Motherisms Feat. Memory Lane, Poet Laureates, and The Fiery Pits of Hell …

It’s that time of year again (my birthday), and to my mother’s delight (I’m sure), I imposed myself on her in Devon for a whole week. And we’ve actually even been speaking on the phone before then, which has led to many miscommunications …

I am in the last phase of my Master’s — it turns out it’s a lot of work, who knew? But now it is dissertation season …

Mum: Have you finished your dissertation?
Me: No, I haven’t even started it.

I’m on the phone to mum before her imminent London arrival ..

Me: We bought a nice organic chicken.
Mum: Oh yes, how is she?

(Apparently mum thought I’d said something about one of my friends. I’m not convinced though..)

Mum has now graced London with her presence and is tired of the whole thing by day two.

Me: It’s not just you, London is exhausting.
Mum: No but it’s different. For me it’s that your body is exhausted. You think you’re going somewhere and then another part of you drops off.

Mum’s been staying at my godfather’s in London, who has a very sophisticated TV set up by the sounds of it.

Mum: I pressed a button and then it started asking me hundreds of questions: how many hertz did I want, which of the 500 channels … I pressed some of the buttons and nothing seemed to happen, but I’ve probably launched a missile.

We’re on the leisurely 6 hour bus down from London to Devon together. We’re going through Chelsea, mum is giving me the guided tour of memory lane and is pointing at the roof garden of a flat my godfather rented …

Mum: The summer of Live Aid we were up there, listening to Cheech and Chong.

We’re sort of half-watching ‘Green Mile’ and our attention has drifted back to it momentarily ….

Prisoner (inexplicably) testing the electric chair for someone else and reciting his last wishes (?): Fried chicken dinner with gravy on the tatters and a shit in your hat and have Mae West sit on ma face cus I’m a horny mother fucker.
Police man: Hahahahaha
Tom Hanks: Ahahahaha
Other police man: Hahahaha
Mum: What an extraordinary sense of humour.

I‘ve had a very big job cancel last minute and need to conjure some financial magic. Mum has a suggestion ..

“If you want to raise money just pretend you’re a dog with a problem.”

We’ve been out for a charming day at a stately home like normal people, and even had a cream tea like normal people. Unfortunately we arrived when there were still a lot of other, truly normal, people there. However, we got lost on the guided walk and emerged 3hrs later through the undergrowth, having had to walk around a 10ft high ‘ha ha wall’ (not so funny) and my 73 year-old-mother climb over several fences, and by then everyone else had left …

Mum: That’s why it’s nice to come later in the day not all these people in brightly coloured kagools ruining the view.

We’re walking around the lovely stately home, it’s not too big, it’s not too small. Got a lovely garden, some fields, a stable, a pond, some chandeliers, a William Blake (on loan)…

Me [wistfully]: Yeah I could actually live somewhere like this I think.
Mum: Well, you’ll have to marry some chinless twat.

A Panty liner advert is on TV…

Advert: Women don’t have to be soft and bla bla …
Me: Oh god yes we know, you’re tough and a right old fucking bruiser. Good for you.
Mum: “Even on my period I’ll kill you.”
Advert: ….you can do anything, even if you are woman bla bla bla …
Mum: Oh god who writes this shit!

Mum’s friend has helped her locate a new car, a lovely little (10yr old) VW.

“He’s prouder of this than he his that Mossad wagon of his.”

Brexit news is on, we were never going to be able to avoid it entirely …

Mum: Ahhhh… Let’s see who killed who tonight.

It’s a couple of months ago. Mum has asked to read a poem of mine, I have duly sent it to her and have, after a week, received no feedback. I’m curious …

Me: Did you read my poem?
Mum: No … yes.
Me: Well you can’t have thought much of it if you forgot.
Mum: No, I think I noted its arrival but didn’t read it. I like everything you write.
Me: Ok.
Mum: Carol Anne Duffy’s coming to the end of her term.
Me: Yes, I think unfortunately I’m still a little obscure to become Poet Laureate
Mum: Obscure is so cool.

Mum is a firm believer in watching some good old fashioned mindless television, and then talking over all of it. ‘Bake Off’ is on..

Man making bread: I like a pert bun. *wink wink, nudge nudge*
Me: It always amazes me the amount of innuendo people manage to get into any sentence involving food
Mum: Oh yes it’s probably scripted innuendo now, sort of mandatory.

Mum hasn’t quite worked out how to work her touch screen phone with complete success.

Mum: When you call it says ‘sweep up’, so I sweep, and nothing happens!
Me: I think that’s swipe up mum, just touch it and move your finger up.
Mum: No, it’s sweep!

There is such a thing as ‘Archers Anonymous’, and Mum’s on it …

“Let’s stir the buggers up! My daddy would have loved the internet.”

We’re watching a programme about 1992 as it’s the year mum started building our beloved house that is no longer ours. There’s a segment on ‘Wayne’s World’:

Mum: What’s this?
Me: Wayne’s World
Mum: Hmmm…not sure about this.
Me: No, I think this is right up your street — you liked ‘Dude Where’s My Car’.
Mum: … Yes I did.

The 1992 programme is now talking about Achy Breaky Heart (a song I’ve decided I very much like).

Someone with an angular haircut who thinks they’re very cool and probably into moaning at parties: Line dancing is the spawn of Satan.
Mum: There’s worse things than line dancing
Me: I’d do it.
Mum: I think I would too.
Someone else with angular haircut: It’s all hideous diamanté and frilled skirts.
Cutaway to exactly that.
Me: Looks great, I’m into it.

I leave the room momentarily, then return.

Mum: Oh no, it’s getting a little hitler youth now.
Me: Oh, shame.

All the houses down mum’s road seem to be being repainted (very slowly)…

Mum: I like the colours they’re painting these.
Me: Yes maybe they’ll eventually reach that penis.
Mum: What penis?
Me: The penis that’s been spray painted on someone’s doorway for about fifteen years.
Mum: Oh that penis! Yes, it’ll take a while to get rid of that.

Somehow — how exactly I do not know — mum has signed up to a cat website, she has no particular affection towards cats …

Mum: You’ve got to get me off this cat website.
Me: What cat website?
Mum [genuinely distressed]: I don’t know but they send me hundreds of cats a day, and I don’t know how to stop them!
I’m laughing.
Mum: They keep talking about their “babies”, “this baby”, “my baby”, “your baby” … it’s dangerous: it’s a cat.
Me: Ok. We’ll just unsubscribe you.
Mum, back-tracking: Well, one or two a day, that’s cool, I like animals ..

We’re watching the end of ‘Celebrity Masterchef’. I only recognise Zandra Rhodes, mum is helping me identify one of the other contenders …

Mum: He’s Joey Essex.
Me: Is he.
Mum: Yes he seems rather sweet actually, he just needs watering twice a week and that’s it.

We’re sitting down and ready to get competitive watching ‘University Challenge’….

Me: Jeremy Paxman hasn’t aged at all.
Mum: I was just thinking how much he had.

The students on ‘University Challenge’ are doing their “Hey, I’m James, you might remember me from …” intros and it’s making me cringe.

Mum: I do wish they wouldn’t do this “first name only” thing.
Me: It’s almost like they’re auditioning to be a presenter, it’s horrible.
Mum: It’s because it’s got to be caj. Everything’s got to be caj …. I’m surprised they’re even allowed to compete anymore.

