Madge had spent the weekend in a contemplative mood, enjoying the space to do not very much. She had finished her book, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and she had been so thoroughly immersed in it, she had managed to keep away from the screens. It felt liberating to finally be able to read properly again. Losing her memory all those years ago had played havoc with reading but it seemed that she was rebuilding the skill. She was chuffed. The lovely daughter had now gifted her with a beautiful copy of Pride and Prejudice and though it didn’t promise quite such a feminist slant as far as she could tell so far, it was nonetheless a beautiful book. Gorgeously bound with gold edged pages.

In between reading and cooking, she had been thinking much of her grandmother. The next day would mark 8 years since she had died and it still seemed like only yesterday. She couldn’t believe how much life had changed since that dreadful time and she was glad that her darling Nan had not had to see it all. She would have been devastated by the news, the reports of wars and children dying. She would have been unimpressed with the government, respectful though she was about those in charge. The woman recalled a time years ago when the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown was being mocked in the media. “They shouldn’t say such bad things darling. After all, he is the prime minister.” There had been an innocence about her Nan, experienced in life as she was. Madge missed that a lot.

She missed so much about her grandmother that it was rarely possible to put it into words. She spoke of her daily, spoke to her often and she knew that all of her friends felt that they knew the tiny woman, even if they hadn’t met her. She was Dot and she was fab.

The woman allowed herself the luxury of really sitting with the memory of her nan as the sun rose and the week began. Mondays were always for what she would call her ‘post office work.’ She had been a highly organised woman who lived within her means and kept in touch by airmail with friends and family all around the world. In the old days, she would make all her calls on a Sunday, taking it in turns with relatives to make the call. Dot could talk all day on a Sunday after she had been to church and said her prayers. She had connections mainly in India, Australia, Canada and America and over the years, until she reached her 70s, she would travel to visit as often as possible. The loss of Dot had been huge, despite how diminutive she had been. Madge knew the whole family missed her.

She imagined that like herself, they missed the early morning birthday calls, and the knowledge that Dot would always remember. She remembered everyone’s birthday and it was only now that Madge could really see how that had instilled a sense of worth in people. It was important that you had been born and it was a reason to be celebrated. Madge loved that and hoped that she now conveyed some of that to her loved ones on their birthdays. She didn’t dare do a 6am rendition of happy birthday but she aimed to send messages that told people that they mattered. People do matter she thought. It’s just that sometimes, we think we don’t and therein lies the trouble. Even more trouble comes when we think we matter more than others and again, Madge thought about her Nan.

Dot had been a very steady person, keeping to her routines, eating simply and enjoying a flutter on the horses before Saturday bingo. It was one of those oddities that Madge still smiled about. Deeply devout, committed to Catholicism, always willing to place a little 25p bet on the Saturday horses. Her late wife had also loved a flutter and it was one of the connecting points between the radical feminist lesbian from an Irish family and a devout, tiny Indian woman with grey hair and a permanent set of Saints medals pinned to her jacket.

They had been sweet together and the day they had taken Dot to the casino in Leicester Square had been a highlight of their adventures. Dot had loved the experience of the casino although she had been a little confused around the roulette table as she watched people play with piles of cash chips. “What happened to the credit crunch darling?” she had asked in her Anglo Indian lilt. Madge had laughed as she so often had when she had been with her Nan. She missed that so very much.

When her late wife was given an OBE by the Queen, they had taken Dot to Buckingham Palace and it had been a dream come true. Madge had loved her wife for making that happen for her. They had laughed together that Dot kept her anorak on the whole way through the ceremony. “Lovely house darling but little chilly.” Afterwards, they had visited the Diana memorial because Dot had loved the Princess as if she had known her all her life. Now both Nan and wife were gone and life was very different for all of the world. Madge thought about them both, hanging out somewhere in the stardust. She wasn’t sure about heaven and hell and all that it entailed to believe in such, but she did like the notion of the two fabulous women who had loved her and who she had loved, sitting together, feet dangling over a cloud as they swapped tips for which horses they fancied for the race and drinking tea together. Tea had always been important.

Remembering the tea, the adventures, the smiles, the absolute love and the lessons in moderation, Madge smiled, her heart warmed. We must take time to remember, even as we sit in the present she thought. The kettle was calling. She sent out the cosmic hugs, reminded her friends that they were the treasures of her life and wished the world a hahalala week of moments that matter. The sun was up and it might just stay. Big love xx