I hope that folk who know me don’t consider me mercenary and yet one of the few memories I have of Grandpa Body is of an old man giving me a florin in the dining room (his room) at Nana and Grandpa’s Queens Drive home in Liverpool. Grandpa didn’t die until I was just turned seven but he always seemed to be a background figure. I can see him in the garden on a sunny day but otherwise he rarely seemed to be around. Like Nana and Mum he pronounced his surname Bowdee but Uncle Eric was quite content for his name to be pronounced Boddy.

 A stooped old man with just a little white hair at the sides of his head, a large nose and a tall forehead he had deep-set eyes, a sunken mouth and a decrepit appearance despite being dressed in a dark suit with a waistcoat of matching material. His shirt had no collar. (Shirts in those days had stiff detachable collars, fixed with collar studs). He was just 79 when he died, of pneumonia and bronchitis, but a life of excess alcohol had taken its toll.

 Grandpa’s death provided me with a most strange experience. He was laid out in the front room, Nana having migrated into the dining room for the time being, and the door was firmly closed to us children. Childish curiosity being what it is I asked Mum if he was dressed in his best clothes and lying in an oak coffin for everyone to see. Heaven knows how I appreciated that was the norm because death was not a subject for mentioning in front of children. Mum’s reaction was to ask, quite horrified and suspicious, if I had been into the front room. It took some effort on my part to assure her I hadn’t and even now I’m not sure I convinced her.