A programme about WWII is on as I’m flicking through the channels…

Mum: Oh no! It’s handsome chaps doing serious stuff — amazing guys.

We have continued flicking, mum now has the remote and has hovered on the ‘Mash Report’…

Me: No.
Mum: Give it a chance, give it five minutes.
Me: No that’s far too long.

4 seconds later …

Mum: Yeup it is.

I’m on the phone to mum with a lovely paper bag full of ingredients for supper …

Me: I’m just walking back through the park from getting mushrooms.
Mum: Be careful foraging.
Me: I haven’t been foraging, I went to the shop!

I don’t know what mum is watching in the other room but I have a feeling it’s ‘Beverly Hills Housewives’ or some variation of because I hear her shouting at the television …

“Kick him to the curb honey!”

Two minutes later….

“He’s a twat get rid of him.”

I am a blessed angel and have cooked and washed up for the sixth night in row and just want to check it’s been recognised …

Me [impersonating mum]: Oh Jade, thank you so much for washing up again, you are a saint. When is your canonisation, please can I attend?
Mum: Yes I’m sure it will be very soon and I’ll be in the fiery pits of hell.
Me: Probably.
Mum: With all my mates.

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Motherisms feat: Sinatra’s Secret, Corruption, Moomin Butts and Lizzie Borden

It’s Christmas Eve. I’ve just returned to the room after wrapping mum’s presents. It seems mum is worried that I didn’t take long enough …

Mum: The thing is: to give and be giving

Me: Yes mum, don’t worry, I’m giving well this year.

As usual, mum has told me all about at least three of my presents within an hour of my arrival …

Mum: It will look great in the flat …

Me: Mum! Don’t tell me, it’s supposed to be a surprise – that’s half the point of presents!

Mum: I’ve been collecting this shit for months.

Apropos of nothing, and almost to herself, mum says ….

“Danny Dyer’s very funny.”

We’re watching University Challenge, there is a segment on Shakespeare quotes, which mum is usually very hot on …

Jeremy Paxman: “A calm and still conscience …”

Me: That’s unusual.

Mum: Exactly what I was thinking.

I am laughing and being young and happy, and evidently quite annoying because mum says …

“I think all young people should be made to wear fat suits so they understand what it’s like getting about when you’re old.”

There is a medieval style gold leaf painting of a monk-ish man on the table. I am observing his presence.

Me: Who is he?

Mum: St Nicholas … Do you like him?

Me: Yes he’s like that other dude over there (A miniature medieval-esque illumination of St Jude rests on the windowsill)

Mum: Yeah, I’ve got dudes everywhere.

It’s Christmas Eve and the sparkling drinks have begun ..

Me: I’m feeling quite flushed after that!

Mum: Lightweight.

Mum left a chocolate walnut for me to eat, I didn’t get round to eating it. It’s later in the evening and she is studying the jar of them now.

Mum: We should do something with the chocolate walnuts.

I’m reminded to turn around and eat mine.

Me: Oh … someone’s eaten mine.

Mum: Yes well, they look like dog poos just lying about.

‘Would I Lie To You’ comes on , mum is not best pleased …

“Oh no, it’s just a load of people showing off.”

‘Monopoly North Devon’ edition began on Christmas Eve. Mum, having been mightily bankrupted last year in a round of repairs to her many houses and hotels, is just playing the game to accrue as much cash as possible. There is a large, colourful pile of money on her side of the tablecloth.

“Millions! I’ve got millions! I’m the Philip Green of Barnstaple!”

I am being a normal girl, just walking around …

Mum: You look like Lizzie Borden.

Me: Who’s she?

Mum: A murderess.

Me: Thanks.

Mum is now complimenting me and wants due credit …

Mum: And me, for gestating this thing!

Me: Yes mum, thank you very much for giving birth to me.

Mum: You’re welcome.

We’re watching Guys and Dolls, or half-watching while lunch is being prepared saintily by me …

Me: I don’t get the Frank Sinatra thing

Mum: Big dick

Me: Jesus Christ, mother.

I quickly cross myself in the hope it will prevent mum from saying anything like that ever again.

Mum: He did! Ava Gardner said it very plainly. Also charm, musical talent and wealth, of course …

We’re watching King’s College choir, one boy has done a magnificently high-pitch solo number for a while, and now the rest of the choir is joining in …

Me: All the out-of-tuners can come in now

Mum (horrified): Out of tuners, tut tut.

Mum has bought a decent-sized chicken for us to eat, currently raw she suggests we …

“Instagram it to my followers.”

Mum’s first boyfriend is in a film on Christmas Day …

Mum: I gambled with him under the stage for many hours during Julius Caesar.

Me: Gambled what? … Playing what?

Mum: Gambled … it’s an expression.

I hear things, tinkling things and spoon stirring …

Me: Are you having a brandy coffee?

Mum: Yes.

Me: I knew it!

Mum: You can smell it from 50ft. I’m not trying to get anything past you. There’s a pause. Want one?

Me: Yes please.


We’re all tiring a little of Monopoly and a couple of brandies (sans coffee) have also been drunk. Mum is counting the spaces …

“Six, seven, eight, nine … I’ve got so bored I’ve forgotten what I was doing.”

Mum’s on a butt rant …

“These women! It’s just a succession of arses … ‘so and so “flaunts’ … And you think, “Jesus god, not another arse.” … Huge arses like moomins.”


Mum’s navigating slowly away from women with enormous arse implants towards sex robots, which seem to have inspired her imagination …

“The human race will die out … Soon they’ll sell sex robots in Argos.

Mum then attempts a teenage boy’s voice …

‘What would you like for Christmas dad? I got you a sex robot.’

Mum then attempts a robot voice …

“‘Would you like to masturbate?’ ”

The Monopoly game-saga continues. We’re listening to some neglected Bob Dylan on Spotify, an ad comes on …

Ad woman: Sky Cinema so you ..

Mum: Go away this woman!

Ad woman: With Sky Cinema …

Mum: NO!! ‘Blood on the Tracks’, man!

We have a couple of peaceful rounds and now a new advert is on, the voice overs sound similar ..

Ad woman: Google home hub …

Mum (now shouting): WHO IS THIS WOMAN?


Mum is insisting we watch Kevin and Perry Go Large …

Mum: How old were you when this came out?

Me: I don’t know, about fourteen.

Mum: That must be why it left such a marked impression on me.

Me (in defence): These guys are a bit older.

Mum: Yes, but there’s and age range of between 14 and 40.

Mum has been raving about a romantic sword scene in the old ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ since we watched the new one. Now the old one is on and so is the sword scene … I watch as a soldier shows off to his love interest by slashing a sword half an inch from her face, proceeding to run around a hilly outcrop screaming and then charging at her with the lethal blade …

Me: I don’t know, for me that’s a warning sign.

Mum: Yes … It’s not quite how I remember it.

We’re … you guessed it, playing Monopoly, the same game, on Boxing Day, three days after we started it, and, you guessed it, mum is still cash rich and land poor …

Me, to myself: Advance to go collect £200…

Mum: Won’t do you any good. The country has been corrupted by speculators, now I’m seeing if it will work for me.

