Tag Archives: Gran Nora

2013 Project365 (Day 41)

Gran's vaseWhen Gran Nora died all the grandchildren were able to take something from her house as a momento. I had a few things including a couple of books, a necklace and this gorgeous vase. Of course, I now also have her dining room table and chairs which have taken pride of place in our kitchen.

I love the vibrant turquoise of this vase and it is such thick glass and weighs quite a bit. I decide it might come in useful in case of an intruder!

2012 Project365 (Day 179)

28 June 2012Today we travelled to Sark, one of the smallest and definitely one of the most beautiful of the Channel Islands. Just three miles long and a mile and a half wide it seems to tower out of the sea as you arrive by boat and The Mister commented that it reminded him of Jurassic Park. Not to mention that when we got the boat there it was quite foggy and I seriously expected the Black Pearl from The Pirates of The Caribbean to come sailing out.

We were in Sark for Sark Folk Festival. We have never been before so it is a new experience!

We arrived a day early though and did some exploring. The house in this picture is called Beau Sejour and I believe that Gran Nora lived there with Grandpa during the Occupation when she worked as a nurse on the island. There was a small exhibition about the Occupation in Sark so we went to see if there was any information. There was only a little bit, mainly a comment that she gave birth to twins whilst living there!

So, Sark is beautiful, windy and very, very dark at night. It is essential to take a torch!

One year on

Gran NoraI can’t believe that it is a year ago today since Gran Nora died.

Time seems to have zoomed passed over the last year and suddenly I am looking back and wondering where it has all gone. Time certainly is a healer and I no longer feel quite so keenly the loss of my lovely Gran. Of course, being on the mainland means that I can almost pretend she is still in Guernsey living in her hill-top house and sitting in her chair looking out at the sea. In reality I know that she is gone and the house has been sold.

I still have moments when I wish I could talk to her one last time, especially as the last time I saw her I was really drunk and I was trying to survive my sister’s wedding. On that day though I saw Gran at the church (before I was too drunk!) and I knelt on the floor next to her seat and rested my head in her lap and cried. She just stroked my hair and told me that she loved me. These days it is one of the most powerful images of my Gran that I can draw to mind and it still makes me cry.

Gran wasn’t a rolling around the floor, playing with her grandchildren sort of Gran, but, she was always interested, always wanted to know what was going on and would have done anything to make her children and grandchildren happy.

She loved playing Scrabble, even if she was really rather rubbish at the end and would fall asleep in the middle of her go whilst holding her letters in her hand. She would then make a jerky movement and spill all her letters into her skirt, before picking them up to do it all again.

2771328632_78476f1abdI loved her for the fact that she would tell the same old war stories time and time again, but she seemed to have different grandchildren to tell certain stories too… like we all had our own bit of the jigsaw.

I can still see her in my head standing in her front porch and watering her geraniums, or sitting in her big comfy chair, looking out to sea and attempting to do The Times crossword.

I have a huge admiration for Gran Nora, for surviving the German occupation of Guernsey with her faith intact and an unshakable belief in a good and loving God. For the fact that she would have missionaries to stay in her house on a regular basis which meant we got to meet some interesting people, for the fact that she prayed for her family every day.

I wish she was still around, and I wish she’d had the chance to meet The Mister. She would have loved him. I know she would.

I still miss her so much.

Manora – the end of an era

Today has been very much the end of an era. Gran Nora’s house has gone through and for the first time in well over half a century it no longer belongs to the family. What I hadn’t realised was that in Guernsey is it quite a formal procedure and my Mum, aunts, uncle and my cousins (the children of my Uncle Steve who died) all had to go to the Royal Court in order for the paperwork to be completed.

It’s quite a strange feeling because I have so many happy memories tied into this house. When we were kids it was the most amazing place to play hide and seek because there were so many hiding places. Many hours were spent sitting on the wall around the front of the property, watching the world go by or all the cousins swimming down at the gully by the Lion Rock below. So many photos have been taken with people sitting on this wall! I have fond memories of sitting in front of the TV with my lovely grandpa, watching Playschool and podding peas. In later years, when Gran was much more frail she could often be found sitting in her favourite seat in the window from where she could see all arrivals to the front door, as well as look at the wonderful sea view. So many memories tied up in one place.

The thought of the house belonging to another family is hard, and yet no-one in the family could take it on because it needed so much work doing to it. Also, I am not sure that it would have been the right thing to do. Manora was, and is, part of our history; where we have come from and the experiences there have helped to shape us into the vibrant and strong family that we are today. Today we have to move on, however painful and difficult that is, and we have to shape a different future, without Gran Nora, but still with the rest of us to carry on what she started. That has to be something to look forward to.

Missing Gran

Gran & Anna 2Yesterday I had a very boring day and felt unbelievably unsettled and lonely. Just one of those days I guess.

I had nothing essential that I had to do so I went to the gym and spent the afternoon baking cakes for Greenbelt. But my discontent and restlessness did not pass. I drank wine and that just made things worse and no matter what I did I could not settle.

