We called Granddad "Grancha", which I'd always assumed was welsh for grandad, but now I suspect was just an accidental carryover of how small children mangle worlds. He maintained the most impenetrable Welsh burr until the day he died, and after 30 years of contact I still didn't understand everything he said. He whistled better than anyone I've ever heard, had a hell of a singing voice and could tap dance. And he was a coal miner, like a reasonable portion of Cardiff men, and a blacksmith. More than anything else, he was hilarious, quickwitted and happy to wrestle with shrieking children.
He told terrible jokes and burst into laughter before finishing them, leaving the rest of us very confused.
Grancha died last night, and I don't really know how to process this. In the last 18 months my uncle, my grandmother (on the other side) and now my grandfather have passed away, and considering we have an extended family of maybe 15 people including the 6 in my family this is a bit of a blow. I'm sure it'll dawn on me properly later, at which point I'll have a normal teary response, but right now I'm staring into space with a poleaxed expression and trying to get my head around it.
"A fellow bought a violin and a painting by Stradivarius and Picasso, and thought "this is great! I'm going to make a mint!" but the painting was by Stradivarius and the violin was by Picasso!!" *crying with laughter*
Nice work, Granch. You'll be deeply missed.