My Gran was born on 15th October 1911 in the East End of London. She had twelve children, six girls and six boys, all survived to adulthood. She outlived her husband by twenty years. She had red hair and the fiery temper that is associated with redheads and Londoners. Her laugh was infectious as was her wit. My dad was always scared of her despite being a good foot taller and twice her weight. I think that she ruled my uncles and aunts like the matriarch that she was, sometimes with terror but often with the quiet confidence of a queen who knew that she would be obeyed.
To her grand children and great grandchildren (and even a few great-great grandchildren) she was a little old lady who always had a little mischief in her eyes. I thought that she’d live forever or at least till her hundredth birthday. Sadly this was not to be.
She died today after a short illness. I can pretty much guarantee that her funeral will be the last time I see most of my extended family.