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Oh My Giddy Aunt! A Relative Problem set in Bexley Village by author Jay Cassie
DRIVING a motorbike into a pond, accidentally killing a goldfish or practising being blind might get you sectioned nowadays.
But in the 1950s Bexley Village setting of a new short story collection, they were just some of the antics of a much-loved great aunt based on two of the author’s real relatives.
Oh My Giddy Aunt! A Relative Problem tells tales of great aunt Lillian from the point of view of her niece Jojo.
Her creator Jay Cassie took inspiration for the main character from her real life grandmother Lillian Auger and aunt Avis Ford.
The 69-year-old writer, part-time primary school teacher, freelance journalist and former conference and exhibitions manager has taken a look back at the eccentric side of her family and a fondly remembered childhood.
She said: "I visited my grandmother once and she had a blindfold on.
"She told me ‘come on in and don’t ask questions’.
"After blundering around for a while she suddenly admitted as she was getting old she feared she might go blind and she was practising so she wouldn’t be a burden."
Other yarns from the book based on real mishaps include great Aunt Lillian ploughing into Bexley millpond on a motorbike and finishing off a poor goldfish by taking it out of its tank and trying to feed it cod liver oil.
Ms Cassie added: "My grandmother was quite well known in the area for being a bit different where now people might look at her and say ‘we might want to get social services in’.
"She was one of those people who could tell you stories about witches and fairies and I loved spending time with her.
"People are quite boring now by comparison."
Growing up in Bradbourne Road in Bexley Village until moving to Raeburn Avenue in Dartford at 11, Ms Cassie put some of the stories up on her over 50s online magazine giddylimits.co.uk before compiling them into a book.
Her grandmother Lillian lived in Joydens Wood Road while aunt Avis flitted between Welling, Plumstead, Barnehurst and Bexley Village.
Ms Cassie said: "The book’s about a time when things weren’t so politically correct.
"The pendulum’s swung a bit too far the other way now."
Oh My Giddy Aunt! A Relative Problem by Jay Cassie with illustrations by Garry Davies is available in paperback for £7.99, ISBN 9781780883939.