My Grandparents, now both deceased were Irene & Joseph.
They lived in the middle of nowhere in a bungalow which had a field round the back, and a sprawling lawn on the front. They had an open porch and when I was growing up they used to stand on it to wave us goodbye, (with me always in tears) staring back out of the car window to catch the very last glimpse of them both.
My Grandparents house never changed. The bronze tureen that held their foreign stamps stood on the shelving unit in the living room, along with the squawking porcelain parrot ornament, and the traditional Welsh lady bells.
When I think of how little I spent there (my Grandparents lived far away) I am astonished how well I remember everything. But then again, all I did was walk around the place staring at everything. Tracing faces on framed photographs, inspecting the chinese engravings, the beaded lamp.
Upon arriving in the house, you would enter through the porch into the kitchen, which although small, we somehow always managed to cram into for initial greetings and cups of tea.
The kitchen led to corridor, off which you could turn left or right. If you turned right you would find yourself in Granddads room. Inside of which the walls were filled, top to bottom of RAF medals, certificates, photographs and memorabilia. Granddad had spent his career as a Squadron Leader in the RAF. My little sister and I used to sleep in this room when we stayed over, one in the bed, one camp bed (which had a tendency to collapse in the middle of the night!) on the floor.
If you had turned left however, you would have walked past the spare room, Nanas room, and then found yourself in the room which held the heart. The living room, which also doubled as a dining room.
I remember the floral plates dinner was served on, the view through certain windows, the softness of the armchairs, and the smell…I can still smell that little place.
The reason I felt like sharing all of this today, was because last week I found out that my Grandparents house has been sold, after being on the market since last November, when Irene died, just short of her 81st birthday.
Both of my Grandparents died of Alzheimer’s, and through all the confusion, illness, and loss…that little bungalow stayed much the same.
On the day of Irene’s funeral, I went around with my camera, taking photos of seemingly insignificant details, like the black wrought irons door handles, which I could fit my childish thumb in the groove of, the porch doors, the ornaments on the mantel piece or the square on a now plain wall where a picture once hung.
I miss them both, and I wish I could have known them better, yet I am honoured to have met them, loved them, and known them for as long as I did.
And I will always remember that little bungalow named Efteling.
Love Yours Truly, x