A picture from 2006.
Today 82 years ago, my Granddad was admitted in to 2628 Company of the ‘Church Lads Brigade’ at the rank of Private.
I’ve not found anything on 2628 company, I think they would have been in the Bradford & Beswick area of Manchester.
Posted from Manchester, England, United Kingdom.
This is my Gran, Florence, she was 100 in March.
She is the most wonderful person I know, still lives on her own with minimal need for care. My Dad & Aunt visiter her daily and do some bits and pieces for her, but she is still active, going out 3 or 4 times a week, goes on holiday regularly and cooks all of her own meals, when she isn’t out on the town. She is as fit as a butchers dog and has never been over weight.
She is probably the finest baker known to man, still producing two batches of fairy cakes and a fruit pie of some description each week. She has to the best of my knowledge never owned
- Food mixer
- Smoothie maker
- Food processor
- Soup Maker
Yes, Florence has got all the way to 100 in pretty good fitness without the need to own, amongst other things, a soup maker.
I saw this soup creation contraption on TV last night, it looks like Heath Robinson mated a kettle with a food blender so that it chops, cooks and blends soup for you.
What The, and indeed the, Fuck?
It is described as the ultimate healthy convenience cooking. Not it isn’t, healthy cooking is working at it, peeling & chopping, standing up stirring the pan, being active, not lobbing some vegetables in to the kettle then attacking them with a food blender.
Convenience isn’t a soup maker, the busy man or woman about town won’t come back to their nondescript terraced house in their nondescript commuter belt and start making soup in this, they’ll have eaten out or grabbed a take away on the way home from their dull boring job that fits in the middle of a 4 hour commute, that’s convenience.
I’m sure that the soup maker in question is a high quality machine made to exacting standards using only the finest materials but really, a soup maker? Is this what we are becoming?
You get a soup maker and you will use it for just long enough for you to never want to eat soup again, unless it is through a straw after some horrific accident. The contraption will be consigned to the back of the cupboard never to see the light of day until you move or you die and your relatives clear out your house finding you that you were indeed a gadget hoarding freak of Edmund Trebus proportions.
Anyway must dash, the microwave has just pinged to tell me my breakfast in a tray is ready.
My gran has also never seen the internet, so the occasional use of the word fuck is ok
On Thursday we had a funeral for my wife’s Grandad, Albert Porcher, who had passed away at the age of 97. I could write about the things that I know about him but I think it is better if I just copy the eulogy that Samantha read in the service. Needless to say I am imensly proud of Samantha as she managed to get through all of this without breaking down too much.
I am going to try my best to get through all of this, but I’m sure Grandad will forgive me if I don’t manage it. The problem with having a family full of females is that when it comes to these bits there isn’t anyone who can manage it without tears!
I asked Mum, Nicola and Janeen for their memories of Grandad so I didn’t miss the bits that are important to them. I’ll start with what Mum sent through, but in reading it I will refer to Albert as Grandad, as that’s who he was to me.
Grandad came from farming people on his Mothers side and was raised with an outdoor outlook, both with growing your own food and raising your own hens for eggs and consumption for the family.
There was a strong family bond lasting throughout his life, carrying for his own elders and then his own family.
He was married to May for over 60 years and you never thought of one without the other.
He was a rare breed as a young man entering the nursing profession and working at the same mental hospital for over 40 years. During this time he became the branch secretary and then quickly an area representative for the union. His efforts were recognised and he was elected a Trustee of C.O.H.S.E. (Confederation of Health Service Employees), a position he held for many years. Family holidays were taken to coincide with conferences meaning we visited many different resorts throughout the 50’s.
He did not have a car until the 50’s and up to then a pedal cycle or tandem were the means of transport. He rode at the front of the tandem with his daughters behind, Geraldine occupying a kiddie seat at the back and Maureen sharing the pedalling. Nana went solo, pedalling hard to keep up, but we had many happy times going as far as Blackpool and the Wirral for holidays with many days out in between.
Once he had a car he developed a love for car and motorcycle events, so a lot of time was used up tramping up and down muddy hillsides watching hill climbs and going to Oulten Park for the races.
He was a founder member of the local football club and played as goalie, becoming the medic with the bucket! And finally, Chairman of the club for many years.
The 60’s brought him the delight of his grandchildren, he always, when they were around, included them in the tasks he was doing around both the garden and the garage. A child following Grandad, with a trowel to dig or a hammer to knock things with, was a regular sight, he followed their lives continually with loving interest as he had missed this with both Geraldine and Maureen, due to being away serving in the 2nd world war returning when Maureen was around seven and Geraldine two.
The introduction of package holidays for the masses meant leisure time changes, with flights to the Mediterranean for holidays occurring regularly. This continued as long as they could manage, with Nana never getting over her fear of flying and Grandad getting her a large whisky to settle her.
The 70’s and 80’s brought a calmer time in many ways, as they were once again a couple together and could make decisions for the two of them, but at the same time never forgetting the family.
They celebrated their Golden Wedding with great enjoyment having a further 10 years of activity, to then celebrate their Diamond Wedding in 1996, again with their family around them.
Throughout his life the one enduring pastime was his love of ballroom dancing. He courted Nana this way, cycling over from Hazel Grove to Handforth to meet on a regular basis. They continued to dance until Nana died but he never stopped his humming/whistling accompanying the music even though he couldn’t sing more than a few bars in the same key at a time. They were skilled at their dancing and organised and led many a local dance.
