Having had the sensation recently that London had worn away my funny bone, I decided it was time to head down to Devon for the weekend for some regeneration. This is in the wake of my mother discovering life’s daily grind has worn away her hip bone, and will require some sort of robotic replacement.
The following is a summary of the sunny Sunday afternoon …..
We are at the beach getting a coffee, sitting and watching the masses. Mother spots a baby wearing a bib and says sanctimoniously and only half joking …
“You never wore your bib in public”.
We are sitting upon the cliff edge reading the Sunday papers, mother remarks, I assume in response to me donning a rather nice pair of floral shorts …
“After my hip replacement I’ll have to vajazzle my crutches for the beach”.
I wash my hands with some cheap, indescribably pungent peach handwash, I feel my mother should experience the stench …
Me: Smell that ..
Mum: Good god! That’s incredibly strong. It’s terrible!
Me: I believe it is “atomic peach”.
We are going past a house with some particularly appalling net curtains. Mum looks at them and says …
“If I were prime minister, I’d charge them, like a new window tax, they can pay for their hideous paranoia”.
Mum points at, from what I can see, is just a hedge …
“That’s where I got our chainsaw”.
I am a saint, and have recently given up sugar. Having eaten two tones of Turkish Delight in 6 months, my teeth had mysteriously started to hurt. I want to buy some coconut water, to further purify my soul …
Me: I’d like to see if they’ve got some coconut water.
Mum: I know why you want that, it’s the sugar.
Me: It is not the sugar! It’s the isotonics.
Mum: Whatever. I don’t care. Drink what you want. Some people drink their own urine.
We are driving back from the beach. Mum obviously has vajazzling on the brain …
Mum: What is vajazzling, I hear a lot about people getting vajazzled.
Me: I don’t want to talk about it.
Mum: Is it just covering yourself in Sworovski crystals?
Me: Um … Yes.
Mum is reading a restaurant review by AA Gil aloud …
“With virginal rice … that could only have been exciting if we’d shoved it up our arses. NO! NOSES! Sorry, noses”.
Mother is reading another review by AA Gil, and applauding him for his genius (because he says the same stuff she does …)
Mum: Ahhh but I shouldn’t like to meet him. You should never meet your heroes. They’re always a disappointment …. No, not always.
Me: Who wasn’t?
Mum: Leonard Cohen. Funniest man alive. Totally, totally cool.
I have given mum some food made by The Grocery, which has she devoured with relish.
Mum: That place is seriously good. You should open a branch on the beach in Devon and manage it.
Me: I can’t imagine anything worse.
Mum: No, quite right. Get someone else to manage it. We’ll just sit on the beach and bitch about people.
A man on the radio says “He refused to give officials information”.
Me: I thought he said “he refused to give a fish-horse information”.
Mum: What a magnificent creature that would be.
Me: A bit like a sea horse.
I am admiring the David Hockney postcard I sent to mother. I then spot someone else has sent her one, my Godfather …
Me: Oh, I see Jocq sent you a David Hockney as well.
Mum: Everyone’s sending me David Hockneys. I am having to fend them off!
I look at the two postcards for a minute and then remark.
Me: Mine’s bigger.
Mum is talking about her hip replacement again …
Mum: I’m having a heart transplant.
I laugh …
Mum: A hip transplant, whatever is it, I have to have a new body part.
Mum: Yes, robomum. I might ask them to give me a pair of those spring legs while they’re at it. You know, those blades? I wouldn’t need a car, I could just leap to the beach. They should just give all old people those blades, let them spring in to the sunset.
Mum has a “new” car. It is shooting along the motorway …
Me: Yes, this is good. It doesn’t sound like it’s struggling going up hill, which the other one did.
Mum: Well, that one had an enormous crack in the exhaust pipe. You can get it fixed.
Me: Yeah, I would assume most people do.
We are driving to the train station, we don’t know how to use the radio in the “new” car …
Mum: Let’s play ‘Spot the Next Dead Animal’ to alleviate the boredom.
Me: Ok, I guess pheasant.
Mum: I guess badger.
There’s nothing for about three minutes.
Me: There aren’t any dead animals.
Mum: Hold tight, The Killing Fields are coming up …
I lose interest and possibly start inspecting myself in the wing-mirror …
Mum: AH! DEAD ANIMAL!
Me: It was a pheasant.
Mum: It was a pigeon.
Mum: Well, I saw it first.
We pass some hideous wind turbines, mum says wistfully …
“We should vajazzle the pylons. What a wonderful word, vajazzle. What does it mean? Where does it originate? The Vajazzled Pylons of North Devon …. hmmm … PHEASANT!”
There is some rubbish on the side of the road. Mum is horrified.
“Where is your head at to just throw your rubbish out of the window. There should be patrols to shoot them. I’d man one. Get out of it, go home and take your trans-fat packaging with you”.
We are listening to the constant robotic apologies for the delayed train that, it turned out, was because of a bomb scare in Dawlish.
Me: Why’s it delayed? Because it’s sunny?
Mum: Sun on the line darling.
Mum is quoting a line as we wait patiently …
Mum: “If you want someone you don’t have to talk to, bring me Lady Jane”…
Me: Lady Jane Grey? The Queen?
Mum: No, this is Bob Dylan. Lady Jane …
Me: So, she was still queen, she was queen for nine days.
Mum: Yes, but Lady Jane is also a term for marijuana.
Mum: Oh. Yeah.
I don’t want to leave the car and go on the platform because I am seated and basking in the warm glow of the setting sun …
Me: But I have this lovely radiance here.
I look to mum, who has no sun in the driver’s seat.
Mum: Yes, you see why I want to move? I have been cast to the shadows and it’s no fun.
I have found a ‘To Do List for 2012’ I responsibly/optimistically drafted at the beginning of the year and am reading it to mother. It contains … Read more, get showreel cut, more writing, more money, relearn piano, try stand up, learn the basics of Latin ….
Mum: Will you add “Give yourself a break, just calm the fuck down, love mum”.
Mother, my funny bone is fully regenerated. I couldn’t bare to tell you, partly because I couldn’t bring myself to utter it and partly because you just throwing it around was amusing me greatly but, the definition of “vajazalling” is …
“To give the female genitals a sparkly makeover with crystals so as to enhance their appearance.”
I think you’d struggle with the wind turbines ….