Growing up in Sydney suburbia, my maternal Grandma lived around the corner. Literally. Turn the corner and four doors up was her Californian Bungalow home. I loved her home. The closed in veranda which always seemed to have sand on the patterned tiles. I could never work out where this came from as we didn't live near a beach at all. Her front door was red. A gorgeous letterbox red door with four window panes at the top.
Grandma was bright, cheerful and friendly. She knew everyone. She had snow white hair and mostly wore pastel colours which suited her Irish heritage pale skin tones and blue eyes.
Whenever my siblings and I visited Grandma, which was mainly on the weekends, we'd go expecting to do a 'job'. This could be anything from sweeping, hanging out some washing, gardening... After doing a 'job' we'd be rewarded with a piece of 'chewy' or some other lolly from her cupboard. I loved visiting 'Gran' and I loved Gran dearly.
'The Cupboard' by Walter de la Mare which I learnt at speech class, always reminded me of Grandma's cupboard. It had French louvre doors. Medium dark brown. It was as tall as the wall and was quite wide with two doors and spherelike knobs. Due to the positioning in the room, it was quite dark to look into, I think this was its appeal to me and made it all the more interesting and intruging.
I have just started to teach the children 'The Cupboard'. We did this at the dinner table through the week while they were having dinner. After saying it five or so times, they started to join in with the 'key, key, key' and 'me, me, me'! As with all poems once my three year old has heard them a few times we start to change the words, in this case 'Banbury Cakes' to 'lamingtons' and 'apples'. This is just the thing that sets him off into fits of laughter. Playing with words.
I know a little cupboard,
With a teeny tiny key,
And there's a jar of Lollypops,
For me, me, me.
It has a little shelf, my dear,
As dark as dark can be,
And there's a dish of Banbury Cakes,
For me, me, me.
I have a small fat granmamma,
With a very slippery knee,
And she's the Keeper of the Cupboard,
With the key, key, key.
And when I'm very good, my dear
As good as good can be,
There's Banbury Cakes, and Lolly pops,
For me, me, me!
image: Banbury Cakes guardian.co.uk