Recently my Nana passed away. Sure, make a couple of assumptions, do some quick math and you’ll probably (correctly) conclude that she’d had a pretty good innings – even Bradmanesque you might say.

    She lived more than 30 years in the digital age, and never owned a computer, sent an email, text anyone, or shared a meme. I’m pretty sure she had no regrets about that. “A waste of time” she would have said. “You’re here now, why do l need to tweet you?” And “who would fix my internet if it breaks?”

    Ah yes, practical to the end, that’s what building a new life during post-war Britain and sustaining a family on rations does to you. Still, she once gave me some sound advice that stuck with me.

    “Don’t explain, don’t explain” she would say. “If they want to know, they’ll ask.”

    Who were “they”? No-one, everyone, it didn’t really matter to her.

    Her words worked on many levels; it was partly about “them”, an instruction not to bore people or assume they were always interested in your story or excuse, but it was also about you; encouragement to be your own confident person, and not to worry about what people thought. Let them worry about themselves and you just worry about yourself.

    She didn’t say that in a mean way, in her youth communities had rallied together during the Blitz period of World War Two, at a time when neighbours, friends and workmates were being bombed or strafed. She had just simply meant for us grandkids to be humble, resilient and yet sure of ourselves.

    With that attitude, maybe I should have got her on the internet – she would have rocked it!

    To read the remarkable story of the Altona grandmother who built Spitfires, head to:

    Derek Green,
    Managing Editor, The Westsider

    Derek Green
    Derek Green
    I'd rather die wandering than die wondering. Read more of my travel escapades at:

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