Every time I think about my Granny Eve, a warm smile spreads through my heart and the world suddenly seems more glamorous.
Today is her 94th birthday and I am sure many people around the world, who have been touched by Granny’s sparkle, will join me in wishing her a very happy day.
Friends have called her a living legend, an icon, and the ultimate show girl. Granny has a wicked sense of timing and delivers her comic wisdom with serious levels of panache. Evie baby, as her grandchildren call her, is not only full of fun but always looking out for the underdog and caring for those in need.
Last weekend I was sitting next to her and was filled with a sense of history, the layers of soft, peaty time, settling one on top of the other, creating a dark stone that holds all the secrets of my granny’s life. I’ve been lucky enough to get insights into this epic story, like the time we were travelling back from a Virgin Strive Challenge and I bought out her memoir ‘Mum’s the Word’. I suggested, ‘Granny shall we read this together?’ She said ‘Oh yes, goodie’, ordered the obligatory whiskey and soda, propped her leg up on the empty seat next to her, elegant ankle bobbing in the altitude, leaned her head back on my shoulder, and we travelled back to the beginning of last century.
She laughed and laughed when I read her the story of when she auditioned to dance with the Ballet Rambert for the British Troops in Europe after the war. She had not prepared anything and described how she was caught in the headlights of the judges, facing five stern, classically trained experts, with no clue how to proceed and her heart hit the floor. But using her nous, improvisation skills and daring humour, she mimed a surreal sounding set. Probably not what the ballet masters had expected but she won them over with her obvious stage presence!
We read of her dancing days, her war days, her flying days, her business days and her mothering days, and luckily I've been present for the ‘grannying' days. Through all the challenges that living 94 good years throws at you, Granny always seems to find the creative way out of it and has many a tale that’s laced with laughter.
I’ve been lucky enough go on these adventures into the past with Granny while traveling with her, namely to Morocco to visit the Eve Branson Foundation in the Atlas Mountains. On these journeys we drive along steep mud roads, visiting different craft centres and ‘her girls’, checking in and making sure everything is running smoothly, but there is always time for a late afternoon drink and a trip back into the past. In the day though, I am always learning from my Granny’s ability to make everyone feel special and encouraged to keep on enjoying – that there is all the world to see and all the fun to be had. She believes in hard graft, but always with a party at the end of it!
Well it’s clear that I am her biggest fan, but I bet a good number of people would say the same. So, along with many others, I am sending love and laughter to Evie Baby on this special day.