An Accidental Tradition – Guest Blog, John Steel

For years, back to when I was kid my Grandparents always had their little routines and ways. Browns Cafe in Cleethorpes was one of them and as I grew I’d occasionally tag along for a bacon bun and a coke.

In my early 20’s I started working at Stagecoach, I’d often drive along Alexander Road and one thing that always put a smile on my face was seeing my Grandparents car, parked in the same spot every morning at around the same time, every single day.

I was raised by my Mum, but lived at my Grandparents growing up so they had as much a hand in raising me too. I was always in contact with them and saw them almost every day, but seeing thay blue Sierra Estate, or black Escort Estate parked up, that was me knowing they were both OK.

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Years went by and the Browns tradition continued, I now take my children, so four generations of my family have become regulars at Browns. My Grandma has her own button on the coffee machine, a push of that button and she gets her coffee just the way she likes it.

Back in 2012 tradgedy struck our family, news of my Uncles untimely passing broke and we found ourselves in Browns, as normal having a coffee and a bacon bun, just trying to process what had happened. Surrounded by friends and support, it helped my family. We healed in a way only as time allows and moved forward.

The following year my Grandad was diagnosed with dementia, a truly horrific disease that thousands unfortunately have to deal with. I cannot help but think that the Browns routine already established years earlier helped my Grandad as his condition worsened. He still enjoyed his trips to Browns for his bacon bun and cup of tea. My Grandad fought that disease for nearly seven years. As memories faded, those closest to him became strangers, including me, but regardless of this he always knew that place, right down to where he would always sit. It was almost like muscle memory.

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As we did in 2012, again we found ourselves there in 2019 when my Grandad, peacefully in his sleep, left us. We all, as we always do, rallied around my Grandmother and went to Browns. Sons, Daughters, Grandkids, In-Laws. Weird right? Not to us, it seems to be a coping mechanism. The staff there who’d known my Grandad, some for decades mourned with us and we healed as before. I will miss sitting across from him. My hero.

Browns Cafe is a place that just became an accidental tradition. One that is now firmly engrained in nearly every member of my family. Who knows, if I am lucky, one day I might be that little old fella, hero to a young kid, sat watching the world go by whilst enjoying a bacon bun and a brew.

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