Savouring our world
Yesterday we had planned to go say goodbye to Nain, my last surviving grandparent. Surviving being the operative word - it is her forte. Tenacity is a river that flows through the Gibbs family at a pace which is often bewildering to those who stand near it. The sole source of this torrent of tenaciousness is my family's incredible matriarch, Nain. At 89 she is mother to 5, Grandmother to 15 and Bear is her 19th great-grandchild. I cannot fully comprehend or articulate the hardships that the elders of our current time faced, nor will I explain Nains full story, but lets just say that, if there was a back foot to start on in the period between the 2 world wars, Nain had to climb a mountain just to get to it. What she has achieved and the family she has raised is nothing short of awesome - and she has done it with a perpetual positivity and a staunch stoicism that wears an ever playful, joyful, youthful even, grin (probably down to her brutal and hilarious honesty). Unfortunately she has been in hospital for a few weeks now, old age and an incredibly tough life are taking their toll. Last Monday dad and his siblings were urgently called to her side by the doctors. Tearily they spent the afternoon next to her bed saying goodbye. They stayed into the evening, eventually leaving her in peace late on monday night, all assuming she would creep out under the cover of darkness. In the morning they returned to find her sat up eating biscuits and combing her hair. The boss of tenacity. After that remarkable recovery we had planned to make the trip to see her on Sunday (yesterday). Sadly dad rung me on Saturday afternoon to say there wasn't a lot of point in making the long trip, she is unconscious again and unlikely to recover this time - better to send her loving gratitude and remember her as she would of liked, full of life.
So we did. And made a plan for a family day out - a day to appreciate our unit and be grateful for the world we have. We opted for the coast. Bella was born and raised in Weymouth, so her heart is happiest with grains of sand stuck to it. Aria has inherited her love for the beach and I'm a big kid that can think of not much better than digging holes and building castles. Bear's never been but heard wind there'd be milk so he was keen as mustard, and Timber, well he's a typical dog and loves everything except the hoover. We thought we'd investigate the Gower coast, as by all accounts it's a sin that we hadn't already. Oxwich Bay got our vote. Conveniently it's about 5 minutes from the airport and since it's such a beautiful blue sky day I thought it'd be good to stop by and say hi to all the folk at the club.... and get another theory exam ticked off. They don't take long and Aria loves it down there - can't think why but she's fascinated with planes. Bear was happy to go too as again, he'd heard there'd be milk available. I phoned ahead on route to get my Principles of flight exam set up - I am confident that I've absorbed all of the subject. We arrived to the busiest tiny airport I've ever seen. There isn't a plane idle on the apron. The taxi way is full, the circuit is busy and the skydivers are dropping like spring hail. I was right, I'd absorbed all of the subject - a 100% of it. It was done in a jiffy and when I'd finished Bella and Aria had made new friends in the club house so I took the opportunity to gnaw the ears off a couple of intrigued drop ins. Today it was my turn to play the eccentric aviation enthusiast, doing my best Woody Harrelson impersonation, dressed in shorts, Hawaiian shirt, John Deere cap and flip flops with multi coloured painted nails (thanks Aria - and Bella for not mentioning she didn't have remover).
Placed centrally between the airport and Oxwich Bay is the Gower Inn, a perfect spot to refuel. It has a dog friendly beer garden, and good food. The girls and I wolfed our food down but Bear hadn't had enough milk yet, so me and Aria went and skimmed stones in the stream near by. We returned to Bear still feeding, so sat watching, the aircraft turning onto finals above us. When the boy was eventually satisfied we headed on.
Oxwich Bay is perfect. It's stunning. A beautiful wooded flank throws the most magnificent rocks down into the western edge of the bay. The green there and the brilliant blue above gave the sea that very unbritish iridescent turquoise colour. We had a blast. Aria and I dug a massive hole, Timber ran in excited circles, Bear had more milk. I threw copious sticks into the sea, Aria made friends and they all took turns to pick up a rotting dogfish. Bella fed Bear a bit more - when he finally let her go, she dipped her toes in the sea, then we caught our reluctant daughter and headed home.
Dad called on the drive back... to arrange the work schedule for the following day. I asked how's Nain? "Oh yeh, she's come round. She's up and devouring strawberry yoghurt"
She is the big boss of tenacities boss. I am so grateful to her for this wonderful life that she fought for, and the traits she has given us.