This is not one of Phil's stories but one told to us (via email) by his cousin Ray. Phil and Ray shared the same grandfather (he was Phil's mother's dad). Richard (known always as Dick) Pinks became a a widower when his wife died in 1964 and as he was blind he lived out his final days in a nursing home in Meriden (near Coventry).
Ray told us this story of when, as a youngster, he and his father Walter Pinks (Phil's uncle) visited his granddad in the nursing home. Granddad complained of having a sore thumb but didn't remember doing anything that would have made it sore.
After Ray and his dad had been there for a short while granddad asked if they would find his pipe so he could have a smoke (remember this was back in the 1960s). This they did, filled it with tobacco and when granddad took a puff or two he pulled his thumb away quickly.
From what Phil tells me his granddad Richard Pinks was a wonderful old fellow and the type who probably wouldn't complain to the nursing staff so the sore thumb went unattended. Needless to say a new pipe was purchased and granddad's thumb recovered and there was no more pain and from then on he enjoyed his daily pipe.
Although in many ways this is a somewhat sad story it did cause some laughter after the cause of the sore thumb had been discovered and everything had been put right.
Granddad Richard was born in 1881 and had done hard farm work all his life as a dairyman/stockman (known then as a cowman). He and his wife had 12 children and 24 grandchildren. Richard died in 1969 at the grand old age of 87. He is remembered very fondly by Phil.
I know that Phil was very fond of both his grandfathers and he was fortunate to have known them both very well.