The colourful life of my Nanny
My Nanny hadn’t always been big and jolly. When she was a young girl she was slim, sexy and jolly. I’ve seen the photos.
She was brought up in the little Lancastrian town of Ingleton in the shadow of Mount Ingleborough.
Sadly her mother died when she was only twelve and her father remarried in order to get someone to look after the eight children. The woman he married was a staunchly religious woman, very stern and severe. Every day was bible and everything had to be just so. My Nanny disliked the regime and rebelled. Her own mother had been warm and friendly. This new ‘mother’ was a religious fanatic and a bit of a harridan.
My Nanny ran away from home and, still in her early teens, managed to get employment at a hospital in the laundry.
A travelling circus came to town and she was taken with the fairground boxer. He would enter the ring to box all-comers. All the local hardnuts would be tempted to take him on to show how tough they were. They’d pay for the privilege with the promise of big rewards if they floored him and he’d play with them before flattening them.
My Nanny, still a young slip of a girl, fell in love and ran off with the boxer.
They toured round the country from the north to the south, playing the fairgrounds, flattening the tough guys and living a life on the road.
My nanny became pregnant and was left in Portsmouth. The boxer left her with his cups, cups that he’d won from his fighting. She pawned them to support herself. It was in Portsmouth that she met up with her future husband. My Grandfather had just been released from the navy and took her and the baby on. Though I think there was always some bad feeling towards my Uncle. He never seemed to fully accept him.
My Nanny had four children but one died of a cot death. She developed gynecological problems and had to have a hysterectomy that nearly killed her. After that she put on weight.
I have fond memories of her sitting on the sofa with me in the early sixties watching Little Richard in a documentary on the TV. Sweat was flying and Richard was rocking. So was my big old Nanny. She loved it! She was full of spirit and mischief.
I think that’s where I get my rebellious wildness from and love of life.