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Pre and Post-Champagne Family Portrait

Motherisms Festive Specialé 2.0

It’s been an interesting year to say the least. But, here we are, mum and I at the end of it, still standing, still talking to each other …

It’s some time in September and we’re driving down a narrow country lane, Mum pulls in to let a person go past. They manage to raise a finger to thank her but don’t look happy about it. Mum is not impressed …

“God a smile wouldn’t break your face. So miserable all these people, the English take their pleasure sadly.”

Mum’s friend owns an excellent Pizza restaurant …

“That pizza oven’s incredible, they can do cremations in the winter when things get slow.”

In October Mum and I were in a rather nasty car crash. Mum got sent an awful lot of flowers (I didn’t). Mum’s looking around the room, barely visible through the foliage …

“It’s like a funeral parlour in here … so beautiful.”

Mum makes no apologies for being a big fan of Real Housewives (of New York, Beverly Hills … and wherever else these women live). She is setting the scene for me …

Mum: These poor men must get confused – all the women look the same. ‘Was she my wife? Or was she?’
Me: She seems like the smart one.
Mum: Yeah she’s the surgeon … her and her husband. He does all their work, so you don’t want to upset him too much.
Me: You can tell how much work she’s had done because her neck’s red with blood and there’s nothing in her face.
Mum: Oh yeah, the amount if work these women have had done! They’ve had their faces done, their fannies rearranged …

We’re watching Paddington Bear, who arrives in London and lands the most beautiful home, just like that …

Paddington Bear: I feel quite at home in Windsor Gardens!
Me: I bet you do you lucky sod.
Paddington is not representing the reality of living in London, and is skipping about with glee …
Mum: Might have made a serious mistake here.

(Actually turns out to be a lovely little film.)

Mum has discovered Marks and Spencer’s do bread and butter pudding, this has proved dangerous …
“I’m addicted to bread and butter pudding, the woman at the check out has started to notice. She said, “I started getting like this, but it was with the jam rolly polly.”

It’s Halloween and we’re in Barnstaple late at night walking back from the cinema, everyone is dressed as slutty zombies, zombies, pirates, slutty pirates and slutty cats. I see mum observing the revellers with suspicion …

Me: It’s Halloween.
Mum: Oh that’s what that is.

Mum’s wistfully looking out the window over the river …

“Wouldn’t it be nice if it were attractive people sitting on the wall.”

It’s time to squabble over what we should watch. Mum wants to watch something about forensic murders, life is stressful at the moment, and I’d like something a little more cheerful ..

Mum: Forensics is fascinating
Me: Yes it is, but isn’t there anything with a bit more joi de vivre?
Mum: Joi de Vivre … ok.
Mum puts something on, I can tell immediately it’s a television drama as someone is shouting at someone else.
Me: Not sure about this mum.
Mum: It’s supposed to be very good.
Me: Yeah but it’s not ‘joi de vivre’ is it?
Mum: No, it’s hard hitting drama about crack addiction in 1980s.

I am tinkling away on the guitar, I have improved, slightly over the last year or so …
Mum: You should write songs
Me: I should but I won’t.
Mum: Your guitar playing is getting quite good
Me: It is, but I can’t bare to be under appreciated about anything else
Mum (with sarcastic melodrama): Oh dear, couldn’t you?

It’s nearly supper time and there’s a strange noise coming from the kitchen, a low droning sound …

Me: What is that?
Mum: The chicken tikka masala.
Mum thinks twice about this and goes into the kitchen to double check it is the meal making this noise …
Mum: Oh god no it’s Bartok! Jesus Christ, at this time of night?

Mother is very up to date, she will soon be micro dosing daily and using a new crypto currency she calls …

“Bit con”

It’s two days before Christmas and I have deigned to grace mother with my presence, we are discussing the many treats we have, and what we don’t have …
Mum: We don’t have mince pies, you don’t like Mince pies do you.
Me: Yeah, but I don’t mind if we don’t have them.
Mum: Well we can always go to M+S and do the vulture’s dash tomorrow.

It’s Christmas Eve and continuing my grandmother’s tradition we are allowed to open a little present this evening. I unwrap a beautifully packaged present to reveal … a tube of effervescent Vitamin C.

Me: Oh lovely, thanks very much.
Mum: No darling look inside.
I do look inside and to my relief see a mascara.
Me: Oh excellent!
Mum: Took the vitamin c very graciously

I fail to take my two thermals vests and thermal tights quite as graciously.

David Attenborough is on in the background, again ….

“Kind of taken over from God now, Attenborough. We’ll have Attenborough carols next.”

Mum’s listing what we have to eat …

Mum: Bananas, brandy butter, brandy cream, hummus, dips ..
Me (trying to join in): Chips and dips …
My American terminology gets lots in translation.
Mum: No, no chips if you want chips you can lightly roast some potato skins.

It’s just gone Twelve in the morning of Christmas Eve, we’re discussing what we could possibly drink at this hour, mum is holding a minute glass filled with transparent liquid …

Mum: Gin.
Me: Mulled wine.
Mum: Mulled wine will make you sleepy, micro-dose with this, incredibly expensive stuff, won it in the raffle … this will get you going.
Me: Maybe later, I’m not sure in quite ready for neat gin.

Mum is worried we are being taken over by our robot overlords but can’t remember their names ..

Mum: All this stuff is spying on you, that bloody Celsy …
Me: Alexa.

For now mum can’t drive and she’s bored, so she’s thinking about joining a political party, any political party …

Mum: I’ll be a liberal and a communist.
Me: You can’t pick both, you have to be loyal to your party if you actually want to effect some change.
Mum: I don’t know which party I’m going to chose yet, and anyway I’m just agitating I think effecting change is a little ambitious

We are trying to plan our evening’s televisual entertainment, mum has her favourite show on the brain …

Mum: You can watch Dennis Potter
Me: Who?
Mum: Whatever his name is. …
Me: Harry Potter?
Mum: Yes.
Me: Is that on now is it?
Mum: Real housewives?
Me: No, Harry Potter!
Mum: No, later.

I have made a compromise and agreed to watch Real Housewives provided I get to watch Harry Potter, without complaints. Mum studies the men on the television and announces …

“This must be an old one all the husbands have left now.”

Mum bought me ‘Monopoly, North Devon Edition’ for Christmas, which comes as a surprise as the last time we played it I was 8 and had what a believe is a called an ‘episode’ – I was not born a good loser, it came with practice …

Me: Shall we play monopoly then?
Mum: Yeup. Made sure there’s a taser behind the sofa.

We’re on our wildly exciting Christmas walk, mum shouts excitedly over the roaring gale …

“Oh look, rabbit poo!”

Mum and I returning from our delightfully bleak and drizzly Christmas walk along the estuary and are walking down a little brambled road near the Rugby club, covered in litter. We are tutting furiously at the rubbish. Mum names the culprits …

“Rugger buggers.”

We’ve had a phone call from family in Japan and Mum is whimsically entertaining going to visit on her air miles, but appears to have a price on her head …
“Ah, but I’d be within range of Kim Jong Un.”

Mum comes in, puts 15th century convent maestro Hildegard von Bingham on the CD player, and then leaves. I am left to eat chicken sandwich alone in a fantastically ominous atmosphere.

It’s Boxing Day and we’re playing monopoly again, mum is on a losing streak after a night of winning the previous evening (and gracious losing on my part), I have landed on ‘Verity’, one of her less-expensive properties. Mum is disappointed …

“Verity … a cheap tart, £8.’

