Moffa sat by his window with his pipe hanging from his mouth. Because he always sat by the window, I remember him framed by a halo of smoke. I can taste that rich tobacco smoke now. Sweet, thick and earthy. This is my most significant memory of my granddad. It brings him to life like no other memory can. He was a tall man, always smartly dressed and oozed kindness and reliability. He was a gentle man.
I remember the adults, talking and doing, whilst I lay on the floor with my workboard. My legs bent upwards in thought, my imagination indulging itself as only a 5 year old boys’ can. My world was magical in every way. When Mommo put me to bed, she would tell me about the trolls who lived in the woods behind the house, and how they had tried to take me away as a baby. Mommo assured me that she had taken great lengths in explaining to the trolls that Babis was not to be taken away and eaten because so many people loved him! I had not been completely at ease with this story at first, much to the consternation of Mamma. Mommo had then explained to me that the trolls were very important for taking care of the woods and lakes, and once they knew that Babis was not to be eaten, they had cared for me like any other Småtroll. She told me how it was the trolls who had found me and brought me home after I had become lost in the forest, how they had built me my magnificent secret den in a tree, and how they collected smultron, blåbär and kantareller from the forest for me, so that I would grow to be strong and mindful of nature. It was pictures of these stories that I would draw whilst lying on the floor with my workboard, listening to the adults being and doing in the background.
The workboard was mine, it was my responsibility. Moffa had made it for me. It was circled in all the letters and numbers, and Moffa made me practice them every day. I can remember Pappa telling me how proud he was of me. I can feel that memory whenever I think of it, I save it for precious times.
I am 40 years old now and I am a Pappa, and it is my children who lye on the floor with their workboards; drawing, writing, scribbling and painting. Their pictures of trolls are much better than mine ever were.
ISAK Abc and 123 Workboards £40 each with solid teak shelf.