Yesterday would also have been Gran Nora’s 93rd birthday. I am missing her very much at the moment. Maybe that contributed to me feeling a little bit at sea. I don’t know. All I know is that I wish I could spend some time with her again.

The Dame

I have had a blissful week in Guernsey with Peterson although it has been quite strange to be staying in my Gran’s house without her being here. It still feels like her place and the memories are so strongly connected with her that it almost feels disloyal to be having such a lovely time.

However, one of things I have been able to do is to take a sneaky look at some of Gran’s letters. When my Mum and my aunts were clearing out the house they found a couple of suitcases stuffed full of old letters, receipts and other paperwork. I found Gran’s love letters to Grandpa which she sent in 1939 whilst she was completing her nursing training at Birmingham General Infirmary. They made me cry, partly because her writing had hardly changed and she wrote such beautiful, gossipy letters about general nursing and the things she had been up to. I always knew she adored Grandpa, but these letters make it clear just how much she loved him and is saddens me that after he died in 1984 she had to spend another 24 years without him before she was reunited with him in heaven.

In these treasure-trove suitcases there were loads of newspapers, ‘Thought for the Day’ cuttings, photos etc. but the things that really interested me were from the German Occupation of Guernsey. From June 1940 – May 1945 the Channel Islands were occupied by the Nazi’s. Many of the children from the island were evacuated to mainland England and the adults and children that stayed lived under unbelievable hardship. This week I took Peterson to the Occupation Museum. It’s an unbelievable little place and would appear to be to life-work of one man who seems to run it single-handedly. The museum is stuffed full of information, memorabilia, German uniforms, guns, cooking equipment, photos and basic equipment that was developed by the local islanders to try and keep their lives running as normally as possible. There are cooking pans fashioned from tin-cans and recipes for delicacies such as Parsnip Coffee as the islanders were on such limited food rations they had to be creative. This period of history fascinates me as I know my grandparents lived through the Occupation years and somehow I feel drawn to try and understand their experiences.

My Gran was dually qualified (midwifery and general nursing trained) and as a result she was asked to go and live in Sark as they did not have any medical personnel over there. So, sometime at the end of 1941, despite the fact that she was in the early stages of pregnancy, she and my Grandpa travelled over to live on Sark.

So, back to Gran’s suitcases of goodies. The suitcases contained some letters from the Dame of Sark, Sybil Hathaway who, by all accounts was a real character and did not take too kindly to being bossed around by the Germans. Over the next few days I will try to share some of these letters, as they are fascinating, the early ones have a distinctly business-like feel to them, but these clearly develop into a fondness for my Gran, or “Nurse” as the Dame likes to call her. I found them to be an interesting perspective on what was a truly horrifying time.

Anyway, here are some pics from the week away.


Endings and hats

Picture 336 Today has been a good, if slightly strange day.

This evening the majority of my large extended family congregated at my Gran’s house. My Gran Nora died in February and her house is now on the market so today was possibly the last opportunity we would have to get together as a family. So, we all arrived, ordered a large quantity of fish and chips and commenced on the wine. Also my aunts and mum had been up to the house to put out all the stuff (ornaments, jewellery, crockery, cutlery etc.) for everyone to go through and see if they wanted anything. Admittedly the vast majority of it was utter crap, but there were a few lovely bits and pieces.

I got a nice few bits, a vase, some plates, a couple of beaded necklaces and a few books, including one fabulous one called “Doris’s High School Days” which I thought was particularly appropriate. It’s not that I particularly wanted lots, just a couple of things to have as momentoes of my Gran. I have to admit that I found parts of the evening really hard. As I don’t live on the island this weekend was the first time I have been back to Gran’s house since she died. I really miss her, but at the same time I know that she is in a far better place. But it was still strange to be there without her.

Possibly one of the funniest bits of the evening came when we opened up Gran’s marvellous hat box. She had loads of hats dating back to the fifties and before I knew it everyone was wearing one and insisting we all went outside for photos. I haven’t laughed with my family so much for ages and they just reminded me how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful, loving and close family. We also saw an amazing rainbow… just beautiful.


Gran Nora…


Dorothy Le Tissier …. “Gran Nora”…. 1915 – 2008

Tonight my lovely Gran Nora died and went to be with Jesus. Whilst she had been poorly at Christmas after a fall I thought she was getting a bit better so it came as a real shock.

Gran Nora was an amazing woman and I loved her very, very much. She was stubborn to the end though and not always the easiest person when she was told to do something she didn’t want to do! (something that was becoming increasingly common as she became more poorly!) At least she no longer has any pain and I guess now we can rest secure in the knowledge that she is with her beloved husband Clarence and her son Stephen who died a few years ago, not to mention the fact that she is with her Saviour. Gran Nora lived through the occupation of Guernsey during the second world war with an unwavering faith that endured to the end. She has always been an inspiration to me… and of course I still think I was her favourite granddaughter!

I miss her already.

“Jesus said… ‘I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies,
and whoever lives and believes in me will not die.”
– John 11:25-26