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No context here at all, so launching in; my Nan (mum’s side) has this as her last car. Little Polo.


My Nan (Babcia in Polish) wasn’t the best driver. I think she took the car out simply for the purpose of adding more dents to it.

Every Sunday, my Nan would come over to ours for lunch. Pulling in was a good opportunity to inspect any new dents. One day, there was an especially baffling one on the front wing that no crude accident assessment could explain. I asked her, ‘Babcia, how did...’ and in her clipped English she replied. ‘Dustbin. Very bad dustbin’, before heading toward the dining room.

Sadly, she passed some five years ago now. I miss these things.
 

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Actually, just to add some colour here about our elders...

I once arrived at my nan’s to see her emerge from the back garden. I kid you not... her Flymo was wrapped around her neck. I lept out of the car and asked ‘Babcia, what are you doing?’ and, as if having a flymo around your neck was totally normal for an 88 year old, nonplused she said: ‘cutting the grass.’
 

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That has just given me a genuine chuckle.
Me too.....she sounded like some character.
Bit like my own grandma on my dad's side
She used to stay with us occasionally at my parents house when I was still living there.
One day in the front room she said out of the blue......
"Ronan....I never see you with any girls.....would you be one of those homosexuals?"

I did love the oul girl.

And btw....I had one of those Polos in red.....called it the "hearse".....it was some work horse....back seats folded and I could virtually slide in a coffin.....lots of room
 

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More similar to Ronan's story than to G's:

I once walked into the kitchen when my Gran was visiting, and obviously I and my girlfriend had just been the subject of furtive conversation between Gran and Mum.

My Gran turned to me with a steely eye and said "You haven't, have you?". I questioned what I was accused of, and she replied "You haven't been dipping your wick?"

I turned and left the room without answer. (Aside from not wanting that conversation with my Gran, no 16 year old is willing to admit that in fact they have not!)

My Gran was one of those stereotypical larger than life old characters. Later in life when she had unfortunately had to go into care (and was not entirely compos mentis), my parents were visiting and she declared to them of another resident: "If she keeps looking over here, I'm going to show her my arse!"
 

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Discussion Starter #6
^^^ lol, love it. Elders are brilliant 👍
 

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Actually...

I do wonder to what extent the war formed my nan’s character. Not talking ill of her at all, but she was quite a complex character. And maybe given the atrocities she saw, that formed who she became. Amid her vocal and strident view on everything (not least her public and quite often articulated thorough dislike of my dad), there was a vulnerable side to her; she didn’t like fireworks (‘sounds like bombs!) and she watched the news like a hawk (‘I think there will be another war’). While not right on that one, she wasn’t exactly wrong.
These days we have excellent support services like post traumatic stress programmes. Those things didn’t exist back then. You just ‘got on with it’. I just wonder how much the quality of her life and mental well being could have been improved if she’d had an outlet for her war experiences.

hindsight, eh?
 

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My wife's aunt was a forceful no-nonsense character, outraged when told she could no longer drive, because she couldn't read a number plate at 25 yards. "I don't want to read other people's number plates!" she exclaimed.
 

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They are aren't they..? Good stories people.

I'm fortunate enough to still have all my grandparents, Mum's Mum especially was not made for these more ironic times... One Sunday lunch my Uncle (her youngest child and a good chef) was tenderising some beef with one of those special mallets unbeknownst to us in the front room. Upon hearing the hammering we asked, "What is that?" She responded with the immortal words, "It's just Craig bashing his meat...". I kid you not...

Needless to say Granny is one of those who gets massively incensed by laughter she does not understand... "WHAT HAVE I SAID?? WHAT'S FUNNY ABOUT THAT.. HE IS... HE IS BASHING THE MEAT!!"

Her continued wrathful outbursts only serve to make your laughter worse.... We've risked many a black eye for that laughter. Ah the joy.. :D

Sadly no car connections, other than my Grandad did once have a poo-brown Austin Maxi and he drove it in public where people could see... o_O
 

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Actually...

I do wonder to what extent the war formed my nan’s character. Not talking ill of her at all, but she was quite a complex character. And maybe given the atrocities she saw, that formed who she became. Amid her vocal and strident view on everything (not least her public and quite often articulated thorough dislike of my dad), there was a vulnerable side to her; she didn’t like fireworks (‘sounds like bombs!) and she watched the news like a hawk (‘I think there will be another war’). While not right on that one, she wasn’t exactly wrong.
These days we have excellent support services like post traumatic stress programmes. Those things didn’t exist back then. You just ‘got on with it’. I just wonder how much the quality of her life and mental well being could have been improved if she’d had an outlet for her war experiences.

hindsight, eh?
Did she live through the war as a child or as an adult? When did she come to the UK?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
She was born in 1928, so she would have been pretty young. I’d have to check what year she came to the U.K. The plan was to settle in the Netherlands. Not sure the reasons why they settled here instead. Maybe work opps?
 

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Old enough to remember it all though. She must have lived through some very tough times. It would be interesting to know how she made it to the UK, whether it was before, during or after the war. The choice of the Netherlands is an odd one, as pre-war it was seen as vulnerable, during the war it was mostly German-occupied and immediately after the war it was a destroyed country. They took a real hammering in the last winter of the war, 44/45, it was a particularly cold one and there was even widespread starvation, so much so the RAF had Lancaster bombers dropping food parcels into still German-occupied parts of the country. A lot of the housing and most industries had been destroyed either in the German conquest or in the liberation.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
She did. Like many, I know she lost a lot of her family in the war, fending for herself and her sister. It wasn’t a subject she felt that comfortable talking about, so I’ve never heard the facts or the stories direct. My mum was born in Germany circa ‘48 en route to the Netherlands. I know they stayed in Germany for a few years; maybe it was while they were there they realised things weren’t so good in the Netherlands, so they carried on to the U.K., instead. Obviously communications and hence information was limited then. I think the U.K. may have had a program in place to help home Poles back then. That may have been a factor in them settling here, too.
I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but... it wasn’t a taboo subject as such, but just one that - understandably - she didn’t like to revisit.
 

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I think its important we keep these stories alive as much as possible. I read a while ago that there are only two surviving pilots now from the Battle of Britain. I know an ex-Hurricane pilot, but he didn't start flying them until 1942 or 1943. I think he's not far off 100. He's still driving too, a Mk 6 DSG Golf.
 

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We all ought to be writing our memoirs, or at least keeping some notes, for future generations. There's so much I wish I'd asked my parents and their contemporaries. I have talked my sister and a friend into doing it, but haven't quite started myself...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It’s a good idea. Maybe for some the writing process will be quite daunting, for others it maybe quite cathartic. And there are so many more ways to document things these days; video, voice recording etc. Still, all depends on the willingness of the contributors... and there maybe many factors that determine that.
 
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