Thought For The Day
Thought For The Day
Jan Hood

On Thursday my granny, Jan Hood, died. She was 93. She worked most of her life in rural west of Scotland schools as an English teacher. She was an acerbic and witty granny, my mother's mother. She disapproved of many things, didn't believe in God, and had a smart critical intelligence, which remained with her almost to the end.

Granny's life spanned the entire 20th century. She was the first in her family to have the English language as her mother tongue. Her ancestors lived on the Isle of Mull, running schools and post offices, and spoke Gaelic.

Jan Hood was the daughter of Angus McKechnie, a poet who won the highest literary award of the Gaelic-speaking world, the Bardic Crown at the Mod. When I was a child we used to play with this crown made of silver and blue velvet.

For Angus and for Jan, as for me, words were of capital importance. When, in her 90s, Granny became blind, she surrounded herself with Talking Books. The first time I sang Jacques Brel's 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' was on a tape I made for her.

Jan didn't want to live to one hundred, although she nearly did. She missed the 21st century by a matter of months. Her sharp critical spirit and her lucidity will stay with me.

Goodbye, Granny.

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