The one topic Grandad would not talk about publicly was his war service. He served with the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corp) throughout, first through France as required both in field hospitals and at the front line. He along with everybody else retreated to Dunkirk, tending the wounded on the beach and then loading them onto the hospital ships or any others that could take them as best he could. On the last day he was on board a boat that was sunk and made his way back to shore still helping others when he got there. He finally managed to be on one of the last boats to leave Dunkirk returning to England.
He was then sent to India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) via South Africa caring for mentally ill evacuated from the Far East including Burma. He regularly travelled the length of India escorting patients on the trains who were just being released from captivity. His demob did not come until 12 months after most of the forces because of the job he was doing, returning to Britain in 1947. He then returned to the hospital he formally worked at, to stay for the rest of his career. Grandad did not speak about this until very recently and then to his son-in-law and grand-sons-in law in a very restricted way. We will never know the true extent of his service and bravery.
Grandad was a carer of people and seldom was heard to criticise other people believing that everyone deserved a view and all at some time could divert from the right path.
He supported all the family throughout the generations unfailingly, as long as he could, encouraging them to follow their dreams whenever possible.
Nicola touched on much of what Mum sent through but I am still going to read her memories:-
Grandad was such a family orientated man who was so very much loved by us all especially by Nana whom he adored
I have never met or heard of anyone not liking him or of ANY enemies.
He looked after so many people in Handforth who are too numerous to mention.
His army service during the 2nd world war all over the world including as part of the British Expeditionary Force and getting out of Dunkirk.
His love support and encouragement to the 4 grand daughters throughout theirs and his life
His and Nanas love of their caravan both on Anglesey and at St Bees,
His garden and vegetable plot that he spent hours in
His skill as a mechanic and the oily boiler suits that he washed in an old dolly tub outside, as Nana would not have then in the house
On hot days he always wore a string vest and a hanky knotted on his head especially in the garden
His involvement in the animal’s horses and cows and of course the different family dogs over the years
His love of church and hymn singing even it was in the wrong octave!
Janeen and I have had the opportunity to talk a lot during the past few weeks and have covered a lot of what has been said by both Mum and Nicola but Janeen wanted to add
One thing about his last few years was he always thought about others and wanted still to help in anyway, always asking how everyone was including the animals and was always concerned that he was a burden. He used to say what are you going to do with me, we would reply, what do you want us to do with you and he’d say sell me and buy a Donkey, to which we would say would say we wouldn’t get much of a donkey for you now.
His love of dancing and the many dancing holidays they had both home and away, and that he could turn his hand to anything including hairdressing.
Janeen mentioning hairdressing prompted my memory as I can remember him setting and even perming Nana’s hair. He also used to do Roly Barbers hair when they came round for their card evenings on a Friday.
My memories touch on a lot of the same things such as the caravan holidays in Anglesey and then St Bees. Both Janeen and I said we remembered it being decidedly colder at St Bees though. I can remember the struggle they had finding someone to take the caravan off Anglesey and they had to shut the Menai Bridge because the caravan was too wide to go down the right side and the other side was wider.
The family was always at the centre of both Nana and Grandads world. I’m sure most of us here today remember the party at the Cherry’s in Alderley Edge, and how sweet the 4 of us looked in our matching dresses that Nana had made for us. The family have throughout always come together to celebrate the important milestones, their golden wedding anniversary at the British Legion in Wilmslow, their Diamond Wedding at the Pinewood in Handforth, latterly Edna’s 90th birthday and then of course his own 90th birthday. Alongside that the family have supported one another through the not so good times too such as the loss of his first grandchild Timothy, the death of Dad, the passing of his youngest grandchild Joanne and then the sudden death of his daughter Geraldine and of course Nana passing away. It is their unerring belief in family that have kept us close through all these sad events. The fact that his great grand daughter, Natalie, loved to go and see him almost every week is testament to the importance of family being close to all our hearts. His great grandson Ryan also loved going to see him, and that always brought a smile to grandad’s face.
I can remember as a child him and nana caring for both his mother, Granny Porcher and nana’s mum, Granny Bray in their later life. He did this without a grumble.
One thing that no one else noted was his love of a good pint of home brew. I can remember him pouring a bottle into a metal jug each lunch time to have with his dinner and nana would have a glass of her home made wine. Right to the end he used to joke that a drink was the wrong colour when he was given a glass of juice or water, and he was still able to have a drink of whisky most evenings.
I think one of the hardest decisions I had to take was when he was no longer safe to live on his own and needed to go into residential care at the Farmhouse. With hindsight it was one of the best decisions we made as we got our Grandad back as we no longer had to worry about had he got everything he needed and could just sit and talk to him and pull his leg. He used to say he was an old nuisance, I’d say yes you’re old but you’re never a nuisance.
The Farmhouse has been his home for the last 4 years and they helped to make them 4 good years for him and us. They agreed to nurse him there to the end, and I know Janeen and I are very grateful for that as it meant we could sit with him in private until he had passed away.
People have been sharing their memories of Grandad in the last week or so, Aunty Sheila said he was the only real Uncle I ever had and I have fond memories of the times Edna and I used to stay at Granny Porchers in the summer holidays and visit and stay with Uncle Albert and Aunty May.
Aunty Vera told me about remembering Nana and Grandad going off on their tandem to Blackpool.
Sandra made me smile when she said her Nan would be telling Grandad off when he got up there as he’d not only lived longer than she managed, but he’d kept her waiting too long! That’s after nana has had her say on the matter first of course!
I think I’ve rambled on enough now, suffice to say, I feel very lucky to have had my grandad in my life for so long and feel very proud to be able to say Albert was my grandad and love the thought that he is waltzing off to the love of his life, May, to be reunited as they should be.