Poor mum was walking home with a very heavy pineapple from her friend’s and it left her unbalanced in wet conditions and she slipped over on the pavement. Displaying her excellent character, she has not held a grudge against the pineapple and is eating it with zeal …

Mum: It was lovely of Michael Jackson to give her so many pineapples.
Me: Michael Jackson?!
Mum: It’s his name, must be very annoying, his parents should have thought of that.

We’re watching the weather forecast for excitement. The skies are black, rain is attacking the windows and it’s a howling gale outside.

Weather Woman: … as storm Dylan comes in from the west.
Mum: With storm Cohen close behind.

It’s Boxing Day and I ask mum if she wants a chicken sandwich (the highlight of Christmas for me) …
“No bread for me – enough trans fats man … The countdown to starvation begins.”

I have just bankrupted mum for the third time this evening and the fourth time in her life, someone in a drama on television is saying that their mother couldn’t afford a bus ticket.

“If the mother can’t afford bus ticket she shouldn’t play monopoly then.’

Mum is decimating the chicken I thought I had already stripped in preparation for making chicken soup, she calls in from the kitchen:

Mum: Whole other meal on here.
Me: I’ll have another chicken sandwich tomorrow then …
I think for a second and try and count how many days it’s been since Christmas, possibly two hundred, I can’t be sure ….Is the chicken still ok to eat tomorrow?
Mum: You’ll find out.

(I ate it and I’m still alive so I guess it was.)

Mum’s looking in the fridge and telling me what we have a lot of …
“Things you can eat freely: Bread and butter pudding.”

Happy New Year! And if you have a Motherism (or two) you would like to share do send them in (anonymously if you don’t want to get in trouble). I will be compiling a collected Motherisms soon! Send them to

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Ben Fogg Makes Laugh

Meant to put this up a while ago: hilarious friend, writer, director, pianist, comic, producer, control freak/genius, Ben Fogg, has made some rather hilarious videos to help him gain er gainful employment. They really are funny. And he pixilates his privates. And I’m in a couple of ’em, of course (otherwise it’d be shit) (no, they wouldn’t have) ….


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Motherisms: Festive Specialé

I would be a scrooge to allow the festive season to pass without some of these. So, it’s the run-up to Christmas …

Mum: I always think of you when I see Centre Point …
Me: Why?
Mum: Because when you were 3, we were making a rare trip down Oxford Street and you pointed at Centre Point and said, ‘Who lives there?’ I told you no one did and then we chased some homeless people around with sandwiches for a while, and then you said, ‘Why don’t they just put all the homeless people on the big tall tower?’ And I had to explain capitalism to you at a very early age ….
There’s a pause.
Mum: … though actually it did end up a homeless charity.

We’re leaving mum’s enclosure. She’s turning the car round and has slightly misjudged it, meaning we have to go over the curb. Mum, very sweetly, as if she is talking to a horse says ….

“Goooood car …. That’s it … Over the pavement ….”

Mum’s asking me who someone is on ‘who do you think you are’ I know who it is but I dislike the fact I know who half of these people are so much I’m refusing to cooperate …

Mum: Is this Cheryl Cole?
Me: I don’t know …
Mum looks at TV times …
Mum: Yes, it is Cheryl Cole.
I don’t look up.
Mum: Hello??
Me: Yes, good we’ve established that. My interest level remains the same.
Mum: Oh I am SO sorry to disturb you!

Mum’s come round for another Christmas at the Cratchit’s. She’s admiring the tree my friend and I decorated …

Mum: Oh it does look rather good you know Jade …
Me: There’s more fake presents on the tree than real ones under it.
Mum: That’s usually the case.

We’re watching TV, mum is describing a scene, I think, rather abstractly …

Mum: Like an Escher sketch
I assume mum thinks the etch a sketch is French, which I don’t believe it is, and don’t like it with a French accent, so correct her …
Me: ETCH A sketch
Mum: No. Escher, the painter …
Me: Ohhhh okay.
Mum rolls her eyes and mutters something about the money wasted on my education.

I’m at mum’s and am so looking forward to eating something I haven’t cooked for myself …

Mum: Supper’s ready!
Me: Yum what are we having?
Mum: A variation on gruel.
Me: Oh. Cool …

I have no idea where this came from, but she suddenly comes out with …

“I should like to be an Internet crime wave.”

Driving in Devon, as with anywhere in the world, is exciting. People make it exciting thanks to human error, I imagine when we have robots it will be more exciting because the cars will just drive us straight off the face of the earth. But for now, someone else has failed to indicate when going round the roundabout …

Me: Indicator would have been good.
Mum: It’s a sign of weakness. We’re going by the will of Allah here …

We walk into mum’s flat and it’s like the Queen’s mailsack has been poured on the floor, thousands of cards litter the carpet ….
Me: Woah ..
Mum: Oh god. I keep getting all these cards and I don’t know who any of them are from …. dear people. So sweet.

We’ve started buying our Christmas decorations from charity shops and if you don’t use the same ones every year so should you but whatever I’m not here to lecture (one day I will be). Anyway, mum is describing some of the lights she was demonstrated …

“Then they got out these very dubious blue fairy lights … made the whole place look like a police station.”

We’re at some red traffic lights, mum wants to turn right, the guy opposite wants to turn right as well, mum is creeping towards the line, eyeing the red light and nudging the accelerator.

Me: Er …. Mum, are you racing?
The light turns amber and mum speeds left, effortlessly thanking the man opposite as we screech into the distance …
Mum: Well someone has to act decisively, and my acceleration is usually faster than theirs.

I hadn’t turned my tv on for over and month and had been some new age preacher talking about how much I hated it and couldn’t watch it anymore because of the adverts bla bla bla … when it came to Christmas, I really fancied watching some TV. Turned it on to watch the Snowman and … No. The TV now does not work. So it’s Christmas day and we’re about four hours in to the Sopranos ….

Mum: Oh, San Pellegrino. The best water there is.
Me: Yeah .. there’s a lot of product placement in this.
There’s a few more cutaways to characters, usually sitting behind the Pellegrino bottle …
Mum: The Pellegrino’s going to get a credit.

I’ve cut a mountain of brussles sprouts, there are two of us eating …

Me: Enough brussles sprouts now, surely?
Mum: Dear god yes.
Me: I’ve given myself RSI again
Mum: Well that was stupid.

Mum can recite massive chunks of Shakespeare, and general poems ‘and shit’. She’s quoting something over in the corner, I’m trying to engage and be a conversationalist while doing a hundred other things ….

Mum: … child Harold un to the high towered king …
Me: Right, yes. Harold wanted Jesus dead because he’d heard a prophecy about a new king …
Mum: That was Herod not Harold, dear god. It’s a poem by Byron called Children Harold’s pilgrimage, look it up.
Me: Ok, I will.
(I haven’t. But I will.)

(I will be in trouble for revealing this but) Mum has bought the Daily Mail for the television time thing …

Mum: No one believes me but on Saturdays it really does have the best TV time thing .. it has all the numbers of the channels, everything …
Me: I believe you.
Mum: And actually, I console myself whenever I buy it that if it weren’t for the Daily Mail they would never have caught those bastards in the Steven Lawrence case.
Me: Well, good … really good … strange that though …
Mum: Very strange for such a racist paper.

