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My Awsome Gifts From Grandma!


It’s true what they say; that grandmothers have a bigger influence over a family than anyone else in it. In almost every culture and sub-group you will find, grandparents are revered, even more than parents. It doesn’t matter who you are. Mess with someone’s granny (even your own!) and the outcome will never be good.

I owe so very much of who I am to my Grandma and namesake-in-pen, Annie (Cook). The sad thing for me is that I never knew her as well as I wanted to.

My parents took me away from her, when I was a baby, and moved us to the other side of the world. So I grew up without her and all of my extended family. My mother told me a lot about her, over the years, and I started getting to know even more about her in my twenties after I travelled to England and stayed with her for a while. Tragically, she had a stroke not long after I got there, and her ability to communicate was compromised. She died before I ever got to have the relationship with her that I wanted.

But I did learn a lot, in the short time we had together. I got to know a woman who was – on the outside at least – brusque in the extreme, and prickly to the point where her grown-up children were mostly just frustrated with her. I’m not sure if any of them ever really understood her, but I don’t think she knew how to let them! When I first started getting to know her, she was always blunt, and often rude to me, because most of what she knew about me before I showed up there had come from my mother, who never had anything positive to say about me to anyone, not even to her own mother!

But, beneath her often-abrasive exterior, my Grandma Annie was a resourceful and determined woman. She had a wicked, dry sense of humour, and the broadest Lancashire accent on the planet, which periodically had me in fits of laughter or scratching my head with confusion! She would stomp around the city of Preston like a steamroller on steroids, and I often had to run to keep up with her! I once lost sight of her in a crowded cafe by the bus station, but I quickly found her when she stood up, hands on hips, rolling her eyes like I was the imbecile of the century!

Annie had a headful of home remedies (spells) that could fill a book, and she’d make a mean Lancashire hotpot with delicious dumplings from the most meagre group of ingredients. She called a spade a spade, and she never suffered a single fool. (There were many times where I could see exactly who my mother had got her impatience and intolerance from!)

Annie had learned to do a lot with very little because she’d had a pretty hard time of things. I don’t know much about her early life, but I do know that she brought up five kids, more or less by herself, all through the second world war and long after, because she also had to deal with a permanently disabled husband who came home from that war with a chest full of shrapnel, and no ability to work to provide for his family. Annie scrubbed floors to make ends meet, until she was too old to get down on her knees.

I get my resilience from her, I think. I have to thank her profoundly, for that, because I’ve certainly had my own challenges over the years, after being brought up by parents who were literally incapable of nurture or expressing positive emotion. I’m an intuitive empath, and I think I have always been that way, and it has always been incredibly hard. Children don’t understand why they’re emotional, or why everything around them affects them, or that negative energy (especially if its directed towards them) makes them physically and mentally ill. I didn’t understand it, and nor did my parents. They had no idea how to help me, and neither did anyone else, so I grew up in a vacuum, wishing I had brothers and sisters, and wishing I could spend time with my grandmother; my one surviving grandparent, because intuitively – even though I’d only met her very briefly when I was eleven, when my mother took me ‘home’ to England for a month or so, to meet my family – I felt that she would have understood me when nobody else did.

Grandma once made me put my feet into a bowlful of hot water and mustard seeds, and other bizarre ingredients I don’t really remember (eye of newt and tongue of toad perhaps...), to draw my heavy head-cold out through my feet. I do remember that her hideous potion worked, and while we were waiting for that to happen, the conversation came around to the intangible notion of white witchery. I remember her telling me that there was no such thing as magic. Everything was explainable. Everything. The help or harm you could do was direct and very real, and the world offered you those chances all the time. It was really all down to what you chose to do with what you were given.

At the time, I didn’t really know what that meant, and I wasn't in a place in my own head where I could have paid the kind of attention her words and wisdom deserved. As a consequence, the knowledge and insight that she gave me, about so many different things, was slow to evolve. But when a lot of things did start falling into place in my head like the gift and passion I have for healing with natural remedies, I began to embrace the ability I often have to understand what’s going  on in people’s bodies without any formal medical training, and the ability I often have to intuit what people do, think and mean. That was when I realised how much she’d actually taught me. What is completely extraordinary is that she never did it within a framework of strangeness. Everything she knew and talked about was well within the framework of reality and practicality. She knew what to do, she knew how to help people and, having never actually studied anything in her entire life, she just did it as second nature. She was gifted, but more or less overlooked, as so many men and women of her generation were. They all had much to teach us, and we are fortunate indeed, if we took it onboard and let it influence us in positive ways.

Annie's 'take' on life compelled me to study the realm of natural therapies, remedies and the raw and almighty power of vibrational energy for physical and emotional healing. When I look back now, I do believe it was also Annie who planted the seed that ultimately compelled me to go to University in later life and study psychology. I was overwhelmingly driven, to make sense of things in whatever way I could. As the indomitable force she was, I believe my grandmother was the only person in my life who saw or cared what I was capable of, and could instil that drive in me. The great thing was that she did it like she did so much else – subtly, without drama, pressure or expectation.

The end result is a woman who’s lurching towards old age herself, here, but who is bursting with the kind of knowledge of the human body and spirit and how to heal it, that can fill a fair few books! So I’m getting on with my newly-discovered passion for offering warmth, and even a little inspiration perhaps, through writing stores of hope, healing, and making more meaningful lives.

To people who want to read about such things as natural powers, and the ability they all have, to heal the hurting, I hope the Teapot Cottage stories inspire you. They are filled with hope, humour, real-life experiences, always focussed on healing from trauma of different kinds, and always with that 'little bit of magic' thrown in, that isn't really magic at all, but God-given nature in her very best brilliance. Go and spend some time with Adie Raven and her friends in the Lake District where most people are friendly and welcoming, because they've learned what's important in life.

And, as a respectful and loving nod to my gorgeous grandmother, who lived and died without ever being fully appreciated or understood, I am using her maiden name as my pen name, and I hope she doesn’t mind.

Annie was absolutely right. The various forms of vibrational medicine and healing out here in this magnificently well-equipped world are not magic, or anything to be feared. They are basic scientific realities that have been around and working for thousands of years. More people can benefit from them, if they open their minds and hearts to the positive elements of them.

I wish I’d had longer with my Grandma. I wish I could have grown up with her, and learned more from her. It is the biggest regret of my life that I didn’t have that chance. But I'm still incredibly proud of my Lancashire roots, and the heritage I have from my ancestors who have passed the 'magic' down through the ages. Happily, as I step further into my own true light, I feel Annie around me a lot more. I think she's a little bit proud of me, and sometimes (usually when I least expect it), a quiet but strident 'Lanky' voice comes through from somewhere in the background saying;

‘For God’s bloody sake, lass! Time don’t stop, th’ knows! Stop yer blitherin’ an’ mytherin, an’ just get on wi’ it! Books don’t write their bloody selves!’’




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