One of my memories of the Granville of which there are many from a time long passed.
Just one night accompanying the ghosts in the hole and rubble left that it must retain, along with the many that preceded my time there, from the Victorians and their elegance when it was first opened, right up to the soldiers convalescing from terrible wounds of the First World War of which my Grandfather was one, I imagine him lying in a bed in that vast area with the sun shining through those large windows composing a love letter to Grandma.My time was different; my time was full of wonder, of love, and hope for the future, something that can’t be erased with a bulldozer.
A night long ago:When she laughed and you were fortunate enough to be looking into her eyes the world around where ever you were had a glow of life that can’t be explained, it was beautiful to see the very slight smile she nearly always had, burst into laughter that would fill a room, everyone would stop and stare as they were enveloped in the joy she radiated around them. There was no holding back the smile she seemed to force on you from her jubilance at life all around her.
There was no need for make-up to enhance the beauty that confronted you; a pure porcelain skin without a blemish of any kind surrounded those eyes that were of the deepest clear blue that anyone of her contemporises would die for. Her hair, once quite long had been cut and waved, immaculately styled; it made her appear all grown up, and I sometimes thought if we hadn’t spent all of our young years together a second glance in my direction would have been a privilege and way, way out of my league.
To walk across those maple floorboards with her on your arm would surround you and anyone close in a cocoon of warmth that would emanate a friendship from them, to just be close to a vision that nobody would ever think of spoiling.
The evening that I am remembering hadn’t been an exception, we were making our way back to the settee in the corner of the ballroom together, I had been playing for a wedding party and all of the boys in our little band were packing up, eager to sleep off the beverages that they had been plied with during the course of the night. My eyes began to close as we snuggled down to rest and to recount the magical night we had enjoyed, my eyes closed and I began to dream a lovely dream as her perfume once again filled the air around me.
She had sat by my side on the piano stool nearly all night, unashamedly, it gave me comfort I can’t explain knowing all she seemed to want, was to be close to me. This beautiful creature that everyone admired, seemed to have an invisible notice pinned to her back;
‘ I’m Al’s ‘Don’t touch’! Don’t even think about it!’
The scent from her hair occasionally rising to reach me I had purposely arranged some of the music to not only give me a rest on the keyboard but to enable us to do what we were born to do; To dance, to hold her in my arms and live our dream, that night the dress that she had worn only a couple of times she had secretly smuggled upstairs without me knowing, and when she walked down the stairs, the gasps from the bar made me turn to see the vision I have described, her arms stretched across the hotel foyer to me, but for a brief moment I was rooted to the stool I was sitting on, she laughed out loud to my reaction and did a twirl in the doorway, “Surprise”! ! She called.
Surprise? You’re kidding me! I was physically trembling . . . .!
The melodies of the fifties were romantic, the music of the big bands that played on the sea front in Ramsgate, and all the many dance halls in the town were always packed with young people of our age dancing the night away. It was an exciting time; the world we lived in was changing, the very air we breathed was filled with music, the juke box’s played one kind, the big bands played another, the smell of coffee from coffee bars and café’s filled the air in the town, all of which made us feel alive.
That night I had my life spread out before me in a dream as we cuddled on the settee, a resolve to live my life to the full, every minute being precious was not to be wasted, I think I have kept that promise I made to myself all those years ago. There are many things wrong with the world and it is easy to criticise, we all have an opinion of what’s right and what’s wrong. But I cherish the memories that this life has given me, opening my eyes each day to the wonder of it all.
I have learnt one thing over the years, and that is to embrace the new as well as the old, my memories of the beautiful town I grew up in cannot be erased from my memory, there has always been greed and jealousy in all of our make up whoever you are and I dare anyone to deny that fact if they were perfectly honest.Reading the comments on Michaels Blog about the Granville, each one representing some form of truth of some kind or another, but come on, anything would be better than the hole that has been there for so long. If what I read is true, and a British company has purchased it, this surely is great news! Give the youngsters a chance with some greatly sort after work for their idle hands. We don’t appreciate the beauty of what they propose, many of us harking back to the good ol’ days and I’m no exception, I’d love to see it all reverted back to how I remember it, the opulence of the interior took your breath away, the luxury that lots of money makes of a building has long past, so if the proposals and plans they have put forward pays its way bringing in much needed revenue to the town from the rates, so be it, anything so long as it meets with standards that we have fought for over the years.
I look at the docklands in London, and then across to the Houses of Parliament an iconic symbol of our city. What they have done for the Olympics, rejuvenating an area that has given work and housing and leisure to thousands who needed and prayed each day for a turn in their fortune, just to live and work, all they wanted was to have the opportunity to pay their way in life, not much to ask, it has, without doubt been achieved.
I don’t appreciate the architecture, but there is no denying it is all for the better, if some of the critics had seen the Granville after the war years and what a sorry state it was in after being ravaged in those terrible times, I’m sure they would think twice before voicing an opinion on the state it is in now. That glorious building still stands overlooking the channel, be it flats, offices or leisure facilities it will always be a treasure of heritage Ramsgate should be proud of.
Thanks for stopping by.