Hell froze over and Mum said something nice to me ….

Mum: …. Really, I mean it. I’m not just buttering you up.
Me: Well I know that, you’ve never buttered me up, ever ….
Mum: I didn’t grow up with buttering up, you’ve got to actually do something to get buttered up in my books. People getting buttered up left right and centre nowadays, it’s not healthy.

We’re watching the carols at Kings College. Mum’s from Cambridge and is crying within the first bar of the little angel’s mouth opening, mum gushes …

“Stone masons knew what they were doing back then … Venice is beautiful and the buildings are beautiful but I’ll take Kings College every time.”

Well it’s Christmas Eve, so we should probably talk about how cold it was in the 1940s and 50s ….

Mum: … you don’t understand how cold it was.
Me: Yes I do I used to live in a warehouse.
Mum: Well then yes you’ve got the gist if it.
I don’t think mum’s got the gist of quite how cold the warehouse was compared to the 1950s chill …
Me: I had to walk across a roof in December to get to showers.
Mum: What?! You didn’t tell me that at the time …
There’s a pause.
Mum: Jade?
I drink some champagne and stay quiet …

Mum is watching something, or reading something, I’ve been cooking and can’t really hear what’s going on but it’s obviously some rally cry as I hear her shout over …

“I’d have you … you’re good in a scrap.”

Mum and I both love Alan Bennet. He’s reading his dairies and we both think he is looking great for 81. Mum is maybe more vocal about her love for Alan Bennet though (please note: we’ve had 2 bottles of prosecco or some sparkling shit because prosecco’s poisoning the Italians or something) …

Mum: Just watch him. This, now this, is a wonderful lovely man. Brrriliant, brilliant writer …
It cuts away to Alan Bennet in a room with a nice wall-hanging behind him …
Mum: Lovely, lovely tagine hanging behind him …
There’s a pause as my brain slowly whirrs into action …
Mum: Not tagine
Me: Do you mean rug?
Mum: Prayer mat
I’m in hysterics. Mum looks away for a second and I start typing notes on my phone …
Me: DON’T YOU DARE! I’ll start my own blog with all the stupid shit you say.
I continue to type, giggling at my naughtiness ..
Mum: Tripping Over Whippets, you wonna watch yourself.

Mum is fascinated by Kanye West and the wife, I’ve started quite enjoying constructing conspiracy theories with mum about them. I see she has turned to a page with his crazed face on it …

Me: What’s the goss with Kanye then?
Mum: He’s in psychiatric care.
Me: Few years too late.
Mum: That jewellery heist was a bit suspect — he’s got financial problems … Big bum has been in seclusion.
Me: Good.

Mum’s on the computer which is always dangerous.

Mum: People keep inviting me to Linkedin but don’t know what it is.
Me: No, no one does. I can’t waste my time talking about it honestly it’s so boring and useless …
Mum: No don’t. I’m so over it I’ve done it already.

I’ve put on some Boubacar Traoré ….

Mum: Who’s this?
Me: Can’t remember his name, akin to …
Me and Mum: Ali fucker Tori
Mum: Is he Malian?
Me: Maybe …
Mum: Amazing music scene in Mali. But they’re all fleeing because of ISIS, but it was amazing in the 70s — peaceful festivals in the desert with camels, no one beheading anyone …
Me: Sounds perfect.
Mum: It was.

We’re going to go for a Boxing Day walk. Mum has brought round her ancient Hunter wellies …

Mum: Had these for fifteen years now, it was an anarchistic statement: pink wellies, I just thought you can’t get any more stupid than pink wellies. Then every twat got them ..
Me: I like the colour they’ve gone now … a weird whitey colour …
Mum:Yes I look as if I should be in an operating theatre.

I have six mountains of books I’ve never read. Mum’s going through them …

Mum:Read this Peter Ackroyde?
Me: I’ve read bits of it it’s a fucking huge book. It’s good though.
Mum: Right …
Me: What? I don’t have time to read a book from cover to cover, I dip in and out ..
Mum: I see … Just dip in and out. Read a couple of chapters from the middle of Middlemarch (she’s obviously seen it by the bath), couple of chapters of Albion …
Me: Yeah, basically.
Mum: It’s the death of literature.
Me: Whatever ….
A few minutes later …
Mum: Dances With Wolves is on later have you seen that?
Me: Uh … yeah I think so, bits of it definitely. I’d like to watch it again though, I can’t really remember it …
Mum: Just dipped in and out of it …

I am eating. Mum has been thinking and announces …

“I need to talk to Steven Hawking … just to say, ‘Hi … we’re all going to get better.”

Happy Hjksdabd;liwdbefa;f (whatever we’re saying nowadays). xxxx

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Motherisms: Feat. Summer, Groccles and Full Moon In Aquarius …

It’s summer in North Devon. The swifts and swallows have arrived, as have approximately 9 million caravans and wankers with weekend surfboards. All the roads are blocked, there’s rubbish (and even worse, people) all over the beach and everything suddenly gets more expensive. Fortunately it’s the most beautiful place … in North Devon, and I’m still near mum ….

I like art, I really like old art, and I really like silly jokes. Mum also likes all these things …

Me: Go on ‘classical art memes’ ….
Mum: What is a meme?
Me: I don’t really know … it’s just a meme.
Mum: “It’s just a meme.” Even I know it’s a meme. I still don’t know what it is.
Me: Well it turns out I don’t know either.
Mum: I’ve got memes, I’ve a cloud, I’ve got blue teeth …
Me: Yeah.

It’s summer in North Devon and if you’re not 6th generation Devon or a friend of ours, mum doesn’t want you here.

Me: How was your day?
Mum: Swimming pool full of tossers

I have a tendency to leave electric cables to my appliances behind, so do other people, all people younger than mum apparently ..

“You young people always leaving your wires behind, wankers.”

I’ve gone round to mums and am enjoying a nice glass of wine as I watch the seagulls fly past the window in the late-evening light. Then I notice something strange on the windowsill …

Me: Mum, why is there an enormous knife here?
Mum: I don’t know.

Writing is a constant battle with my brain. If I spend too long looking at words, I become unsure how they could possibly be spelled like they are. The newest in this collection of words is ‘blood’ …

Me: Blood, it’s not said how it’s spelled at all .. “blud it’s bloooood…”
Mum: YES, bloed … sounds Dutch …I should’ve known that from all my Scandy-noirs
Me: All that bloed
Mum: Lots of bloed.

We’re watching a video where dead bodies get turned into rocks – mum is a sucker for all new carbon-neutral ways of disposing of herself ….

Narrator: Then put them in liquid nitrogen to distract …
Mum: … Your victim
I watch on horrified as a human is turned into ice-dirt and then compressed into a block …
Mum: Looks expensive.
They’re now being ground up into a brown-orange powder …
Narrator: … freeze dried …
Mum: Then they put you in a curry.

Mum wants to do something complicated with her television and I’m not in the mood to do it.

Mum: Well, you need useful boys for things like these anyway.
Me: I’m pretty useful for a girl …
Mum: Yes, sure, yes, no you are quite.

It’s early august and it’s pissing with rain ….

Mum: Moody weather …
Me: Yeah take that tourists.
Mum: They don’t care they’ll go back and fiddle with their tablets … hopefully one day they can just come here virtually.

