Tag Archives: Man at the Helm

Aunty Milly Died

Aunty Milly 001

My (Great) Aunty Milly died a few weeks ago and Mum sent me this card which was given to all the funeral attendees, I’m so glad to have it. I didn’t know her well, but she’s someone I’ve been hearing stories about my whole life, she was famous in my family for her beauty and outgoing personality; everyone seems to have adored her. And even though I barely knew her, I smiled in recognition as soon as I saw these pictures because she looks like my grandmother and Uncle George, who are both now dead. I’ve had a sad ‘end of an era’ kind of feeling – Aunty Milly was my grandmother’s baby sister and the last remaining child of my great-grandmother. I doubt I’ll ever hear another Geordie accent, which was their north eastern England way of speaking and always spelled ‘home’ and ‘family’ to me somehow, even though I’m from London.

There were some cloudy, gloomy days dotted amongst the sunshiney ones this week. When the weather is mild, I sit outside and read as I wait for Boy 2 to come home and this week I read Man at the Helm, a novel by Nina Stibbe. It was hugely entertaining and very funny, and broke a spell of not being able to concentrate on reading for several weeks. Anyway – Man at the Helm. Hilarious in spite of being the tale of a boozy, promiscuous single mum of three who sometimes neglects her three kids as she struggles to raise them in 1970’s rural England. The novel is told from the POV of Lizzie, her middle child. I admit I felt judgmental of the mother for about the first half of the novel, but then I didn’t. It’s hard, having your life turned upside down. Loved this novel and would highly recommend to anyone who wants a good read that happens to be about hardship but is the opposite of doom and gloom. .