Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pride Goeth Before a Fall - Don't Get Ideas Above Your Station

Following on from my previous post about boasting, here are some of the ways we were given the message not to brag from my parents, usually Mumsie. A typical 'nearly boast' would be handled like this:

Brother Les: Woo-hoo! I've passed my cycling proficiency test.
Mumsie: That's nice, dear. Now I won't be worried that you'll off your bike when I send you to buy potatoes.
Me: Oh Mumsie, I'm so proud - I've finally learned to swim.
Mumsie: That'll be good, Ducky. You'll be able to rescue your Dad if he falls in the lake when the pair of you are fishing.
Les: I've asked Kath to marry me and she said 'Yes', (Running round the living room flapping his arms in excitement.)
Mumsie: Oh good, your Dad could do with a new suit.
Me: Guess what? I've won a scholarship to Grammer School.
Mumsie: That's great you'll pass the Bakers shop everyday. You could pick up my bread order on your way home.
I used to think that NOTHING could impress her. It was only as I got older, that I realised when you looked closer when she handing out such comments you could just about detect the spark of pride in her eye and the contented heave of her (ample) bosom.
She rarely tells us how proud of us she is, she tells others. People tell me she does.
All the time.
To everyone and anyone.
She boasts about her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Look at the pic can't you see her bursting with pride with my granddaughter
She just doesn't want us to get a big head, or draw attention to ourselves.
Sometimes she's not not subtle with her remarks, and she makes us all laugh, including herself.
One of her best put-downs ever was when one her grandchildren, I don't remember which. (Well actually, I do, but I don't like to boast about him!,)He came running in during a Saturday Lunch, excitedly wafting his A-level results in the air.
"Nanny, Nanny - Look, I got FIVE 'A's"
"Lovely," she said. I could see the pride she was trying to hide, and she even had a tear in her eye. Then she sniffed, looked down at her lap, and flicked away an imaginary crumb. We were all waiting to see what her reaction was going to be.
Then under her breath she whispered, .........................................

"Clever shit!"
As often happens, Mumsie reduced all of us to a fit of giggles.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't pop your head above the parapet!

House Rules

In families throughout the world, there has to be House Rules. Without them, there would be fisticuffs at dawn, anarchy, and millions of toilet seats left in the 'up' position.

Our Family is no different. As well as the toilet seat thing, here are a few of our rules......

  • Don't answer back especially to the Manageress, (Mumsie)
  • You're not too big for a clip round the ear. (Usually this is aimed at my brother aged 59!)
  • Mum's not our servant.
  • Dad's word is Law (and he has Mum's permission to say so.)

Apart from a couple of others, (e.g. Don't-let-Iain-pour-his-own ketchup-cos-he'll-spill-it)by far the biggest crime you can commit in our family, is to brag.

That means, no showing off, no self-promoting, no boasting and no wearing your badge for swimming a width of the swimming pool.

If anyone breaks this rule, the consequences could be dire. Members of the family will ridicule you, call you Big Head, or worse still, put you on Saturday Tea-making Duty, (that's a lot of tea with our lot!)

None of us are easy to impress, and even when we are impressed, we pretend we're not.

Hard to believe, but one of the times this rule was broken was by Mum. It was the 1960's and my brother Les was in his late teens.

Mum had been going to Weightwatchers and suceeded in shedding enough weight to drop a whole two dress sizes.

She'd rewarded herself with a new white dress to wear to the Annual Darts Team Dinner Dance.

She had a new hairstyle and even let me loose on her face with a tiny bit of blusher and a dab of Rimmel mascara. She really looked beautiful.

Completely out of character, she was hopping and skipping around the living room, woo-woo-wooing at her new image.

Brother Les, absolutely gob-smacked at her antics got a really really naughty look in his eye.

"Psst!" he said to me,

( I poked my head from behind my 'Jackie' magazine.)

He beckoned me into the kitchen. "Open the coalhouse door will yer?" Wondering what on earth was going on I opened the coalhouse door.

He ran into the living room and picked up Mum clean off her feet.

Mumsie was screeching "Put me down, put me down!"

He put her down alright...........

Right in the middle of a huge pile of coal on the coalhouse floor. (Did I mention she was dressed in white?)

Mumsie, realising that unless she left the coalhouse the same way as she got there, her white dress would get covered in coal dust. God, was she angry! First she ranted and called him a bleeping bleep bleep, and promised that when she got hold of him she was going to bleepingly well knock seven shades of bleep out of him.

