Guest Speaker

Tierney's Grandma

So all that come to pass may see Delia McNulty-Tierney was part of me.

I loved staying at my Grandmas house. She had one of those flying saucers you plugged into the mains and put in your bed, like a UFO wok. Her house smelled of Stardrops and Carbolic soap. There was a crisp quality of light there, not sure why, the house had the same amount of windows as any other house. Every morning at the window at the top of the stairs, which had a vase of flowers and a Virgin Mary statue, she would say her prayers. She never prayed for herself only for others and especially people who had lost someone or who were very poorly.

Some mornings she would shout “ are you awake, come and have a chat in Grandmas bed.” So there I would lie, in the middle of her and Grandad. Her third husband, the first killed in the war after he was arrested and sent back for going AWOL, the second a railway man, my dads father, who died in Morley tunnel, a bad accident. Jim, the third husband, was an old sailor, I loved the Dragons on his arms and he never tired of telling me about the Chinaman with a bowl of black ink and a thousand needles. Sometimes he would ask me to open the wardrobe, look in the box, and get something interesting to read, and boy oh boy, he had a Daily Mirror collection of almost all the major events of the 20th Century, VE Day, Atom Bomb Japan, Nixon Finished, Elvis Dead, Man on the Moon. I asked him if he had a gun in the war, he said “sailors didn't need guns to fight Hitler they just needed a pocket knife and some rum.” Me and Grandma would giggle and she would call him a silly old sod. And then he would say “anyway on the ship they had a massive gun and it took two men to put a bullet in it.” I was in awe, but Grandma still giggled. He had a shed and a coup for pigeons, he had some fan tail doves that would circle the roof of the house and go no further. He was always tinkering with bits of radio and electrics, he once set up an intercom from the shed to Granny’s kitchen...buzz buzz you would hear and then Granny saying “your tea's ready!”...she could have just waved from the kitchen window but where’s the fun in that! They had a proper Lassie lookalike collie dog, one day he just wasn’t there. Yes he had “gone to live on a farm.”
And get this, they had a big black and white TV that you actually had to put 50p in for it to work, every now and then the TV man would come and take the 50p away.

They had A Man for everything, a coal man, a fizzy pop man, a potato man, a fish man, a egg man, a football pools man, a rent man, and of course the visit from the Catholic Priest, Fr. Lilly gaunt and thin, but nice always rapped me on the head and ruffled my hair. I asked Granny why she never read Fr. Lilley’s tea-leaves like the other men, she said he wouldn't understand it. And then she said “you can read tea leaves you know”, “can I?”, “Yes”, she said, “How do you know?”, “I know because I watched you in the garden when I was washing up and I saw you talking to a crow!” She had me there, it was true... I told this story to show how we must take care of our little ones because one day they will be responsible for carrying the last bit of our soul back to God.

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