Hectic but good day. Meeting up with lovely people, sunshine, nice food, too much coffee ( that’ll be my next abstinence ) and great chat. I feel like I am really finding me in social situations. I mean don’t get me wrong I’ve always been extroverted and loved socialising but it was usually fuelled with alcohol. Now I’m socialising as me not an enhanced me and what’s more I can actually remember what we’ve been talking about and when I digress (which will come as no surprise) I do I find my way back rather than what I used to do: stare off into space, say, ‘eehhhh…!!’ for ages then say, ‘what was I saying?’ Not only am I more engaged with me I’m more engaged with the people I am with. This is good.
I have been in a Wetherspoons today. A place that by it’s very nature encourages binge drinking. I stood at the bar looking at the draft ice cold Pinot Grigio. Tracing my finger down the wet icy metal. I could almost taste the crisp, cold wine and feel the warm fuzzy feeling in my throat, down and down till it reaches my stomach followed by the thrilling giddy buzz as it reaches my head. I stayed with the feeling. Acknowledged it. Took a deep breath in and let it out slowly and ordered a soda water and lime. Not only did I feel empowered by doing this is was 55p!!! Back of the net!
Whilst chatting with my friend Alex I found myself talking about my gran or as I called her Nana. She was a formidable woman. Born in 1909 the eldest of 6 daughters in the Cannongate, Edinburgh she grew up a proud, strong, force of nature. She knew what it was like to have only one pair of shoes. To only have beef dripping on bread for dinner. To be forced to leave school at 13 to work in a factory. To share a bed with one sometimes two sisters. Yet she had a full and long life reaching her 100 birthday in 2009 also the year she passed away. She was my idol as a young child. I used to love sleeping over at hers on a Saturday night trying on her high heels and Yardley face cream. At that time my great- grandmother ( Nana’s mum) was still alive and since my Nana had been widowed in 1966 they both lived together. The three of us would watch The Generation Game and eat homemade chips, tin red salmon and my Nana’s own pickled beetroot. I love the latter so much I would pour a glass of the purple juice and just drink it. I would sneakily do this to my detriment when asking my Mum to check if my toilet was ok as I appeared to be peeing blood! Of course it wasn’t but I never drank tumblers of it again. Just swapped the beetroot juice for Merlot.
My idolising of my Nana was all about to change into a more love/hate relationship. My mum, dad and I moved in with her in 1980 when my great- grandmother passed away and that was the deal until I moved down to London in 1995-2001. Now lots of varying family generations live together but I not only lived with my Nana I shared a bedroom with her. Not ideal to say the least. Now my Nana was generous, loyal, young in her outlook, loving, caring and fun but there was a different side to her. I called it her Darth Vader moments when she turned to the dark side. She could be hurtful, verbally cruel, venomous, boastful, opinionated and start an argument for fun. Now my Nana didn’t have a drink problem but in the last two decades of her life she enjoyed wine most nights. Sometimes even a whisky. On occasion her argumentative nature I feel was fuelled by drink. I mean if she wanted to have a pop she would but in those situations with a drink in her the gloves were off and nothing was off limits. I could and possibly should write a book about her but here I
shan’t go into too much detail but suffice to say a lot of the personal issues that I am reflecting and working through my Nana underpins completely.
It’s interesting that in not drinking alcohol these past 15 days now I am reflecting with more clarity than previously. This is also good.
I have a feeling my Nana will be mentioned in later posts but I will leave with an anecdote about Nana. She could be very unintentionally funny and get facts completely wrong but she was never to see the error of her ways.
Back in 2002 my Nana was watching BBC news 24 one day when I came round to visit. I walked into the living room and there she was sitting in her armchair like a Queen on her throne. Due to an eye condition she wore sunglasses in the house. So there she was this Bono like matriarch listening to the world news.
Me: Hello Nana, how are you?
Nana: Hello hen. * shakes her head* See they’ve still not found him?
Nana: Al Qaeda
Nighty night Nana x