Night tubes going and it’s the hottest story I’ve got hold of that day ..

Me: First night tube in London ..
Mum: Oh … right … in London …
Me: Yes. Not a huge event but does make a big difference.
Mum: Yes some where for the homeless to sleep, poor bastards I bet they’re relived.

Mum’s an Aquarius in the world of horoscopes, and vehemently believes in all their (positive) traits. This information will be important in a second …

Mum: Full moon yesterday …
There have been quite a lot of full moons recently it seems and I don’t react.
Mum: … In Aquarius.
I see now this one’s important.
Me: Oh right …
Mum: Probably why I’m so tired.
Me: Yeah that must’ve taken it out of you .

Mum is not enjoying getting old, there is way less partying and way more hip replacements than she’d envisaged …

Mum: Getting old is so boring.
Me: Well you’re going to have to find ways to preoccupy yourself.
Mum: No it’s not that it’s that your body stops working.
Me: Well Steven Hawkings hasn’t had the privilege of a fully-functioning body for the majority of his life – don’t hear him complaining he’s bored.
Mum: Well, I’m sorry I’m not Steven Hawkings!!

We’re observing the woman who’s supposed to have a shit-tonne of testosterone, she’s about to race or has just raced maybe. Either way, she’s standing around looking powerful …

Mum: I wouldn’t take her on would you?
Me: Yeah, I would. I’m scrappy .
Mum: Yes … You’ve got to get that under control.

I work quite hard, not that hard, but quite hard. Mum thinks this deserves a reward when I see her, it’s wine and I’m not in the mood but have struggled through one heavy glass of red …

Me: Why did you give me more wine?
Mum: Because it’s you’re day off
Me: It’s not my day off.
Mum: Well, have another anyway. You’re a laugh when you’re drunk.

(I drink the second and am a right laugh.)

Mum’s showing me some pictures of Evelyn Waugh or someone like that in the buff …

Me: Oh yes right …
Mum: During his gay period.
Me: Nice shining bottom.
Mum: It is isn’t it. Everyone at Oxford in the ‘30s was gay … And a communist.

We’re watching the gymnastics. I am in tears at the magnificence of it. Mum says …

“They look like little fairies but they’ve got thighs like truck drivers – so bloody strong ..”

It’s later on in the evening of gymnastics and I’m now drunk floor watching a routine …

Me: I could do that
Mum: Yeah right. Competitive or what!
I watch a pathetic double-backflip-quadruple-somersault-tummy-tuck-splits …
Me: No probs.
Commentator: Not the most difficult routine we’ll see tonight.
Mum: No jade could do it.

It’s dessert time, I’ve given up sugar because I have a tendency to eat enormous bars of chocolate daily, and there’s no one to tell me not to; but now I am my own parent. Mum brandishes something from the fridge …

Mum: 0% fat yoghurt.
Me: I don’t care about fat it’s sugar in supposed to not be eating.
Me: Well, it’s got absolutely nothing in it, do you want it or not? I’d get it while you can.

There are an awful lot of people in the village I live in, thousands of them, all with thousands of miniature versions of themselves …

“There’s too much breeding going on, too many kids. About 1 or two kids, great, but why do you want all these extraneous ones? The earth’s resources are not infinite.”

It’s later on in the Evelyn Waugh evening and mum’s driving me home. I’ve recently found out after 20 years of thinking I was too tall to be a jockey, that actually, I’m not.

Me: Lexxi’s boyfriend said I’m the right height … Grampa said I was too tall but I’m exactly the right height.
Mum: I’m surprised Grandpa didn’t say it was because you were a woman.
Me: Oh maybe that’s what he was saying .
Mum: I think he might’ve just generally been horrified you wanted to be a jockey.
A few minutes later ….
Me: Wasn’t Grandpa at Oxford in the ’30s?
Mum: Yes he was …

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Motherisms Feat. Politics, Driving and Poets …

I’m still at close proximity to Mum. Which means I just can’t help interacting with her …

Someone’s on TV massaging a piece of pork with the sort of sensuality I am yet to express to another human, and telling us to buy it …

Me: They never advertise organic vegetables …
Mum: They shouldn’t need to.
Me: No. But they do …
Mum: The world is over populated, let them poison themselves. Carry on I say!

Mum is talking about the recent presidential visit ….

“Did you see Obama get off the plane? God, he just looked so cool. And then you had our leader, looking like a puffy twat.”

Mum’s come round and we’re going through the papers. We’ve reached the horoscopes …

Mum: Oh your stars are good, they’re saying you’re entering a new period in your life.

Me: Thank god. The last 15 years were shit.

Mum is being organised and writing a list, or a note … something. She’s wearing glasses, she has a pen, she’s told me to shut up; it’s important.

Mum: What’s the date?
Me: 29th
Mum: Of what?
Me: …. Really?

We drive past two men in black suits walking down one of the rougher, deserted back streets in town …

Mum: Debt collectors
Me: The Matrix

Mum is up to date with American politics and she is angry about it. I have just been lamenting Bernie Sanders (WHY!!! A BIRD LANDED ON HIS PODIUM WHILE HE WAS TALKING ABOUT BIRDS, PEOPLE.) mum’s moved on to Trump …

“The trailer trash masses of America will vote trump, and there’s a lot of them. They breed like rabbits and have no more intelligence.”

I’m learning to drive and I want to treat it like riding a robot horse. Currently I’m about to do a pretty-much vertical hill start as one of the L plates had flown off.

Me: I want to do some rally driving after I pass my test …
Mum: Well, there we go …

A second later …

Mum: Let’s not run before we can walk. Let’s just get up this hill please.

Donovan is in the papers. Mum loves Donavan so much. But neither of us can avoid the fact he looks a bit like a Buddhist Edith Piaf. Or as mum puts it …

“It looks like he’s transing.”

Mum is reminding me I must watch Hollow Crown again, or that’s what she’s trying to tell me.

Mum: You must watch Game of Thrones.
Me: Game of Thrones?
Mum: No, Hollow Crown. Same thing.
Me: It’s really not. You haven’t seen Game of Thrones.
Mum: Have you?
Me: One episode.
Mum: Everyone keeps banging on about it, I might see what all the fuss is about.
Me: I really wouldn’t bother. Honestly. It’s just a bit boring more than anything else.
Mum: Ok I won’t bother then. I never liked the Hobbit anyway.
Me: This isn’t The Hobbit either, The Hobbit is good! Well, Lord of the Rings is.
Mum: Yeah … all those Tolkien stories.
Me: They’re tales of moral fortitude!
Mum: Tales of moral turpitude by the sounds of it …

I’ve just returned form London, mum’s come to pick me up from the train station like a delightful “taxi service”. The radio’s on, mum’s obviously feeling classy as it’s classical.

Mum: Do you know what this piece of music is?

It’s like University Challenge all over again …

Me: Gnossienne no.1 by Eric Satie.
Mum: Very good
Me: I can play this shit.
Mum: Hm.

I’ve never delved deep into the world of psychedelics, but I’m fascinated by it. It’s also pricked mum’s ears …

Mum: They’re doing medical studies with LCD for depression.
Me: Yeah I know ..
Mum: You heard the programme?
Me: No, I read Timothy Leary ..
Mum: Ah right. Yes, well, they’re testing psychedelics on anxiety …
Me: I’m going on the trial.
Mum: I want to too.
Me: Well let’s get in the trial then!

