One of her secret nicknames was Beryl the Peril, which seemed to suit her.
If she'd ever found out, we would have been given a mighty tongue-lashing from that tiny woman who drove her 1960s Mini Cooper, well into her 80s, like an absolute demon.
She died a natural death a few years ago, at almost 100.
I can't say I loved her, but I admired her tenacity and spunk, spending most of her busy days fending off would-be thieves and no-goods apparently dead set on ripping her off.
I've seen a photo of her as a schoolgirl, not long before she married and started a family in Invercargill, New Zealand (knocked-up-at-16-to-devastatingly-handsome-motorcyle-tearaway). She looked a right "sort" and there's something about these pics of me wearing this original 1920s silk frock that reminds me of her. Beryl approved of a woman in a modest frock.
I got to know Beryl best during the 1970s and right up until her death in 2006, she was absolutely mad about wearing and surrounding herself with bright colours.
She frequently boasted about her thrifty shopping habits, of buying most of her clothes from op shops, flaunting her fluorescent red and green pairs of crimpolene "slacks" to the world.
She knew she looked fabulous and no-one was going to argue with her.
But I always felt there was something about her that teetered on the edge of maniacal religious sectarianism and pant-less table-top dancing.
In fact I know she would have approved of my frockage and forgiven my saucy glimpse of lacy scanties.
Beryl would never in a million years have approved of a bottle-blond slattern with her roots on display.
But she would have been glad I had a clean hanky and giant clips to "keep your hair off your face".
1920s silk frock - Niddie's Rag & Bone Shop Johnny Cash earrings - made by Mallory of Create Beautiful Beads My wedding wrist corsage from October, 2011 Vintage tapestry bag and bangles - thrifted 1940s snakeskin handbag - vintage shop in NZ Suede shoes - found
Beryl, you were a very strange woman and a scary grandmother, yet a tough and fascinating person.
I don't miss you, but I do think about you this time every year, as you lay in peace beside your own mother.
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