My second post on this blog was titled simply Annie Souter:
Today is the eleventh anniversary of the death of my wonderful Granny, Annie Souter. She was the most patient, gentle and kind lady. I spent such a lot of time with her as a young child. I have no idea how she coped with having to look after a toddler at the age of nearly seventy when she lived at the top of a block of flats with no lift and treacherous stairs, but she never gave me any indication that having me around was anything less than a total pleasure.
She was fun to be around. She spent so much time reading stories to me and giving me lots of things (like bubble gum and Mandy and Judy comics) that I wasn't allowed at home. She loved her cups of tea, served in china cups, made in a metal teapot. She would so disapprove of the way I nonchalantly steep my Earl Grey teabag in a mug. She loved her tea with the kind of passion I reserve for red wine and dark chocolate. If she ever thought there was going to be a tea or sugar shortage she would fill her cupboards, probably causing the shortage. But then she had lived through two world wars, so she knew about scarcity.
Her unconditional love and gentle nurturing did me untold good and I will never forget her.She had had in many ways a very difficult life but she just got on with it. She accepted everyone as they were, warts and all, and was probably the kindest, non judgemental person I've ever come across in my life. When we moved to Wick, 120 miles away from both of my grandmothers in Inverness, I honestly felt that my heart had been cut out. It was horrible to be apart from them.
However, Granny came up several times a year, on the bus, or we went and picked her up. With her, until 1982, was her cairn terrier, Cheeky. Everything felt a lot better when she was around, although she got the brunt of my troubled teenage angst and frustration at times.
I'm thinking today of my aunt and uncle, who are in Seattle visiting my cousin Michael. I remember his simple, but beautiful bunch of lilies at her funeral with his handwritten tribute talking about smiles, stories and cups of tea. He was spot on.