- 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!"