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!
Me:….ok…..

 

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 re-painted (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. Football, Time Travel, and Woke-ness

It’s been another turbulent few months of political unrest and all signs are pointing towards the End Times. Mum and I have been dealing with the often-disturbing nature of reality the only way we know how: talk about it.

Wimbledon’s started and mum’s usually quite on it, like the horses. So, looking for an easy punt, I decide to see who’s hot this year.

Me: Who’s going to win?
Mum: Don’t know.
Me: Why not?
Mum: Not on it.
Me: Why? Haven’t you been watching?
Mum: No, I’d have had to watch all of Queens and I started watching Poirot.

I’m down in Devon having run myself into the ground again. I emerge from my cave after a late night arriving from London looking feral and ravenous.

Mum: Bread?
Me: No, no bread. I ate a lot of bread yesterday. More vitamins, please – I need to be treated like a very ill athlete.
Mum: When have I ever treated you as anything else?

We’re listening to the news, which should just be re-named ‘Brexit’ …

Mum: I don’t imagine Brexit will affect writers.
Me: No, we’re hiding safely below the poverty line.

(Of course, it absolutely will.)

We’re having a very literary discussion as usual, and mum is telling me what she’s reading at the moment …

Mum: The Evil U Give.
Me: The Hate U Give.
Mum: The Hate U Give …Yes.
Me: Ok, nice. I don’t like the title but I’m sure it’s very good.
Mum: Oh it is.
Me: Everyone’s reading it, it’s a very woke book.
Mum: Oh is it?
Me: Yes.
Mum: I’m reading a woke book?
Me: Yes.
Mum: Oh how wonderful.
There’s a pause and then …
Mum: What is this ‘woke’?
I think how to explain it ..
Mum: What’s the opposite of woke?
Me: Un-woke.
Mum (with usual wistfulness): Maybe I am dreaming.
Me: No mum, you don’t want to be un-woke, that means you’re a racist.
Mum: Oh fuck. Ok. Well, I’ve always been woke … Like, awakened? Sounds very religious.
Me: Yes, I don’t know the etymology but it’s akin to enlightenment … but with a more political emphasis.
Mum: Right, very interesting, ‘woke’ …

Mum’s listening to The Archers …

“Nothing stops for The Archers, it will be going on when dinosaurs come back.”

We’re talking about my imminent trip to Cardiff, and my more imminent trip to the Ladies Pond …

Mum: Have you got good gear to go in?
Me: Not really, no. But it doesn’t really matter what I’m wearing, I’ll just get in the water.
Mum: No for Cardiff, you Twit.

Even during the jubilance of the World Cup, spending a lot of time alone can make you very irritable. And sometimes people are just irritating.

Me: I’m finding everyone very irritating today.
Mum: Watch the football and relax – I hope it won’t be too exciting for me.
She thinks for a second and comes up with a cunning plan …
Mum: I’ll take another beta blocker.

We’re talking about other people’s holidays and mum says decisively …

“The only travel I’m interested in is time travel.”

Mum is regaling me with more tales of my baby acting days*, the salad days, when we could afford salad …

Mum: You used to get money for every audition.
Me: That’s good.
Mum: Yeah, you paid a few gas bills.

* Find me on the cover of ‘Mother and Baby’ and several stunning nappy adverts.

Mum is jolly annoyed that after joining the Lib Dems she has found them to be rather un-radical, they’re all rather old, and they haven’t implemented any of her very excellent ideas. She huffs …

“There aren’t enough young members … I’m bored of the Lib Dem’s now, they’ve bored me. I’m joining the National Front like everybody else.”

(She is, of course, joking … Just in case you lost your sense of humour.)

Mum’s up in London and I’m cooking stir fry, we’re celebrating some exam results and have had a couple of glasses of prosecco. She starts confessing all her secrets …

Mum: Lauren Goodyear …
I look at her blankly.
Me: I don’t know who she is.
Mum: I’m absolutely fascinated by her. I think it’s the closest to fandom I’ve ever come … She’s back with her boyfriend, and the teeth!
Me: Who is he?
Mum: I have no idea. You couldn’t understand what he was saying because of these enormous white teeth.
I’m laughing.
Mum: I laugh not … It’s frightening.

Mum has now eaten the aforementioned stir fry and says ….

“You’re a good cook. But you must take your B12.”

We’ve heard through the grapevine that something has gone wrong at one of the local holiday cottages, apparently guests are very angry. Mum supposes …

“They’re probably going to smear poison on the doorknobs.”

We’ve discussed everything on the planet and now we’ve arrived at a nasty little life form …

Mum: I want Philip Green in jail.
Me: You’ll be lucky.
Mum: You’d be surprised, people are angry.
Me: He’s an awful human being but he wasn’t one of the rudest people I met.
Mum: Really? You were appalled the day you said, “I’ve just met the most revoltingly rude fat old man.” He leant over you while you were talking to Ronnie Wood.
Me: Oh yeah. No, he was incredibly rude.

This was before mum was kicked off Facebook – probably for sharing too many articles about LSD trials – and she’s reading something very interesting about our star signs …

Mum: ‘Who’s your worst enemy?’ Oh this will be a laugh …
She clicks on the next slide.
… VIRGOS!
Me (a Virgo): Oh dear.
Mum: Virgos are logical and analytical, while Aquarius creative and impulsive – but both can be stubborn and aggressive.
Me: Well, I think we’ve done quite well.
Mum: My parents were both virgos, I’ve always liked virgos.
Me: But are you sure they liked you?

We’re ending another delightful phone conversation and mum parts with …

“Well I’m going to go and be woke in Barnstaple and check everyone else is being woke.”

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