Grandads …and (one) other small stuff

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks, so I’ve not got to this page very much and when I have started writing I’ve always out-thought myself afterwards and erased what I started.  But I kept the last thing I did, because I rather enjoy the nostalgia thing… and you can see what that is below.

Before I get there let me pat myself (and my wife) on the back: We managed to complete the patio area in our backyard in record time – we had a party scheduled and we needed to finish by last weekend.  I’ve mentioned in past video blogs how barren it was out there but it’s not so barren now.  We did it all ourselves in the early mornings and evenings (with a couple of days thrown in when I rented a Bobcat – that was fun) and I especially want to thank the weather gods who gave us the coolest summer in years, without which we would never have done what we did… it was exhausting.

The party was partly to entertain our friends but also to celebrate a very good friend’s birthday.  His partner was in her ninth month of pregnancy and I think we only just got the party done in time… more later…

But first, the blog I intended to post several days ago, but never finished:


I missed out here… I’m not unique, I know that, but if there’s something I would have wished to have more of in my life, it’s the living experience of having a grandfather.  My grandfathers existed, of course – both of them (well, duh!).  But my father’s died a few years before I was born, and my mother’s when I was nine months old.

I don’t have any photographs of my father’s dad, he was a doctor (like my dad), but here’s one of my mother’s father—>

He was a commodore in the Merchant Navy, lost his ship to a German U-Boat in the Mediterranean during one of the Malta Convoys in WWII, made friends with the German captain of that U-Boat after the war and was later awarded the OBE by King George VI.  Now those were just a few of his life experiences… imagine the stories he’d have told.  I know he cared about me and there’s a picture somewhere of him holding me in his arms – but, darn it, he died shortly after the picture was taken.

I mention all this because the blogger known as ‘The Literate Housewife’ just lost her grandfather, and it made me think… She provides such a moving tribute to him on her website that I became a little jealous.  Not for her pain in the loss, of course, but because of the years of companionship and fun she must have had and the stories she must have heard.

I haven’t missed out entirely on the experience, though.  My wife’s grandfather died only a couple of years ago – he made it to twelve days past his 100th birthday!  His grand-daughter and I had been married several years when he died and although he lived somewhere north of Seattle we did visit on a number of occasions (should have been more, I know – but kids today… they don’t call, they don’t visit…).Born in 1907, Warren lived a long and very full life and he loved to tell stories about his experiences – and, oh my, he really could tell stories… sometimes at great length.  His favorite was the story of  ‘The Cougar and the Blueberry Pie’! Perhaps one day I’ll put it in print… if I can remember it all.

My own dad would have loved to be a grandfather, I’m sure, but he missed out by almost a year.  I’m hoping to be a grandfather myself one day – although (note to sons) I’m not in that much of a hurry.

Some people have quite a ways to go… and that brings me back to my very good friend whose 56th birthday we celebrated last weekend.  Last Thursday he became a father for the first time (three weeks earlier than expected).

This little fellow (the ‘small stuff’ mentioned in the blog title – he was 4lbs 3oz) may one day be a grandfather himself… Hope he has lots of great stories to tell his grandkids.

Take Care

About Simon

Simon is an actor who found his way into audiobook narrating as a side-gig and seems to have made a success of it. With some training as an actor as a child (just a couple of hours a week, but it stuck) and 15 years working inside the BBC (ending up as one of the presenters/newsreaders on BBC Radio 4 in London) he found the ideal combination for an audiobook narrator. Found his way to California two decades ago and never left.

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5 Responses to Grandads …and (one) other small stuff

  1. Cynthia September 18, 2014 at 4:55 am #

    Hi Simon, you are the best. Instead of looking for audiobooks by subject or author, I look for you. I just wanted to give you a little constructive criticism. When doing an American tone down the “R’s”. I know we are strong on that letter but, we’re not that strong.

    You’re still the best.

    Peace and Love.

  2. Jennifer September 1, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    Hi Simon, I just finished Stone’s Fall. Outstanding and thank you very much. For vblog #7, how about a tour of your new garden (with tips for a “green thumb”) and patio! Onward now to A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement.

  3. Jason August 31, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    Hi Simon thanks for sharing this little glimpse into your family.

    I should tell you that I’m listening to CHURCHILL’s EMPIRE by Richard Toye and hearing about your granddad is a nice compliment to the story.
    I bet it would have been quite interesting talking to him (over tea perhaps?) about the great wars, Lloyd George, Churchill, etc.

    Thanks again for sharing this story,

  4. Susie Levin August 29, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    Hi Simon,

    I just listened to The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.

    I can’t tell you how much I loved listening to both, twice. I also loved your reading for The Black Tower.

    How many times have you been asked how you keep track of the character’s voices? And how do you?

    I host a thread on amazon’s Mystery Discussion Community, NBIE 2, Nordic/British/Irish/euro crime. I’d love it if you stopped in, you’re welcome to talk about your work.

    I just wanted to tell you how wonderful you are, how much I enjoyed listening to you and that you have a new fan in Chicago.

    All the best,

    • Simon August 30, 2010 at 8:45 am #

      Do you have a link to that website, or is it easy to find with a google search? Glad you love the books – it helps when they’re as well written as those are. Character voices? In short I have a mental picture of the person (maybe linked to an actual actor I’ve seen) and I find it easy to keep that picture in mind as part of the cast of the book.

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