Les just stood there giggling, leaning casually against the back door frame, pretending he was examining his nails. (Crikey! I'd forgotten how brave he can be sometimes.)

"Mumsie, I don't think swearing at him will help," I chimed in.

As this was obviously true, Mum changed her tactics to pleading.

"Oh come on Ducky, you've had your fun. Please get me out."

Barely changing position except for crossing his arms he waited for more pleading.

He stared at her, expectantly.

"Aww, go on..........please." Les was still staring at her,

"Say Pretty please"

"Pretty please" said Mumsie

He was not giving in,

"Say 'Pretty please with knobs on', then I will."

"Pretty please with knobs on."

He decided to milk it one more time.....

"Who's the loveliest son in the whole wide world?"

"You are!" she spat out through clenched teeth.

At last, he relented.

He gently lifted her out, she wiped her feet on the doormat.

There wasn't a mark on her.

Daddio had been upstairs getting ready while this was all going on.

When he walked into the kitchen, Mumsie stood in front of him,

"How do I look?"

"You'll do" he's said.

(That's Dadspeak for 'Gosh you look lovely. I love you very much' He said it me once - on my wedding day)

Mum linked her arm in his and swept past the pair of us. She turned, and jabbing Les in the chest with her finger and said, "I'll sort you out tomorrow."

"Just you remember, you're not too big for a clip round the ear!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kids say the Funniest Things!

Yes, I know it's not Christmas anymore. I just had to share these things with you.

Children are not only a source of great joy and love; they are also a guaranteed way to put a smile on your face with their observations on life.
"Family" words. Do you have any words in your family that were thought up by one of you?
Chilldren are the most clever at this, and their words actually make more sense than the real one.
Here are a couple of our "Family" words...............

Hospital, right?'s

Dairylea Cheese Triangles?'s
These two were made up by my sons when they were tiny.
I also love it when a child asks you a question, and you can barely keep a straight face when answering. The thing is, when you think about it, they see things much clearer than us sometimes.
My eldest granddaughter wins this example hands down!
She's three years old, going on 30.
Two days before Christmas we are all in the car. My daughter-in-law is heavily pregnant.
"Yes, Hollie?"
"When it's time for the baby to come out, will we have to go to Bethlehem to fetch it?"
Aaaaah Bless 'em.
Do you have any stories like these?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mr Dollytub, Meeso, and her three little sisters.

I think I may have mentioned that although the late Mr Dollytub, (Liam) and I were partners for 8 years, we didn't actually live together. His house was round the corner from mine, and since having to give up my full time job, we ate all our meals together and spent most of our time generally driving each other up the wall and laughing like hyenas as we both shared a quirky sense of humour.
Because of my ebaying (restoring/selling of 1950's dolls) and regular jaunts to stay with my son and his family , there were times when it was necessary for him to spend some of his time alone.
He would put on his best "Eeyore" voice and say "No, you go. I'll be fine. Don't you worry about me, I'll get little Meeso to pop round and 'do' for me."
Truth is, with or without his imaginary companions, he quite enjoyed the peace!
On my return with his wonderful imagination, and his inherited Irish "Blarney", he would tell me such tall stories of his naughty little goings on with his small, but perfectly formed imaginary girlfriend, Meeso, (surname Horny.)
After I'd been away for more than a few days, he would tell me tales on the 'phone about having to "call in his reinforcements" i.e. Meeso's three, equally rampant and obliging sisters.
So, one day when I arrived back from my son's, I 'phoned him.
He was obviously expecting my call, so he answered the 'phone with a high pitched female tone, with just the hint of an accent.
"Hello, this is Mister Liam's house, Meeso speaking."
"Oh it's you," I answered brusquely."Is the master at home?"
"Just a second, I'll check."
He shouts off into the distance in as girly a voice as he could muster....."Mister Liam, Mister Liam, it's that North End of Town Slapper on the 'phone for you."
(I originate from the top end of the City. Cheek!)
He would then clear his throat, and in his nicest speaking voice would say, "Hello?" and the conversation would carry on from there
He was hilarious, and it was even funnier when he accidently did it to my Mum when she 'phoned him!
One particular time when I was going to be away for a whole week, we were doing our last minute checks, keys, my train ticket etc.
"I hope that dirty little trollop Meeso and her sisters aren't coming round whilst I'm gone or I will not be very happy, I can tell you." I said.
He tried to placate me, "Swampy," (his pet name for me. )"They're not real. "
He continued very slowly as if he's talking to an idiot, "Meeso's an imaginary maid, not real, as in 'made up'."
"I don't care if she's imaginary or not. I've got all the neighbours keeping a close eye on you whilst I'm gone. If I find out that she's been teetering down the avenue in her fishnets and high heels clip clip clipping round to your place, there'll be BIG trouble!"
"Clip, clip, clip?" he asked incredulously. "Surely you mean 'click, click, click'"
"Same difference!" I sniffed.
"No. She definitely makes the sound click, click, click...........................................................................
After all, ............................." he continued
she's a slapper not a hairdresser."
We always said we should have recorded our conversations.
You can't write rubbish like that!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Audrey's Party & the Number 11 Bus

