“There were so many old people!” says Ma.
Well, yes. A vaccination centre for the over 80s is likely to contain folk of a certain vintage – and all a jolly sight wiser, for sure, than the idiots who have spray-painted ‘Covid hoax’ and the like onto the walls of said centre and of our local station.Continue reading →
If it’s true that we are but toys for the Gods, then my sister-in-law is definitely their Etch-a-Sketch.
I guess you could say that it all started with the Golden Giraffe.
Tasteful, or what? One of my brother-in-law’s finest creations: essence of plastic giraffe, with an artisanal wooden mount and golden overtones. Such simple beginnings; such magnificent results.Continue reading →
Right now – Boxing.
Alex holds up to the camera a notebook on which he has written the word ‘Boxing’.
Two forward, two crosses, two up. And I’m looking for eight out of ten from you. I want to see eight out of ten for effort. Ready?
Ready, I say. Though as we’re all Muted, only the cat hears and she’s too polite to listen. The bell rings and we’re off, PD Warriors together, bashing the hell out of thin air, at a rate of eight out of ten for effort.Continue reading →
Grannie Chapman could neither read nor write, Pa tells me, so she signed her name with an X. But around Industry Terrace and Beehive Place in Brixton, it was, often as not, Grannie Chapman who saw people into the world, if you didn’t want to bother the midwife or incur the expense of a doctor.
“So Frank says to me, ‘say something in Cockney,’ so I say ‘apples and pears’ and he says, ‘what does that mean?’ and I say ‘stairs. It means stairs.’ So he laughs and says ‘tell me another’ and I say ‘nice whistle and flute’ and I tell him that means ‘suit’. ‘How about that, Lillian?’ he says to his missus, only she don’t hear ’cause she’s a bit mutton.
Pick us, Miss, pick us! Look how neatly we have lidded our marker pens! And see our flip-chart of ideas – a thing of beauty, too, in many colours, to which we all contributed collaboratively, working as a team…
Apart, that is, for the cow who teaches at – well, you know the one. Her anyway. Didn’t want to come on the course in the first place. Thought ‘Schemas in the Under Sevens’ was going to be about curriculum plans and not fannying around with a load of bricks. The only thing that’s stopping her playing with a mobile phone is that they’ve not yet been invented. We’d be better off teaching six year olds to name parts of speech, according to her. What a dinosaur!
“So there we were, scrabbling around on the cell floor in front of the Naked Rambler, trying to pick up the papers and desperately trying not to look up and not to laugh…”
It broadens the mind does travel, and going away last weekend to celebrate a school-friend’s sixtieth brought us into contact with interesting people who had interesting stories to tell and different – shall we say – viewpoints.
It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that babies are a lot more fun when you’ve had a night’s sleep.
I’m yawning here just at the thought of those hours spent rocking the buggy, singing “my old man’s a dustman” to the tune of “girl from Ipanema.” Driving round the block in the early hours, hoping in vain that there won’t be cries as soon as the engine’s turned off. Arriving at work on autopilot only to discover that not only is YoungLochinvar still in his child seat (forgotten to drop him off at Ma’s) but also that, in the early morning rush, I’ve failed to shut the front door (concerned neighbour, police visit). How does anyone survive early parenthood? Nightmare.
Life can turn on a sixpence.
Ann from next door and I were chatting yesterday whilst sweeping leaves off the pavement. Ann has an uncle – we’ll call him Pat – in his mid-nineties. He’s been married for forty-seven years to his second wife. Let’s call her Jess. She’s about ten years younger than Uncle Pat, so mid-eighties. There are two sons, both abroad.
“We’d been calling all afternoon,” said Douglas’s daughter. “We were about to have one last try when he rang us. Apparently he’d been out with some neighbours. They’d gone, Dad told us, to ‘sing to the old people’.” (Douglas was nearly ninety four.) “I do hope he mimed. Even the old people don’t deserve Dad’s singing.”