I've been really, really busy and the only way I can blog really is when I've got hours and hours stretching before me and nothing to do. I used to do my best blogging when I was babysitting, or when I woke up early on a Saturday and didn't have to be anywhere until 11pm.
Of course I can write at work on demand, or I wouldn't be a very good copywriter. But this isn't work and I don't want to write it on demand. Even if the demand is being chanted from inside my head.
Since Christmas I've been busy.
My nana passed away, before the day came up that I was planning to go and see her. I understand now why my auntie was being hazy when I asked about coming. She didn't know if my nana would still be alive.
It didn't sink in until I was on my way to the funeral, and I realised Nana wasn't going to be there. She was the one person in my dad's family that I knew the most I guess. At my Auntie Helen's funeral two years ago I stuck with her as my dad was being a crank.
Well she obviously wasn't going to be at her own funeral.
My auntie, my dad's younger sister, did the eulogy herself. She talked about going to Greaty (Great Homer Street Market) with Nana, and how Nana would have everybody laughing as she went around cracking joked and driving them down to ridiculous low prices.
My mum came to the funeral. She wasn't sure if it would be ok or not, but she started going out with my dad when she was 16, so has a lot of memories of Nana. She asked me to ask if it was ok, meanwhile my dad was asking me on the phone it would be ok if his girlfriend would be welcome at the funeral.
How should I know? I wanted to say. Instead I told him that it was his mum's funeral and so of course he should bring who he wanted.
It was all fine in the end. Funerals always are. My mum was invited to the wake afterwards and loved chatting to all my dad's family about Nana. She hasn't seen them for years. When we walked out after the coffin, I saw my mum on the back row of the church on her own, crying her eyes out.
People don't really cry in my dad's family, so she was the only one crying. (I'd been crying and stopped when I realised I'd be the only one. I thought somehow people wouldn't like it, which now I realise is stupid. Obviously they would have understood.)
Someone gave my mum a lift to the burial. I've never been to a burial before, I didn't realise there would be one until people started getting in cars again at the church. We drove to the graveyard and my auntie warned me that sometimes seeing the coffin go in the ground is the worst bit.
We got to the grave and there was a long list of names on the headstone.
My nana's daughter, who died when she was 16. My nana's brother who died in a car crash when he was 29 - on the same day. Can you imagine? Then my nana's mum and dad, and her husband.
She had a difficult life (she also had cancer when she was in her sixties) but she also travelled the world on her own and she had so many friends and stories.
At the pub afterwards, there was a woman in a huge fur coat, puffing on an e-cigarette like it was a cigar. I knew instantly who she was. My nana told me stories about a woman called Pat who was very loud and funny, who was always 'effing and blinding'.
She was hilarious. We were all laughing, remembering phrases my nana used to say. Very Liverpudlian phrases that don't really mean anything, yet somehow you know exactly what the sentiment is.
Shut up or I'll put a goose's gob on yer.
You don't know your luck 'til your hat falls off.
When you're older you go down like a cow's tail.
That cracked cow...
It's really sad that my nana had to be in hospital for so long. First because a gynecologist perforated her bowel (when he shouldn't have even been performing the procedure), leaving her unable to eat or drink for months, and then because of the cancer.
Nobody really said the word cancer, but it turns out she had two types and they were very advanced by the time it came to light. In the end it was a blessing she wasn't in any pain.
It was good to remember all her funny stories, her travels to Hong Kong, Fiji, New Zealand, Eastern Europe during the Bosnian War.
I wish I'd spent more time with her.
Now I'm off to Lidl to get some stuff to make soup, Nana would be proud.