Before I continue rambling on about our Fun & Frolics at Mum and Dad's house, I forgot to add something to the bottom of the previous post about the imaginary bus of our childhood, so here it is.

It's about the red pebble in Mumsie and Daddio's house. The one stuck in between the bricks in the passage, otherwise known as the Number 11 Bus, the pretend bus of our childhood.

I mentioned that the passage had always been a bus, I repeat "always". It still is! Not literally of course. But, because it still is the bus, everytime one of the family go up the passage we "press the bell" to "stop the bus". (Did I mention some of us are on medication?)

This is great fun, particularly on a Saturday afternoon when we're all leaving there, each of us pressing the bell when we get to "our stop". Mumsie always sees each of us off, and it drives her mad!

I know that I've mentioned before that we all go to my parents house for Saturday Buffet Lunch, otherwise known as "Audrey's Party". (Audrey is Mum's name).

This doesn't just happen occasionally, this is every Saturday. ALL OF US.

Apart from Mumsie and Daddio there is........................

My brother and his wife

My sister and her husband


My son and his wife and baby daughter

(My other son, wife and children who live away come about once a month)

Neice number one and her boyfriend

(Sometimes Neice number two, her husband and little boy who also live away.)

Taylor and George - 2 delightful little boys, grandsons of my Brother-in-law.

It's absolute bedlam, all the men congregate in the living room and us girls in the kitchen. The children fit in where they can.

As you can imagine, when we're all there - there's a lot of mobiles going off intermittently.

Mum recognises each and every ringtone and message bleep. When we're eating our lunch, my mum sits just a bit away from the rest of us, enough that she can see us. (A bit like a teacher in charge of a class.)

As everyones' conversations are going on, when someone's 'phone goes off, Mumsie puts her hand up to halt all the chatter. Then she listens and when she's worked out whose 'phone it is, so as not to put a break into anyone's ramblings, she just points to you.

Last week seemed a particularly busy Saturday mobile-wise, and throughout the chatter four 'phones all went off in quick sucession...............

Mandy's 'phone goes off

Mum holds up her hand to halt the chatter, listens for a sec, then points to Mandy

Laura's 'phone goes off

Mum points to Laura

Annmarie's 'phone goes off

Mum points to Annmarie

My 'phone goes off

Mum points to me.

"Bloody Hell", Mum says "I feel like I'm conducting the flaming Orchestra."

In my next post, I will be telling the tale of my partner, Liam, God rest him and his imaginary girlfriend.

I bet you can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Come on George" and Other Imaginary Friends

Did you have an imaginary friend? I did, (more of mine later) and my sister had a great one. He was a football player and went by the name of "Come on George". My sister is 5 years younger than me, but I was a bit of a weedy kid anyway and acted quite young for my age. My sister's name is Mandy, instead of calling her 'Little Sister', I called her Ickle Ditder. I had a speech impediment, awww!

So she's about 3 and that makes me 8 at the time. It was a nice sunny day and after a few groans I agreed to play her favourite game with her, "George", and a giant stuffed rabbit who we called "Mr Rushby" owing to him bearing a strong resemblance to our favourite neighbour. (Although Mr R didn't have quite such long ears :o)

The game began where we got ourselves on a pushalong Mobo scooter; Mandy at the front of the footboard and me precariously balanced behind her with each of my arms trying to keep her in place. Mr Rushby is squatting on the handlebars. (The rabbit, not the neighbour!)

