Scrubbing Brushes and Tabards

I remember my Nanny and Grandfather Holliday with the most incredible amount of love. They were the most enormous influence in my life and I know my siblings and cousins are with me on this.

My Nan encouraged my love for the arts, ballet and musicals. I remember fondly watching Fred and Ginger movies and playing records on her radiogram whilst dancing around the house with pots and pans as our tuneful instruments. She loved all sports too and my brother knowledge and skill in cricket, football and golf were primarily passed on from my Nan’s love of sport too.

Her influence on my interest in politics started with basically fancying Paddy Ashdown! But her sense of fairness and community fuelled my love of the Liberal Party.

I get so caught up with my own problems that helping others is often difficult to do, but with the cut in funding, this is something we can all do to help our Communities.

Unusual for their day, my Nan was a divorcee with a child, the love story whilst in service with my Grandfather is worthy of a movie but with her second marriage came a second pregnancy and she knew her time in service must come to an end. My Nanny and Grandfather with 2 children were offered a Council house in Rivenhall and they were overjoyed and hugely grateful for the fortune of having signed a tenancy to this house.

They moved a few times, I remember Hall Rise with fondness, birthday parties and having an almost state burial march around the brick shed for igipig the guinea pig. Their house was always immaculate and I loved school holidays where I could spend a day with my Nanny on her wash day with the twin tub. The pride in their property puts us to shame really and even though I am a bit of a clean freak, Nanny and Grandfathers home was always clean, homely and always smelt of delicious baking, I am embarrassed to say I am a terrible cook so didn’t inherit this quality.

My Grandfather was the kindest person I have ever met, I remember looking up to him so much and the turnout at his funeral was a testament to the character that he was, a gentle giant, a gentleman. Their last council house was in Witham in a retirement bungalow and as always was homely; it almost cuddled you as you walked in the door. But the garden was my grandfather’s domain and was a thing of beauty. Firstly there was the peach tree, this was tended with love and care and the produce was like nothing I have tasted, no peach has tasted the same and abit like my Nan’s Christmas Pudding, we have been totally spoilt and have been unable to recreated, or even get close to how the peaches tasted and how my Nanas Christmas pudding tasted.

The front garden had 6 hydrangea bushes that were beautiful, he tended them with so much love and attention, Grandfather was very proud these and his beautiful roses and their front garden were a beautiful. I remember my Nan in a curler, hairnet and tabard scrubbing her doorstep daily, the polished Cardinal Red doorstep was a lovely welcome. They were so proud of their house and so grateful for what they had been given.

So fast forward 30 years and we are now in an age where our grass verges cannot get cut purely because the Council budget has been cut and there isn’t money in the pot to do this. I drive along, in the most amazing part of the country and I am so saddened by the decline in our verges but also in the state of our own front gardens.

So is there something we can all do? Could we start tending to what is simply on our doorstep. So if there is a grass verge that maybe was maintained but isn’t any more, can you cut it?? If there is an elderly neighbour who can no longer tend to their garden, could you help??

I have a few things I am thinking about to help my local area but really think this is something we could all do so easily even a small offer of help could make a massive difference. I understand that it is so frustrating when previously some verges had been on the agenda and included in a budget before but I also understands that our local councils are beholden to the cuts from central government, so these decisions are unlikely to be changed, therefore I am happy to suck it up and help where I can and help keep our villages beautiful, but we all need to be in it together – are you with me on this? Can you help me with this as if I am honest I have no idea where to start!! If you have any ideas how I can encourage others to join my plight please please email with information and advice. Let’s keep our Country beautiful x


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