Content editor Ben Raza’s weekly column
My Nan died last week. If you’re reading this on Thursday then I’ll be up north saying my goodbyes as you read this. I miss her already.
What I loved most about my Nan was the way she looked at the world. She was in her 80s, and yet in some ways she saw the world through a child’s eyes. And she thought the world was, well, marvellous.
Maybe that was partly down to her age. Yes, some people reach a certain age and grumble that things aren’t still as they used to be. For my Nan though, it was more amazing that the world had changed so much.
She loved chatting to my cousin Katy and being shown how to use her iPhone.
Katy’s brother David is a bit of a cook - maybe the best in the family - and the idea that a man would cook up a treat for the whole family was both completely new to Nan the first time it happened and also completely brilliant.
Nan was very much working class. The fact that my brother could be a professional musician, travelling the world and recording his own albums with top musicians, was another source of wonder. And I know that she loved to sing old songs with him.
And with me it was China. It’s now six or seven years since I went on holiday there, and yet my Nan was still talking about it the last time we chatted on the phone.
Growing up in the 1940s China must have been like another world to a young girl in Liverpool.
Nan frequently told me that she had never known anyone who had ever been there.
But Nan wasn’t someone who was closed-minded or afraid to try new things. Chinese people were part of that - she met several as she grew up, and she was forever telling me how friendly they all were.
But the idea of going to China - this exotic faraway place - was what really appealed to her.
“Take me to China Ben,” she’d often say, “Put me in your suitcase. I’ll find myself a little Chinaman to marry.”
We never did make it to China together. But she’s in a better place now.
I miss you Nan.
> I’m a bit political. Let’s keep that titbit just between us. But it’s true.
I’m not impressed by some of the shenanigans going on in education at the moment for example - but that’s a column for another time.
And whenever there’s anything going on in the NHS, my first instinct is normally to back doctors and nurses over bureaucrats and politicians.
So I was buoyed as I walked through Bedford Hospital this week and saw a large sign on the wall which read: ‘UNITE’.
“Yes,” I thought, “We should all unite. Doctors, nurses and patients. Cleaners, managers, bureaucrats and politicians.
“We all want the same thing, don’t we? We all want better care, a healthier country, a happier people.
“And if we all unite then we can make that happen. All for one and one for all. Unite!”
It cheered me up no end.
I walked past the same sign the next day. On closer inspection, it actually read ‘Unit E’.
That’s not such an inspirational slogan.
> Finally, I’m genuinely gutted to hear that Rob and Tracy Butterfield are leaving Esquires (see page 8).
The venue has been transformed since they arrived, and hopefully it will keep going from strength to strength.
Good luck to both of them - great people who have done a great job at one of my favourite places.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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