At “Grand Mama’s Court”
When we look back upon our childhood, all memories come to us through a haze of mystery. Everything seems larger, deeper, further off, full of unraveled possibilities, unexplained…
In later life things never come to us quite in this way. And looking back, I see Queen Victoria or Grand Mama ‘Grand Mama Queen’ as we used to call her to distinguish her from other Grand mama in far-off Russia who was ‘Grand Mama Empress’.
And I see ‘Grand Mama Queen’ come towards me down the long, long corridor leaning on her stick. She is all in botchy black silk with a white widow’s cap on her head and she is a tiny weeny old lady, quite, quite small. Tap, tap, goes her stick… and as the long Windsor corridor has a bend in it I hear the tap, tap long before I see her herself and it is extraordinary how the tap, tap of, that stick could make our children’s hearts beat. Then she was there before us and though she was tiny, we were in those days tinier still and she bent towards us to kiss our foreheads whilst we kissed her hand. Continue reading »