As I tell you the story of my locksmith journey its important I tell you about myself as well. I have already covered a small part of my childhood and if you read that post you will realise that my grandparents were a massive part of my life. My Grandma is one of the most important people in my life – as crazy she is. Now before anyone reads this post, I will make you aware that if you are easily offended then stop reading now!

I was the first grandchild to arrive for Joan and Les Bryan and I was simply adored, some people might disagree but I always think the first grandchild to come along has a special relationship with their grandparents. The first grandchild makes them grandparents, before that they were just parents.

baby alex

I obviously can’t remember that much about when I was really young but there are plenty of photos which show I spent a lot of time with them. I wasn’t alone for to long, it was only a couple of years before “the others” came along. By others I mean other grandchildren – meh! As I got older I remember camping holidays in the touring caravan to Grange over Sands where we would spend our time making friends, playing in the woods, swimming in the sea –  not far from Sellafield – I swear I still glow in the dark and begging to sleep in the awning then having to pick earwigs out of our sleeping bag every morning. They then upgraded to a static caravan in Silloth and we enjoyed every summer playing bingo at the lido, snogging the locals and building fires on the beach – happy days.   Now as much as I love the bones of the woman, she was certainly not the easiest person to live with. I have understood this more as I have gotten older. Its funny as a child you look at people you love with rose tinted glasses on, its only when you get older that you look at those people and realise that there weren’t actually the person you thought they were. In my eyes as a little girl my grandma was perfect. She knitted clothes for my dolls, baked cakes and let us eat the raw cake mixture, in my young eyes she was perfect.

My grandma was 69 when my granda died suddenly of a heart attack. It was an awful time but she just got on with it. I visited regularly and often took friends over with me – at the end of the day it was a 132 mile round trip and it gets a bit boring after a while. My grandma dealt with being along quite well, she occupied herself in the house and garden, went up town, watched TV, smoked (lots) and drank large quantities of tea, I do think she was extremely lonely though and it makes me sad now to think of her sitting alone in her house. She didn’t have any friends that I knew of, I don’t know whether this was because she spent all her time with my granda or whether it was just because she was a pain in the arse.

As she got older is became apparent that she was going to need a bit of help with things such as shopping, gardening, cleaning etc. Now for anyone who has ever met grandma they will know that there is no one on earth that is as stubborn as that woman! So about 8 years ago I started going across every fortnight to take her for a “big” shop to Asda and she would pop out for essentials (tabs and t bags) during the week. As she got older and she struggled to go out by herself I got her a wheelchair and I would go weekly to take her to Asda, do some cleaning, potter about in the garden – see how the list is getting longer!?!?! As I mentioned earlier as a little girl I thought my grandma was perfect, as a grown woman dealing with her and seeing at times her true colours I could have quite easily throttled her. In fact when we argued I have been known to shout at her “it won’t be old age that kills you, it will be me, with my bare hands”. She would then tell me to piss off! For anyone that looks after or cares for an elderly relative then I 100% empathise with your situation and for those that don’t then you have no idea how mentally and emotionally difficult it is.

It sounds like all doom and gloom and it’s really not, I would still probably do it all again. Grandma is in a care home now over here in the North East now so the pressure on me is off. I get to enjoy her company again. Its been a horrendous 4/5 years since her mental health started to deteriorate and its been a difficult journey to get her where we are today. In the early days its easy to put a change in character down to old age and there is little to no support for someone who owns their own home and even though I was running backwards and forward to Carlisle 2 -3 -4 times a week I wasn’t classed as her carer so I was not entitled to any help either. Its a horrible situation but one you just get on with.

She might be old but she loves a selfie!!!


I will leave this post with a story which happened about 4 years ago and still makes me laugh to this day, this should give you an idea of what I was dealing with on a weekly basis – I swear you couldn’t make this shit up!!

I arrive at grandmas as per usual, the plan is to have a tidy up then go and get her shopping in like I do every week. Carlisle had just opened a huge new Sainsbury’s store just round the corner from where grandma lived so it was great. It was during the summer time and was nice and warm but I left my grandma huddled over her gas fire puffing way on a tab. Both of these activities used to worry me sick. Anyway I get all her shopping in, including tabs, t bags and cream cakes – life’s essentials, in all the time I did her shopping I didn’t buy her a single vegetable.  Normal people would die – Grandma lives on like a medical miracle. Any hoo I have been about 30 minutes and I’m heading back – all is calm and my anxiety (that’s a completely different post) is all under control until I turn in to her street. This is where everything starts to go in slow motion – there is not 1 but 2 fire engines parked outside my grandma’s house, lights flashing, firemen every where. I abandon my car and leg it full pelt up her drive expecting to find that her 100% polyester trousers have caught alight and she has been cremated where I left her. This is not the case as the fireman who practically rugby tackled me to the ground explained. Grandma was fine, in fact she was sat where I left her enjoying a nice cup of tea and chatting away to a fireman. What had actually happened was that she had reached over to get the remote and the cuff on her jumper had somehow set off the alarm on her little clock she kept on her table, thinking it was the smoke alarm she promptly rang 999 and advised them her house was burning down – oh the shame!! In all fairness they were absolutely brilliant, they carried out an assessment of her home and took notes of the key safe number just in case there was ever another call to her home. I was suitably mortified!

Till next time

Alex xxx






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