11 November 2012


LIVING YEARS


Wish I could have told her in the living years.
BUSTED Well, that'll serve me right. Nabbed bang to rights.
I had thought to show off to une certaine by tweaking her heartstrings with the Rutherford. It being R'm'mbrance Day, all cemeteryan and gravey-tas and all, I thought I'd slip in a mendacious link to maman etc.
Even as I came to type the words I heard the mental chalk on the blackboard: nothing fitted or felt right ~ but what the heck, she wouldnt know.
I even chose a self-timer photo showing me at my outest-raged, having to stay in to 'help' prepare nibbles for some wretched garden group visit.

  • Garden Group visit approacheth. Double time in the stonking jardin.
  • Buy and prepare the food.
  • Arrange patio, table cloths.
  • Dance attendance on the assembled hobbyists.
  • The whole garden would have been tidied. The mob turns up, walk to edge of patio, "Gosh lovely. What a view. I say, is that rosé you're serving - yes please. Are these made by you, Marjorie? Delicious."
Telling it in the living years: But Sinbad knew, crouching in the crows-nest, spyglass to cold eye:

'Don't have to wait til the third rooster crow - Holmesie has mis-tappèd.'
But I like these serendipitous curved balls, backing me into a corner. I remember a match at Hurst', fierce bowler, yorkers, headliners and all the rubbish.
The sort of beefy bully whose dad would turn up in his MCC cap and bawl out "Knock his bawls orf!", which Bawler Fils often did. Certainly scared me.
So up he trundles to the crease, all thunder brows and grinding shoulders. I'd had three balls whizz by my head so I was already groomed and spooked.
Balls leaves his hand, I step back, not to execute a perfect drive but out of instinctive cowardice. I lash out with my bat so that at least I'm doing something - and by the willow of Wodehouse!, the javelin of Jeeves! I'm perfectly balanced on the back foot, my Surridge bat connects whack-on with the ball as it bounces early and it rises to off to be despatched whizz past the diving slips, thru the well-placed fielders - and must have hit a tuft because it took a high bounce into the spectators. A silence, because i was the weed of the Remove, in the team for my leg-breaks not for any ploughman's bat-tery against the bowling. We ran one because i didnt want to face no more lik that. What I didn't know was that it almost came down on Bawler père's pate.
Can't remember why I'm telling this except for the fun of the memory.
Back to being trounced on this song ~ I'm going to use my Mike Mechanics humiliation to remember Thief Alley and my favourite jape.
Mater would rise around 0200hrs to fiddle and rearrange her jewelry. Shuffle shuffle, I'd hear her go, mixing and matching in her counting house.
After the theft I had the perfect excuse to burst in, check my own end and the shelf on which had sat my boîte de bling, and then 'inspect' maman's jewels and what she was placing where.
I had the perfect excuse: Once filched from, twice fly, and it was the exact time and place where the original thievery had taken place.
My daughters loved this story and we would repeat the exercise of me yanking open the door with studied suspicious violence.
It doesnt really come off, there isn't the blazing-eyed alertness I picture having brought to these ambushes.
Then I decided to recreate the scene so I could send them a photo recreation.
I also kept a typed list in Thief Alley of each jewel and its intended beneficiary. When i first arrived in 2006, i photographed the entire collection for security (ha!) and had also kept notes from every meal when maman had airily discussed to whom each bijou was intended - my daughters, my sister-in-law etc. Friendlier days.

I'd be excruciatingly friendly and helpful.


"So let's see what we've got here ... right, these are down for my girls, those for Italy, that one you said for Susie.
Of course theyre yours to do with what you will and change your mind as often as you please, but there's also my security: as people have pointed out, your jewels are easily accessible 24/7 to someone whose own jewels you removed behind his back and have never explained or returned. I am the obvious suspect if anything disappears and your memory is not perfect."




















3 comments :

Simon Baddeley said...

Rutherford sings of his father and that's always different - even now I suspect. My impression is that in fact you did pass on what mattered to your mum, along with what may have been exchanged in conversation were all the small noises of your daily presence in her home. Another's company is made of their sounds as well as their voice. Do you really think she who dandled you needed to be told again what you felt for her?

Corfucius said...

as you say, it's a "dad" song. i knew it was wrong to post even as i decidd to run it for remembrance day.

i dont think my mother gave a single damn how vile her last years were for me. i had the daily torture of sitting opposite her at meals during which she droned on and on about the bloody garden and i shouted her down to give it a rest, which she never did, just plodded on. i told her that if she insisted on talking about anything, why not let us discuss her disgusting theft of my daughters' heirlooms and her selfish use of my time. yes i passed on what mattered but all that mattered to her was keeping on the right side of my brother. i dont remember a single time when she conceded her own wishes to accommodate one of mine.
i used to take photos of her bloody flowers as an act of extreme sarcasm to send to her simpering gardenry friends. i'll leave this song up in the same spirit of dismissal.

Simon Baddeley said...

Ah yes Achilles - staying in his tent. That started a train of events (:))