This week I wrote to my grandfather, who I have always called Pa Allen.
I was very lucky to grow up in an extended family that included my maternal grandparents, my mum, my aunt, uncle and their son, Ben. That doesn't include the dozens of people, who due to the quality of rural life in Lincolnshire, are pretty much parents too. I have very little choice in this, as a very early boyfriend discovered on a date to the local pub. Man after man came up to ensure that my honour was being protected - after each I was questioned as to if they were my Dad - blithely I kept saying "no" which was true as none of them were. My date got quite flustered about this. Perhaps I should have informed my poor date that it would take an Act of God for my father to walk through the doors, being deceased n that.
However I love Pa Allen very much. He's a unique person. He looks quite like a Werthers Originals Grandpa, but his mind is on quite another plain than that of toffees. Firstly because he has always had his mind on "higher things" such as Churchill and the Spalding Gentlemen's Society. Secondly because he has had a number of strokes now, so the vagueness with material life that was always inherent has got vaguer. Last Christmas he wore two pairs of trousers for a week ... why? Because he'd forgotten you had to take a pair off before putting another pair on! So there are lots of things to take into account when writing to him.
Normally I try to send him postcards from whatever thing I happen to be doing, if I've gone to a place, or done something out of the ordinary. Postcards have less writing. A letter is neccessarily longer. I try to write in shorter sentences, and I try to tell him things he'd find interesting. I told him about my recent Numismatic work and the second hand bookshop I went to on holiday. I'm not sure if he can still read properly, so I try to make my hand writing clear (very difficult for me). We'll see.
Like all relatives I know he worries about me a lot, so all troubles are LEFT OUT OF THE LETTER. I don't want to write to burden him, even though I have disgusting flu which is forcing me to not work. Stupid flu. He shouldn't know that. We also have very different day to day lives and it's hard me to catch him at home to speak in the evenings. We had a good spell where he rang at 7 each morning, but I'm not a lark and wasn't at my most conversational.
To make sure he knows it's from me, I'm going to add some photos, just as a little clue you see. I'm also going to write properly more often, then he'll be used to it.