She was an outrageous personality and generous almost to a fault.
I know because when my parents wanted to take the opportunity to travel the world she had my sisters and me to live with her. They were gone 6 months and I became acquainted with her flamboyance, first hand.
After an afternoon of Sunday tennis and wine and beers on the wide veranda she would announce ‘SUPPER’ to the 10 or 11 adults (plus their offspring.) She would brag that there was crayfish or fish or pre cooked meals available from the freezer and then fix a gimlet eye on some male and say briskly ‘well George what will it be? A boiled egg?’ Without a pause she would exclaim, ‘good idea…….. boiled egg Francine? ……….boiled eggs all round then.’
A big pot would be half filled with a couple of dozen fresh eggs and covered in cold water. They would be brought to the boil for an indeterminate time and then it was potluck. Your egg might be rock solid or runny depending on its position in the mass! That with the equally lucky draw of burnt or underdone toast was supper for all.
Her constant jolly laughter and crazy stories somehow carried the day and everyone went home happy.
Years passed and she had 4 beloved grandchildren by her only son.
She became a wealthy widow when my uncle Jimmy died and regularly stayed in a suite at THE Dorchester hotel in London.
She loved all of her grandchildren but Martin was most like her and she adored him.
He flew into Heathrow onetime (before the turn of the century) and unannounced took a taxi to visit his Grandmother. He was there overnight with a friend and she immediately invited them to dinner at the hotel. The friend was dressed in black trousers and a white shirt but Martin was wearing jeans.
When they appeared for dinner in the formal banqueting dining room of the Dorchester, the Maitre D whispered to her, ‘very sorry Ma’m, I can supply this young man with a black bow tie,’ indicating Martin’s friend wearing the low key black trousers, ‘ but evening dress is required,’ and he lifted his eyebrows in Martin’s direction with a shrug of his shoulders. Aunt Maud knew him well and pierced him with her beautiful blue eyes.
‘We’ll be back,’ she announced.
Sweeping the two young men up with a gesture of her arm, they returned to her suite.
She went to her vast wardrobe and flung it open and running her manicured hand along the full length gowns on their hangers, stopped at one and announced, ‘this will do!’
And so Martin stepped into ‘outrageous mode’ to match his Grandmother’s attitude and took the gown from her.
They made a dramatic entrance into the dining room via the staircase that swept into the room. Aunt Maud was the centrepiece between the two young men. One was soberly dressed in black and white complete with a bow tie and the other had on a flamboyant long evening dress that outshone even her long gown. He had stuffed a bra of hers to fill out its generous bosom and the rest fitted his slim figure perfectly.
Diners stared, forks half way to their mouths as the trio stood poised at the top of the stairs. With the Maitre D’s beaming smile and silent clap of his hands they were welcome to have dinner at THE DORCHESTER.
Copyright justjoy - all rights reserved