‘Alpine’ – AKA Grandad’s House

May 17, 2024



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Lula and Rocko

So this is a story about my Grandad, my kids and also boredom.

My Grandad was a German prisoner of war, in England working on the farm that was my Nana’s home. They fell in love (controversial!) and a few years later had twins, my Mum and Aunty Mary. He was a legend, so was my Nana but that’s another story – this is him in the middle, on a ski trip with his brothers (taped by my work desk).

In the early years of their marriage, they decided to build a house. It was actually quite visionary for the time, a mix of my Grandad’s German heritage and my Nana’a taste which was honestly pretty high end.

Eventually they divorced, and Alpine Lodge became ‘Grandad’s house’, and although we didn’t visit very often, I always remember it being octane fun! My Grandad was a landscape gardener and carpenter, and also an inventor. We were lucky enough to have a commando slide in the garden, as well as a spinning seesaw which he made, a big kid himself.

There was always a contraption to play with, old bikes, scooters – the whole garden was kid heaven and Grandad was hands on in the mix with all the games. Whenever we visited it was always ‘an event’ – my sister and cousins would all be there. Grandad would be laughing, it was a mad laugh, really loud and weirdly with a German accent, it was such a happy place!

Anyway, fast forward to a few months ago and sadly it was sold. But before it left our family, I wanted to go back with my children and document it, take some photos. It was so weird. Nothing had changed in the house – the original wood fired central heating system, and fridge from the 1950’s (not joking!) were still in full use, and a lot of the wallpaper and decor was still original. Like a time warp. Of memories.

But Tallulah and Rocko didn’t vibe with it, they just didn’t get it. They were bored. I took photos but they look ghostly to me. But I started to notice that some things just don’t change, Grandkids will always find ice cream, and they’ll also always squash their face against a window! That stuff’s timeless and generationless. Grandparents houses will normally have ice cream, and when kids get bored their faces say it all.

It made me feel a bit sad when my kids were all about their phone’s and ‘when can we go’s’ – but it also made me smile. I think I was looking to take pictures of them recreating my own childhood memories, outside running around, but when they’d said ‘mum stop taking photo’s’ for the 50th time, I realised it was about their childhood. Their bored pissed off faces just for some reason made me laugh. I realised that when they look back that’s how they’ll remember me, taking pictures of empty sardine cans and stuff, and I’ll always remember being amused by their boredom (social services club!).

Boy with long hair with his head squashed against a window looking bored but playful wearing a Nirvana t shirt

Grandad was a wild guy, and he loved life! Lucky for me I got to keep one of the benches he made. He used to call everyone luvvy so I sanded it down and did a little tribute. He made wine as well so I was so stoked when my sister surprised me with a cutting from his grape vine.

Love you Grandad, I’m glad I got to say bye, ride high Luvvy. x

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