The cruet set


I never really knew my mother’s father.

All I remember: tuft of nostril hair,

spied from sitting on his knee; and a hoard

of half-hidden threepenny pieces

slipped into a sandpit outside the lido.


In pictures he looks a kind, fair man.

Worked for his only firm from 16 to 61.

Received a wedding cruet set in 1922,

inscribed "from members and friends" at his FC.

Team photograph dated 1924-25.


Found the never-used, tarnished cruet set

in my mother’s cabinet; rescued it.

My wife made it shine again like new,

saying, laughing: ‘At last! We finally

have some family silver to look after.’


Now it sits on a long-dead great-aunt’s

chest of drawers, close to the footballers

in their baggy shorts. The treasure of objects;

relatives who arrive and never go away. 

Good that my Nana still allowed him to play.


Family silver

◄ Rooftops (for Bruno Cordati)

Jubilee ►


tony sheridan

Tue 2nd Oct 2012 11:42

I enjoyed reading this. Take care, Tony.

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winston plowes

Sun 29th Apr 2012 19:52

Seem to have missed this, my loss. Full of strong imagery and nostalgic lines. Nice ending too. 'Lido' is an interesting word for me, origin - [C20: after the Lido, island bathing beach near Venice, from Latin litus shore] just sounds Yorkshire to me as does 'Gazebo' :-) Like the poem a lot Greg, keep up the good work.

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Greg Freeman

Thu 1st Mar 2012 21:09

Thanks Mike, and Dave. Ray, I did wonder about that half-hidden / buried problem, and then forgot about it! Thanks for pointing it out.

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Ray Miller

Thu 1st Mar 2012 11:35

Enjoyed very much, Greg, the last verse in particular.
I found these lines a bit mystifying

and buried

hoard of half-hidden threepenny pieces

in a sandpit outside the lido.

Firstly, buried and half-hidden kind of contradict each other, but maybe I'm being pedantic. Also, I get the impression they were placed there by the old chap, but why outside a lido, not a back garden?
I'd prefer "a" tuft of nostril hair - "a" buried hoard.

Worked for his only firm from 16 to 61.
A bit prosaic

?Team photograph dated 1924-25.
That ends up being quite a mouthful when read out loud. Maybe '24-25?

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Dave Bradley

Tue 28th Feb 2012 17:11

I liked this a lot, Greg and appreciate what you are saying. My wife would have thrown out my grandad's radio set years ago but it's still up there in the loft. People talk about things having sentimental value as if it was a weakness. Isn't the opposite true? That going through life without feeling how things connect with and reflect people is to miss out hugely.

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Mike Hilton

Tue 28th Feb 2012 13:50

Nice poem Greg. Full of images of nostalgia and different memories, a lovely picture.


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John Coopey

Sun 26th Feb 2012 23:57

Lovely images, Greg.
I too have a very limited recollection of my grandad. One story though still sits in the family memory bank that he walked from Nottigham to Doncaster to find work in the pits because he was blacked in Nottingham.

<Deleted User> (6315)

Sun 26th Feb 2012 20:56

Oh I too enjoyed this one of yours Greg..yes well done your mum for not turfing away bits and pieces..I am always being told to get rid..but I do find it hard and especially photographs..nice work Greg :)

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Sun 26th Feb 2012 15:30

Past times are so nostalgic and make us what we are at present. The problem is we can never satisfy our curiosity for those who lived before and whose genes we share. Still a part of us and yet separate at the same time.

Is this going to be a serendipity poem BTW?, there seems to be a Genie-esque quality about the silverware. Very much enjoyed. CHEERS.

(And ta very much for your kind coments on The Awakening.)

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Greg Freeman

Sun 26th Feb 2012 14:24

Thanks, Isobel. You're right, it was inspired by John Darwin's fine poem.
I've spent some time sifting through my mum's flat; for me it's like finding buried treasure on occasions, particularly among the photographs. I've learned a lot about my family; well done, Mum, for not throwing anything away! The lido was actually called Surbiton Lagoon, an open-air pool that stayed open until the 1980s and is now a housing estate.

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Sun 26th Feb 2012 11:45

I love this one Greg. I wonder if you were inspired by John Darwin's latest?

You really do capture the nostalgia and the lingering sense of sadness, when the person is no longer there, but the essence is...

I'm wondering which Lido that might be. I used to live close to Ruislip Lido. I don't know how many there are around London.

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