Now this is where the game took such strange turns and quirks that it's obvious to see in hindsight that one day I would end up on mood controlling medication. (Or my "Comical Pills" as Daddio affectionately calls them.) Of course, I swear that I just went along with Mandy's instructions.

Right, so off we go out the back door and into the passage. The passage is open each end to the elements and runs from the back yard to the front garden. The passage is the number 11 Bus, not just this particular day - ALWAYS*.(see below)

Embedded in the brick wall between the courses of bricks is a shiny red pebble. This is the bell button that the bus conductor pushes to let the driver know when to stop, simple really!

I also double up at the bus conductor because I've got the right type of bag strewn across my chest - the driver is invisible.

Even though we had the scooter we had to catch the bus because it was too far to scoot, at least 5 yards!

We arrive at our destination, Sincil Bank Football Ground, otherwise known as the Front Doorstep. (Up the Imps!!!)

So, our little tiny bums are seated on the even tinier doorstep. Oooooh what I wouldn't give for an executive box!

"There he is," shouts Ickle Ditder. "Coooooeeeee, George!" She's waving frantically looking over at her imaginary hero as he runs onto the 'pitch', scowling at me til I join in.

I do the ref's whistle to start the match - I can do a REALLY LOUD whistle through my fingers. (God, I'm talented!)

"Come on George! Come on George!" we shout encouragingly. Ickle Ditder looks to the 'pitch', groans and puts her head in her hands. "That was wubbish!" she declares. "Let's go 'ome."

The game has lasted about 2 minutes, .......not each way, ...........2 minutes in total.

Mumsie is smiling fondly out the front window.

I look at her in disbelief, "What a waste of time" I shrill.

We get back on the scooter, then the 'number 11 bus'. The imaginary bus drops us off at the back door.

Mumsie hands us a glass of Kia-ora.

"What's up wi' you?" she asks me.

I repeat myself, "That was a complete waste of time!"

Mumsie says, "Never mind, George might play better next time. "

With this, staring blankly towards the horizon, she puts her hand in her pinny pocket, takes out a small brown bottle and tips out what looks like an orange "Smartie". She takes a gulp of my Kia-ora.

"Besides, sometimes the fun's in the journey"

Do you like my new image?

To be continued.....................................................................

Monday, January 18, 2010

Finally - I'm Back!!!!

So.................where have I been? Truthfully? I've been to Hell and back, that's about all I can say about my long absence.

Forgive my levity around issues of mental health problems, but humour has always been my way of trying to make sense of the world and some of the SH*T we have to cope with at times. Some folks use drugs, alcohol, chocolate or any combination of the three.

Me? I try to laugh out loud at the world, wave my arms about wildly and shout, "OK LIFE - JUST BRING IT ON!"

Unfortunately, sometime around May last year, life well and truly "brought it on." You may remember that my life partner Liam died of cancer a few weeks before I started blogging, and, for a while at least, the distraction of writing held back the floodwaters that would eventually surface. One morning, I woke up and everything just seemed so cold and black. I felt stunned, saddened and completely bereft. I was forced to face the horrendous reality that my life will never be the same again, and I now have to try and discover who this "new me" is and find ways to propel me forward into my future.

I've always been a "glass half full" kind of a girl, but bereavement managed to completely knock me for six, and shook me to the core. If you've never experienced bereavement, try imagining it and then times that feeling by ten. This will give a good idea on the impact that the death of a loved one has on your life.

Sooooooo.........................anyway, enough of that now! The tablets are working and each day I feel a little brighter. I intend to stay as upbeat as possible, examine my small daily pleasures, and thank God for all the people and wonderful moments I do still have around me.

No more so 'til today. What has brought me so much closer to my "usual up-and-atem" self.

Jayden Michael Smith, that's who. "Never heard of him!" I hear you cry. Hang on and I'll tell you!

Jayden is my new grandson, my third grandchild. And so, here I stand, honouring the Circle of Life that forever opens up before us. I realise that just because Liam is no longer with me, there's no reason why I cant still wear my love for him around me as an armour against the knocks of the world.
I do hope that now I'm back you'll stay with me. I promise to only be positive on here after today, and I will tell you some more hilarious tales of derring-do about my life. In the meantime, you will make sure you have your Tenna Lady pads at hand won't you?

Before I go.................I just couldn't resist this. Liam would have found this very funny!

LIAM, so popular but unfortunately no longer availaable

Jayden Michael