I remember sitting all day outside Penshurst Place waiting for someone to buy a biscuit from the table I had set up. I must have been about ten, and nobody had briefed me on how to sell my biscuits. I loved sweet things (most of which were forbidden by you) so it was impossible to imagine that people wouldn’t buy them. You came to collect me and saw that I hadn’t sold a single biscuit.
I remember sitting all day outside Penshurst Place waiting for someone to buy a biscuit from the table I had set up. I must have been about ten, and nobody had briefed me on how to sell my biscuits. I loved sweet things (most of which were forbidden by you) so it was impossible to imagine that people wouldn’t buy them. You came to collect me and saw that I hadn’t sold a single biscuit.
Your solution was to park your car in front of the exit gate, in such a way that nobody could get out without first visiting my ‘shop’. Two things: you were very entrepreneurial and the biscuit episode was a memorable lesson; but more importantly, you were always enthusiastic about all the things I tried to do.
I remember getting onto a wild Russian horse—I think I was eight—and vaguely wondering if this was a good idea. Also, as a teenager, you made me eat fish lips (yes, LIPS) in a very dodgy shack in northern Thailand. You never took ‘no’ for an answer, you only ever encouraged me to say yes to life. ‘Have a go!’ you used to say, even when I begged you not to send me to some horrible summer school outside Bordeaux to learn French. I was fairly sulky about the whole experience, but I shall always be grateful that I became fluent in French (and quite good in Italian, especially if I’m talking to goldsmiths in Arezzo!).
I remember watching a local heavy taking a sledgehammer to your VW Beetle on the morning after the great storm of 1987. Oddly enough, you had invited him to batter your car. Turns out your intention was to claim the insurance. When you found out that you had got ‘third party only’ on the car (now seriously dented), you roared with laughter for days! You were always able to see the funny side. That’s why so many people loved being with you. You never left a picnic if it started to rain.

You were quite embarrassing too. I remember you turning up at school for Parents Day with bright pink hair—maybe ok in 2021, but I can tell you in 1981 I wanted to disown you. You were also a stickler for manners, particularly table manners. Bad manners were your pet hate and you took no hostages. You were right, of course, and your grandchildren will say that this has also been the cause of some of my most dramatic meltdowns.
I wish you could know your grandchildren. I talk about you a lot with them, and I know how much they would have loved being with you. You were with me for such a short time, but somehow you managed to teach me so much in just 23 years. You were kind, generous, full of life. You were my rock, my confidante, and if I could achieve just a little bit of this for your grandchildren I will feel proud.

I miss you every day, but every day you make me smile.
MORE TO EXPLORE


MOTHER’S DAY
GIFT EDIT

Shop now


HELPING
HANDS

Shop now


BUILD A
CHARM BRACELET

Shop now
This website uses cookies. We use our own and 3rd party cookies on this site to improve your experience and for personalised advertising. By clicking accept you consent to our use of cookies, or you can read our privacy policy and change your preferences here.