(We forgot and failed miserably at getting on the trial.)

We’re trying to change channels but for some reason nothing’s happening. Some car programme with celebrities on it (not Top Gear) is on …

Mum: I’ve always liked Johnny Vegas …
Me: Me too but that’s Louis Walsh.

I am in Spain. I have just posted an article about Tracey Emin marrying a stone. My mum follows the website and, according to this text, clearly forgets I write the content …

Me: I know mumma I wrote that article xxx

We have successfully arranged the day ahead and we’re feeling good about it. Mum’s feeling really good …

“I am the mistress of logistics. If Napoleon had had me, he’d have won.”

Mum’s come round. I’ve spent days, nay, weeks alone and am starting to resemble the hermit farmer on the Fast Show, who comes out of his shed once a week and says, “This week, I have mostly been eating old pie.”

Mum: Oh there’s that pillow I was looking for! What’s it doing here?
Me: I slept on the sofa last night.
Mum: Why?
Me: It was Friday night and that was the most reckless thing I could do.

I don’t know what I’ve done. But it’s obviously good, as on the drive home mum comes out with …

Mum: You’ve turned into a very nice young woman.
Me: Oh, good.
Mum: I was bit worried about you for a few years there …
Me: Ok …
Mum: But you’ve pulled through nicely. I’m very proud of you.
Me: That’s a relief …

We’re going to someone’s birthday …

Mum: I’m relying on you to be the glamour end.
Me: Oh …
Mum: Just … brush your hair or something …

Gossip straight of the press …

Mum: Did you hear about Mariah Carey’s husband giving her 10,000 roses for Valentine’s?
Me: No … How did she get through the door?
Mum: I don’t know! It must’ve looked like a funeral parlour in there …

I’ve discovered there is a place of great literary interest very near by …

Me: We must go to Porlock soon. Shelley was there, he had a dream and was interrupted while writing into a poem ….
Mum: No he didn’t. It was Coleridge.
Me: It was Shelley!
Mum: I bet you it’s Coleridge.
Me: Ok, I wouldn’t put money on it.
Mum: No. But it’s a bet.
Me: I have to wait until I get 3G.
Mum: When do you get 3G?
Me: In a bit …
Mum: What is 3G?

(It was Coleridge. And the poem if you’re interested, was Kublah Khan.)

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Halloween 1999-Style

Motherisms: The Great Escape …

I know. It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m so sorry. It is now as inevitable as needing the loo eventually. There is no escape from its cellophane-wrapped clutches. BUT, don’t worry if you don’t have someone to say something nice to you, or someone to buy you a fake pearl/bad watch/silk boxers/teddybear. Remember you always have your friends and family, who love you. Why not say something nice to them, as well as your beloved? Why not use today to be really nice and loving to everyone in your life instead of hoping for a bunch of roses and some chocolates rich enough to fill the hole.

These are all the nice things mum and I have been saying to each other over the last few months …..

I walk in to mum’s flat, she’s moving house and boxes are everywhere in preparation for the move. As I come into the kitchen I see her bent over and wrestling with some very thick masking tape in her mouth …

Me: What are you doing …?

Mum: It’s Chinese New Year, you can’t use scissors.

Me: Oh …

Mum: Yes. Bit of shame we’re moving today but there we go …

I want an animal. I have wanted one for 10 years. The quest continues …

Me: We have to get a dog. Or any sort of pet, but really, specifically a dog. They lower heart disease by 78%.

Mum: Yes I know they do darling but I can’t have one now anyway.

Me: I’ve started stroking them on the street now, just to get a fix.

Mum: No, I do Hatha yoga. Much cleaner.

Mum’s playing a CD in the car, I haven’t heard it since our first house. Turns out neither mum …

Me: Who is this? We used to play this all the time. I love him

Mum: You know, I can’t remember …

Mum ejects the CD so we can look (we’re stationary, don’t worry beackseaters) …

Mum: Bruce Coben

I’ve read it, that’s not what it said. Mum must have terrible eyesight, poor old woman, she can’t read anymore …


Mum: COBURN, it’s pronounced CO-BURN. Cockburn …. Jesus.

Mum’s moved in to a new place that has, shall we say, the ‘capacity’ for an older person. This means a lovely walk-in power-shower and a strange array cords dangling from the ceiling, neither of us are sure of their purpose. I am bored, so I reach for one to see what will happen …

Mum: Don’t pull that! God knows what it does.

I don’t. But examine it suspiciously.

Mum: We’ll spray them all silver …

Me: No, gold remember, for warmth.

Mum: Yes good. I’ll just say my daughter is a very famous artist and got carried away. Do apologise.

Mum’s talking about something I’ve written. She is getting carried away …

Mum: You could channel the spirit of the late Brian Sewell … very underestimated.

Me: I feel I’ve done underestimated.

Mum is putting on some makeup, she looks infinitely more presentable than I do, but is not happy with the results …

“Oh god. This is it. What Shakespeare said: sans teeth, sans eyes … sans bloody everything.”

Mum is on the phone to her friend. They’re talking about the recent engagement between Jerry Hall and babe-magnet Rupert Murdoch. Mum appears to have some interesting theories on the union …

Mum: I think he’s a reptile. I think she’ll come into their room on their wedding night and he’ll be there, sitting in a big chair, a huge reptile with his lizard claws, waiting …

There’s a pause …

Mum: Yeah I’d do it for £10 billion.

We’re discussing our new-found saintliness ….

Mum: I’ve lost my capacity to drink large amounts of wine

Me: I’ve lost the desire to.

Mum: Yes the desire to. Like port though …

Me: Me too. Lots.

Mum: Got to keep away from that, too much and it’ll make you fat … and give you gout.

Me: Noted.

It’s a few months ago now and Mum’s on the phone to my godfather. They’re talking about the presidential election (not in depth). Mum is struggling to remember who the “cool, old guy” is. I can’t help but offer some assistance …

Me: Bernie Sanders.

Mum: Jade’s telling me it’s Bernie Sanders. Apparently she keeps a note of my political preferences.

Me: No, I’m not keeping note. I just know who he is.

Mum starts making a variety of childish faces at me in response.

It’s Christmas and we’re all watching Downton Abbey – mum and I are used to chatting through TV shows like this. Today, we’re not allowed, because it turns out we aren’t as entertaining. Mum is struggling, and just can’t keep her mouth shut. The butler has come down to give the well-to-doers some news …

American Lady: Where’s Lady Edith?

Mum: Tripwire, me lady.

Mum has a love-hate relationship with The Archers. I just have mild disdain (but affection for the theme tune). It is on, as it is at 7pm every night of our lives …

Mum: Come on!!!

Archers: I think I need a cup of tea …

Mum: Well go and have one!!!

Archers: Just cleaning up the workshop …

Mum: Oh, for crying out loud. I hoped Rachel would stay in New Zealand.

Archers: These cows, when I look at them …

Me: … I get aroused.

Archers: They’re like family.

Mum: Yes. Great. Another bloody homily of cows! Get on with it. Let’s have a murder for once!

We’re settling down to some well-deserved television:

Mum: Ah now this is Bear Grylls who’s fallen in love with a lunatic …

I laugh, knowingly …

Me: It’s Ben Fogle and Rich Hall ….

