Sunday, 23 November 2008
Everybody loves Lucy
When Lantana was still a building site and I was surrounded by debris, dust and builders I would often look up to see a curious pair of eyes peering through the glass front door. That was how I met Lucy, oldest resident, matriarch and unofficial Mayor of Charlotte Place.
Lucy and her husband Dave moved into their small first floor flat above what is now Lantana in 1950 when rent was 7 shillings and sixpence.
I imagine it was a very different looking street in the 1950s than it is today.
Dave was the morning postman for 34 years, starting on a wage of £5 a week, and together they raised four children with no bathroom and only one bedroom to share between the six of them. Their children and grandchildren have now scattered across the globe to New Zealand, Sweden, Australia and Switzerland but Dave and Lucy have always been happy in Charlotte Place and say they will never leave, despite still having to walk down the street to a neighbour's to have a shower.
True to her Irish roots, Lucy is utterly charming and has the gift of the gab. I used to look forward to her daily visits when she would tell me about the various residents and businesses in Charlotte Place and see how our building works were progressing. Lucy’s oft repeated phrase, which did little to assuage my own concerns was, ‘You’re spending a lot of money dear, I do hope you do well’.
Everyone in the neighbourhood knows and loves Lucy. At lunch time she can be seen taking a stroll along the street, chatting to her subjects, receiving kisses and settling any disputes.
When one of the neighbours stopped to complain about my sign being too far out on the pavement, Lucy had a quiet word to her and the woman was on her way.
Once we were up and running I managed to convince Lucy to take me up on my offer of afternoon tea at Lantana. She came with Veronica, who has also lived in Charlotte Place for over 30 years, and after dismissing my suggestion of tea, ordered lattes and tried our banana bread which Lucy had never heard of ; “I’m a daft ol buggar”.
They were soon chatting to customers at the tables either side and told them that they were going to try to find me a husband- one with some money as "You don't want a husband with empty pockets".
I think Lucy’s a lucky ol buggar to be so well loved and content at the age of 84.