First published on this blog on 19 February 2013
…. there was a little old lady. (I know she was little and old because my Grandmother told me about her). She had lived in the same house for many years. It was a small house, on the edge of a field, on the edge of a very large north-eastern city, on the edge of a large navigable river. It was a peaceful spot, and although there were no luxuries there the little old lady loved her house and the solitude was a great source of enjoyment.
One day there was a war. It was over some land that was far away, and it all seemed very unreal. Bad things were said in the newspapers and on the radio, not that the little old lady read them because she didn’t buy newspapers, and she didn’t hear them, because she didn’t have a radio. (She didn’t have a TV either, but then very few people had even heard of a TV in those days.) She knew there was a war, though, because her grandson had to go and fight in it.
The war continued for much longer than anyone had hoped. Gradually things became more and more difficult and soon enemy aircraft were passing over and dropping bombs on the large north-eastern city. The little old lady was very scared. Someone kindly came and told her that she needed an Anderson Shelter in her garden, and someone else kindly came and built it for her, but it didn’t make her feel any safer. She was often scared on her own, and needed comfort. When the planes passed over she would sit in her kitchen and drink tea, it was more comforting than being in the shelter on her own.
Her teapot was covered with a tea-cosy. She had knitted it long ago when her husband was still alive and her son was small. It was a link with the past, and she would sit and stroke the tea-cosy as she sat in her kitchen, remembering the days before the bombs, when everyone was safe at home. There was much comfort in that old and stained cosy, which was warm from the tea.
One day the bombs were louder and even nearer than ever. She was very scared. The tea didn’t taste too good today, probably because she was so scared, but the cosy was still warm and soft. Without thinking she removed it from the pot and popped it onto her head. She relaxed a little as the warmth eased her thoughts and the planes passed over and away. She was still safe. From that day on she wore the tea-cosy until the war ended and her grandson was home safe and sound. I remember my Grandmother telling me this story, and although I laughed at the thought of an old lady wearing such a thing on her head, I realised that it was told with great love and affection for an old friend.
I was reminded of the story yesterday when I read this post.