I realize 45 minutes later that, it is indeed Ben Fogle, but it’s not Rich Hall, it is a mad man who lives in a swamp.

Mum is looking through the Style magazine in the papers, which I now loath.  It’s turned into Mizz. But anyway …

Mum: I do wish these girls would learn to cover up one day.

Me: They will soon, I told you, Dolce and Gabanna have started making hijabs.

Mum: Oh…

Me: I might get one, a hijab. As an act of rebellion …

Mum: Mmm … I won’t discourage this, you’ve always looked great in a veil.

Mum’s complaining about the youth of today, as usual. I agree with her but like to pick holes, for picking holes sake …

Mum: Smart phone, dumb people.

Me: And there’s you begging me for my smart phone.

Mum: Well you can fuck your fucking smart phone.


Mum is talking about the cold draft that comes into flat. Apparently this has something to do with squirrels …

“Now you see, squirrels have an extra layer of fat to get them through the winter …  the little bastards.”

We are reconvening mid-week and discussing anything interesting we have come across. Mum is first …

Mum: There’s an article in The Times about teenage feminist boys …

Me: I’ve seen it. I’ve never seen so much bullshit in all my life, sorry. I don’t believe the buggers. The title and pull quotes were enough.

Mum: One must be aware of the bullshit.

Me: Yeah, I’m aware of it, I’m just not willing to engage in 6 pages of it .

Mum: Yes no, fair enough ….I wasn’t either.

It’s the Archers again ….

Archers: Can I share something with you?

Archers: What?

Me: Pull my finger  …

Mum: Oh don’t be so ridiculous jade. Shush now.

A pause …

Archers: There’s something I want to do …

Mum: Suck your dick.

Me: Mum!!!!!

Mum: You wait …

(She’s a little graphic, but as usual, correct.)


Motherisms: The Return

It’s been a while, too long I know some believe, but sometimes life doesn’t give you much amusing ammunition. Fortunately for everyone we’re emerging out the other side, and mum is firing on all cylinders.

(Excuse half-arsed/mixed up gun/car metaphor). ((Thanks)).

I have discovered people are EATING the cute little ponies that run wild on Dartmoor. I express my distress to mum. This is how our text conversation goes:

Me: They’re selling poor little dartmoor ponies as sausages!! In the times xxx

Mum: Its the only way they will survive. Heard this woman on the farming prog. Meat is meat, horse, cow, whatever. At the moment they go for dog food. Uneconomic for moorland farmers now, they are turning to sheep and cattle which will chang the whole ecology of the moorland. This way they are slaughtered close to home rather than being trucked miles to be slaughtered for dog food. Im all for it!! xxxx

Everyone knows I’m squeamish/pathetic and predominantly vegetarian. What mum’s forgotten is I also have a tendency to fall asleep on the sofa. So when I fail to react to mum’s practical nature I receive …

Mum: Oh shit! have .I shocked you.? This phome only does very basic punctuation. Xxx

(As if good punctuation and grammar might soften the blow). It’s only 12hrs later she receives the reassuringly idiotic:

Me: Oh no!! I fell asleep! Only just got that. Well, maybe I will start a pony sanctuary, divert all the sausage ponies in to my field xxx

Mum: Yes.Ok darling xxxx

Mum likes to vocalise when she’s bought a lottery ticket, as if voicing its possession somehow increases our numbers’ chances …

“Well I bought a lottery ticket for Saturday as it’s over 20 million, I only do them now if they’re over 20 million – though I’m thinking I might get scratch cards, where the disappointments more immediate.”

A ‘Sun Life’ life insurance advert is on television and they’re kindly offering a free pen, just for enquiring ….

Sun Life: And you’ll receive a welcome gift  ….

Mum: When you’re dead.

Mum is talking about a boy she used to babysit who’s cut his long hair ….

“He’s much happier since he’s out of this Jesus faze. He used to sit there under this veil of misery.”

We’ve just watched Lady in the Van and are talking about the Ascension at the end ….

Mum: A ‘beam-up’ doesn’t seem too likely  …

Me (always searching for the positive): Well, who knows …

Mum (change of tune): I do. We shed our bodies and our spirit goes on to something else, then we get to start again and become one with the fucking universe, man.

Me: Ok! Cool.

Mum has been learning about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – I assume through the Daily Mail she flicks through in Sainsbury’s but refuses to buy…

Mum: That woman with the fat bottom and her husband who’s designed a line of absolutely horrible beige things …

Me: Yes. What? I try not to think about them …

Mum: Well, she’s pregnant again and has been squeezed into this latex dress-thing. It’s absolutely comical!

A very accurate afterthought comes to mum …

Mum: He’s very up himself isn’t he, the husband.

Me: Yeah. I think it’s sort of beyond that …

We’re watching Judge Judy, I have no problem with this but mum seems to think she needs to make an excuse ….

Mum: Judge Judy is better than the news …

Me: The news makes me nervous.

Mum: Me too, I can’t watch the news. I read the papers but the news makes me anxious. It’s designed to make you anxious; if you’re anxious, you’re conservative.

Inspired by The Simpsons I buy some pink florescent donuts and bring them back to the car. I can see mum’s face contorting in horror as I approach. I get in …

Mum: Oh my god no!!! Darling what have you done?! I’m not even sure I want to share the car with them ….


Mum has been telling me that her old doctor, Dr Beaven, once told her that if someone dies you should go out and tell the bees. I have, coincidentally, mentioned a bee in passing, in one of my poems. Mum is reading the poem …

Mum: You’ve stolen my bee line! We’re like Shelley and Keats!

Me: Just like Shelley and Keats.

(In case of future lawsuits: I didn’t steal her bee line, I just used the word bee.)

We’re watching Have I Got News For You and are learning Germany sent a Saint a license fee bill. (She died in 774) …

Mum: Well, I wont take the water bills too seriously any more.

Me: I’d have them sent ‘Care Of’ St Jude if I were you.

We’re watching Judge Judy again. There is a robust woman, very pretty, with burnt copper hair and a complexion I can only dream about, mum feels equally bitter …

“I’d die for skin and hair like that … she’s probably related to Henry VIII …. they’re about the same size.”

I’m reading a newspaper out loud …

Me: Stress is on the rise, is this news?

Mum: Of course not. Who’s surprised? All these people do is just sit on the sofa watching other people with perfect lives, eating ice cream.

Me: Where as we watch Judge Judy and Police Interceptors and eat brown rice and vegetables …

Mum: Exactly.


We’re talking about where mum will go when she moves out of the beloved little ‘garret’ in January …

Me: Maybe I’ll put you in an old peoples home ..

Mum(with utmost sincerity): You put me in an old peoples home, I make sure they throw me out!

We’ve just had people simulate some shagging in a perfume advert, now we’re watching people shagging again in some drama thing …

“Sex used to be fun when I was young, everyone kept quiet, it was furtive and secret; now it’s like having a bowl of cornflakes. So boring.”


I’ve finally done something relatively sensible, that someone incredibly sensible advised I did. I’m reading out an email in response to my sensible thing to mum …

Mum: Doesn’t give much away does it?

Me: Think that’s called ‘expectation management’ …

Mum: Yes. Right … That’s what I have to start doing.

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