorries going backwards and forwards from the anti-aircraft battery at South Fambridge.
Her mum died when she was young and she helped to look after her father. At the age of 13 she had to leave school to look after him as his health deteriorated. When she was 14 her father died, and she moved in with various brothers and sisters and their families.
She started her working life in British Home Stores, The Queens Hotel as a silver service waitress and as a barmaid at Fambridge. At that time two of her nieces met up with some young men at the Kursaal; there was one man left with no date. They promised to meet the following week and bring ‘auntie’ with them and the rest was history.
Looking back mum cared and kept an eye on not just me and the grandchildren but many neighbours and friends. She was not always the gentlest in her ministrations. As she looked after dad he would protest that his thinning hair was because she rubbed too hard. It was always my job to do his finger and toe nails because he said he wanted to keep his fingers and toes. Mum would just tut and grin.
After dad died she joined the WI and Rochford Horticultural Club, two of her favourite things, cooking and gardening. Mum and dad’s greenhouse was often misused by Helen and John growing up. It was a great place to play with dirt and water. They were good at mud pies which dried very well in the greenhouse. I didn’t have to bake a cake for years – Mum’s only cooking ability we didn’t appreciate was ‘cabbage’, which would be cut and practically mashed into submission (she was a dinner lady for a while).
Mum would be there for you, like some of her brothers and sisters, very much in the mode that, “if you had a problem you just got on with it and dealt with it”. A lady who learned to be independent from a young age, she will be much missed by all her family.
From my dad, Dave:
I first met the lady, who was to become my mother-in-law, around 40 years ago, when I started going out with Shirley. It could have been difficult, however we soon discovered a common bond, we both worked at Rochford Hospital. So like most hospital workers, we could bore everyone else with talking about work.
I was always puzzled by what her name was, some knew her as Ann, some as Isobel, some curiously as Tim.
As the years went by Shirley and I married and Helen and John came along. Isobel and Reg were always supportive and interested in all that we were doing as a family or individuals. Isobel took a great interest in the grandchildren’s education, their church activities, plus their music and sport. Even in her latter years she could discuss Formula 1 – she knew her Schumacher from her Damon Hill!
Widowed for the past 17 years, she enjoyed reasonable health until the last four or five years. She then had a number of stays in hospital and finally came to live at Silversea Lodge Care Home.
In the latter years Shirley visited her most weekdays. My most enduring memory will be that I visited her most Sundays. We would chat, drink tea (I normally drink coffee), eat cake and watch Songs of Praise on the telly.
Thank you for coming today and for your prayers, cards and kind wishes, and may we all remember Isobel, Ann or Tim who, in a very quiet way, influenced many people over the years.
I just wanted to add a few words about my Nan. The days spent at Nanny Mini’s (as John and I have always called her, since Grandad Reg had a mini car) were some of the happiest of my life. We must have spent a lot of our childhood over there, learning to ride bikes, playing in the greenhouse and driving mum’s old dinky cars around the carpet.
I’ll always remember Nan teaching me to blow soap bubbles in the bath when I was very small (something I still can’t do as well as she could) and virtually rubbing all my skin off when she dried me overly vigorously, doing numerous jigsaws, her amazing meat pies and roast dinners… Her practical way of showing love was priceless; John and I will always remember what she did for us over the years. We miss her very much.
Thought I should blog to explain where I've disappeared off to (if you'd noticed that I'd disappeared!). My nan (my mum's mum) died on 7th March, but things haven't been happening quickly since the police had to get involved (it was classed as a 'sudden death'). It's all sorted now; the funeral's on Friday.
She'd been in hospital for a few days, had come out (back into her old people's home) and seemed a bit better. But then she died. One of the staff popped in to check on her and she was gone. So in the end it was peaceful, though she had been through a lot lately. She had heart problems that meant most of her heart wasn't working. She hadn't been supposed to live more than a few months but she managed a few years. She'd gradually been getting weaker, though, kept picking up infections and things. Once she'd gone into an old people's home she'd become more like her old self - it must have been getting too much for her in a house by herself. It was good to visit whenever I came to Essex. Every so often it hits me that she's gone.
Anyway, I decided to take the whole week off and spend some time at home. Rob couldn't come for the whole week so I got the train down to London (only cost £13, not bad) then walked across London to get to Fenchurch Street station. I enjoyed the walk, though some of the area around King's Cross isn't that pleasant! Walked towards St Paul's then along the Thames to the Tower of London. Then another £9.40 or something for the ticket to Southend and I was home. It's good to be back. I really miss my family...
Other stuff that has happened, hum... Went to see the new Ghibli film Ponyo
, which was much better than I expected. Went to see it in Japanese, of course. :) Looks like my job's being regraded, so should be earning more (woo!). Had a couple of birthday celebrations - went out for dinner with Megan and her family and also went for lunch with Ali
, my brother John and Rob (it was Mat's birthday).
And yesterday it was the Bahrain GP, though as Martin Brundle says, "Bahrain was a rather tedious Grand Prix which didn't live up to our pre-season billing of potentially great racing"
- basically it was incredibly boring! I think the track made it even less interesting than it could have been. Why they made it longer I don't know... But it's hard to see how the new rules will make it more exciting than last year - last year was pretty exciting. Why do they have to change things? D'oh.
So... that's what's going on with me at the moment.