Saturday, 13 June 2015

The chamber pot and the truncheon

Cleaning out the fridge last week (unable to ride because of my very painful a**se, I've reached the bottom of the barrel where activities are concerned), I fell to thinking of my granny ( as you do).

For the last part of her life, Granny lived alone. Under her bed, there were two items: a truncheon and a chamber pot. The truncheon was for fighting off intruders, and the chamber pot was...a chamber pot (though while she used it I will never know, since the loo was a mere couple of yards from her bedroom).

At the time, I found this quite endearing; even  amusing. Now, I think: how sad. Here was this overweight 87-year-old, lonely, quite incapable of wielding a truncheon, but having it there anyway to "protect" her; a triumph of optimisim over reality.  She had never lived on her own before widowhood struck, and now she lived for the letters of which her busy, thoughtless family didn't send nearly enough. And our visits.

She used to take me for walks along the sea front to get "sea air", clutching me in one hand and holding onto her hat with the other, while winds lashed the hotel fronts and sensible people stayed indoors. She always burnt toast (to this day, the smell of burnt toast still reminds me of Granny). She read me old-fashioned moral tales; The cuckoo Clock, a Peep Behind the Scenes. Later on, I read her the novels of Jane Austen. 

She died a few months after being knocked over by a car, having walked the mile to the shops in the pouring rain. She had never been in hospital in her life, and she was terrified.

I did what I could, but I wish I had understood then what I do now. But sadly, it's too late.

16 comments:

  1. I bet a lot of people still keep a truncheon (or similar) under the bed. I do, but mine is a bit more technical.

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    1. Hmm. Sounds a bit suggestive, Cro...?

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  2. How sad Frances, but don't beat yourself up emotionally, I'm sure she appreciated you at the time. Funnily enough my Ma and I were in a charity shop yesterday and she pointed to a ceramic chamber pot and said 'ooh look...do you need a gezunder?'....I said I didn't but maybe it would hold a plant?

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  3. I loved reading this, Frances. You painted a wonderful picture of Granny and, judging by your good memories of her, I'm sure she knew she was loved. xxx

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  4. I set off on the wrong track as I thought you had located a truncheon and chamber pot whilst cleaning out the fridge.
    Poor old lady.

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    1. There were a lot of odd things in the fridge, Adrian, but not those.

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  5. I think it's only as we approach old age ourselves that we can appreciate these idiosyncrasies. My son has a truncheon just like this one passed down from his great granddad. The pot is beautiful. We don't have one of those but if we did I couldn't put a plant in it.

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    1. We all need a sort of Handbook for Life at the outset, don't we?

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  6. Like Adrian, my first thught was that you'd found a truncheon and chamber pot in your fridge...
    Some good memories of your grandmother there. I am sure she'd be pleased to know you still think of her and even blog about her.
    As for security measures at home - I have absolutely none. Living in the middle between ground and top floor of this house, I hope that, if there should ever be an intruder, they try the ground floor first... But this is not a wealthy neighbourhood and our house is so modest nobody in their right mind would try to break in, hoping to find anything of value.

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    1. I'm not very safety conscious either, Meike. I'm not good at locking things, either.

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  7. I feel the same way about my grandad, Frances and wish I'd had a better understanding, but it comes with age. The chamber pot is very pretty xx

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    1. Thanks, Teresa. I do hope I'm wiser than I was!

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  8. We all do this and don't pay elderly relatives enough attention. Then we become the elderly relatives. I used to keep a chamber pot under the bed. There was no space in the small bedroom for a bedside table so my pot held a book, a pair of specs, some chocolate and Rennies. Very useful things, chamber pots.

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    1. Lynne, my mum sat on a chamber pot that broke. Her bum was scarred for life. But nobody uses them now.

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