WHILE I was walking to work the other morning, I noticed with pleasure how many swans we have on the river after the massive decline in the 1970s.

When I was a little girl I was always told they belonged to my grandfather, Alfred Bland, who traded as a scrap metal/rag and bone man from his premises in South Quay.

In the winter, I used to worry about the swans being outside in the cold frost and snow and my grandad used to reassure me they were tucked up cosily in his warehouse with lots of food and plenty of blankets.

The neighbours always used to ask how my grandad's swans were and I could never understand their smiles.

Going back to the old chap, when he needed a new pair of glasses he had a box crammed full of pairs which he had received from pockets of rags he had bought. He went through every pair until he came across a pair he could see through. I don't think he ever crossed the threshold of an optician's shop.


Lower Wick, Worcester.