Circumstances being the emotionless sequences of events that they are, my grandfather was once again cast into less than fortunate circumstances as, once the war was over and Britain's colonial influence over India came to its end, the family were forced to "return" to England. I say "return" for they had been born and bred in India so England wasn't really there home (but then, as the former oppressors, neither were they particularly welcome in India).
Jack fond that post-war Britain was offering even less in terms of employment. He took a job as a cleaner on the Tube, determined to get enough together to make ends meet. Being a man of single-minded intent )often described as stubbornness), he stuck with his job and eventually worked his way up from cleaner to a management position at London Underground.
That stubbornness is something that Mum says she sees in me - when my mind is made up, it is very definitely made up (that's not to say that I don't waver, hesitate, vacillate or procrastinate - just that, on those occasions when a decision is made, it's final). Ultimately, though, this "done is done" attitude may well have been my grandfather's undoing.
You see, Jack was a smoking man. From a very young age, he'd been a smoking man. And we're talking serious smoking here - three packets a day. Unfiltered in those days, too, and probably composed of more tar than tobacco. However, after nearly fifty years of hefty nicotine intake, Jack reached a jumping point. It was Budget time and my grandfather announced that, if the price of tobacco were to rise once again, he would no longer be counted amongst the ranks of the smoking. Lo and behold, the price did rise. And lo and behold, his lungs were untroubled by the stain of smoke again.
Perversely for such a heavy smoker, he's always been a healthy man but, having denied his body the drug it had depended on for so long, his health began to suffer. My mother remember him getting ill more often but, still having that stubborn streak, he hid just how ill he was getting. Eventually, he succumbed to a heart attack and my Nana, having been a professional nurse all of her working life, never forgave herself for not seeing the symptoms sooner.
But he lives on - in the silly sense of humour that was passed to my mum, my brother and me and in the shiny head and slightly stooping walk of yours truly. That man named Wilfred who everybody knew as Jack.