Wednesday, May 12, 2004


what better way to spend Sunday or indeed any other Sunday than to have a lie in with the missus (without Joshua jumping all over you) followed by a leisurely read of one of the multisection broadsheets over breakfast of fresh brewed coffee and cornflakes. During which you wonder why there are so many sections to your Sunday paper. Appointments? Who the hell wants to worry about appointments on a Sunday, only the sad bastards who can't get a job any other day of the week. And what about the business page? Who cares? The shops are shut anyway. Well ours is.It's supposed to be a day of rest so why encourage people to carry on working when they should be relaxing with the kids. Hang on that's a contradiction in terms. Kids and relaxation don't actually go hand in hand. I've come to the conclusion that the only reason I get this multisection broadsheet is because it has a damn good TV section so I don't have to buy the Radio Times or TV quick and get all the soap updates and the inside stories on programmes I don't ever watch.
Anyway I've read what I've wanted to read and chivvy up the kids and go to the football. Our team "The Royal Oak" thrash the opponents 4:2. It was a great match. Now as you know I've been supporting "The Royal Oak" team for years. I even get offered coffee at half time. But the truth is I've never once set foot inside that particular pub. They don't have a huge following usually there's me, Phil, my brother in law, the landlord of the pub and his wife and the substitutes and an old chap called George who must be at least one hundred years old. Today he nudged me after he had said something to the opponents coach saying "Do you know what? I love to pull his pisser." Then after the victory we retire to the pub. This time the Botolph Arm where we join the other Sunday lunchtime set over a couple of pints of Sam Smiths. So there we are, Phil and I discussing Mendeleev and the periodic table while the other Sunday lunchtimers are chatting passing round the sections of the same broadsheet I'd left at home. The kids wanted to play snooker and we gave them a quid. Later the barman came over to us to ask us if we could tone the children down a mite. They were getting a tad boisterous, argueing over who's turn it was and whether a shot could be retaken and the finer points of the rules for instance whether Rosalind could legally belt Caroline over the head with the cue. Christ! it's not as if any of them are Steve Davis. But that's tame compared with what they were doing earlier. You remember I mentioned the periodic table well they thought it was a hoot to think up new compounds that spelt out rude words. For instance Sulphur Hydogen Iodine and Titanium. They rocked with laughter. Phil and I tried to maintain our composure by showing a joint face of indifference and at the same time wondering if other parents had the same problem. That's the problem with having intelligent children they still go through the toilet humour stage just like the rest of them but it's more sophisticated.
"Iodine Carbon Uranium Phospherous." said one of them and they all fell about. We sat their stoney faced.
"Don't you get it?" they screamed. "I see you pee!" and they fell about even more.
God what have we spawned?
So suitably flushed with the old Sam Smiths we head on for home and a siesta in front of the telly. It would have been a great film but I missed most of it. "The lady Vanishes". Well she Vanished and then I woke up and there she was again playing a piano with Elliot Gould and Cybill Shepherd walking into the room. And the titles ran. So what happened in the meantime? Who cares? It's Sunday.

So what happened at the fireworks? Well Dangerous Dave let off a Smoke flare. And it stained the side of the swimming pool bright red. Whoops! He tried to clean it with a yard brush but the stain is there to stay. Rob Harrison suggested that we put on our dry suits get in the water and take a wire brush to the pool side. And if that didn't work he was going to put a wire brush on his black and decker. Now I don't know if that was the drink talking or not but if he's getting in the pool with a Black and Decker I'm getting out. I don't fancy two hundred and forty volts in the same water as me. Amy lit a firework and accidently dropped it into the water. It carried on burning, glowing eerily like something from the Quatermass experiment. Pulsing as each section caught. Other than that it was a good night.

Yet again I have been asked if all these stories I tell you are true. Do I make it all up? Well friends I have to tell you this. It's all true. Everything I tell you really did happen, give or take a few liberties of poetic licence. A few embellishments. But it's a writers perogative. I've got to make it interesting. For instance today I could tell you I got up went to the football went to the pub came home fell asleep and woke up. What sort of story is that? At least I don't have the excuse that I was born in Peterborough.
"Nothing ever happens to me."
"Well I was born in Peterborough."
"Well you've lived. You've been about. You've done this, done that, I was born in Peterborough so what chance do I have?"
Surely there must be someone born in Peterborough who has done something? I can't believe that a prerequisite of having an exciting life is to have been born anywhere but Peterborough. Perhaps it's the local mentality. Thank Christ I didn't get here til I was twenty something.
I tried an experiment on my children (who were born here) "tell me the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you."
They shrugged their shoulders. Nothing.
"Ok what about the most interesting thing that has ever happened?"
Again a shrug of the shoulders.
"Gemma. What about the time we got up real early in the morning to watch the meteors?"
"Oh yeh! That was good."
"Tell me about it."
"Well.......... we got up and looked at meteors."
"It was cold."
"It was early in the morning every one was asleep."
"And ..... and .....I was born in bloody Peterborough alright?"
SO there you have it. If your wife is pregnant keep her away from Peterborough. Try Rotherham.
In fact try not to even concieve your child in Peterborough. You may live to regret it.
I was fortunate I was born in Wales. OK sound the death knell straight away I lose all crediblity now.
Bloody welsh bastard. But my saving grace was my parents are both thoroughbred Yorkshire people.
Yorkshire, Gods country. I spent my early years in Yorkshire learning to speak like a northerner. I had to because at school they'd beat the crap out of me because I was a southern bastard who spoke funny. Then when we moved to Buckinghamshire I used to get the crap beaten out of me because I was a northern bastard who spoke funny. Then we moved to Cyprus and everyone spoke funny. I liked Cyprus. Then we moved back to blighty and I hadn't a fucking clue how to speak. So I adapted to whereever I found myself. That's one of the problems with being a forces brat. You travel a lot. I remember I got to Aylesbury and one of my first friends there was Paul Merridan. I asked him where he lived he said "Princes Risborough." So I aked him how long he'd lived there.
"All my life."
"WHAT? ALL your life?"
"Yes why?"
And to him it was the most natural thing in the world. To me I couldn't believe anyone could stay in the same village all their lives let alone the same house. It was a revelation to me. I'd just assumed that everyone moved every two years.
"So Paul what's happened to you in your life?"
"anything exciting?"
"NO I was born in Fucking Princes Risborough alright?"
There could be a trend building up here. IT may not just be the Peterborough effect.

Here's a thing, this year I celebrate thirty five years of having normal ears. When I was born they had to use Barnes Wallis forceps to deliver me because my ears were so large. I mean they stuck out so wide they were stuck in the uterus. Worse than a breach birth. It was touch and go whether I'd make it or not. Well I mentioned at school they used to beat the crap out of me because I spoke like a southerner well that's not the whole truth. They used to beat they crap out of me because not only did I speak like a southerner I had these huge ears. I was called "Dumbo" or "Jumbo" or "Big ears" or "Mickey Mouse" or even "Mickey Big Ears". They used to throw me out of upstairs windows to see if I could fly. Well to a five year old that was really hurtful. So when we got south I had plastic surgery. Thirty five years ago. You can still see the scars. My ears are now svelte. Streamlined. I don't look like Prince Charles. And with all his money, or mummys money why didn't he have the same operation. He could have come into hospital with me and met Ringo Starr like I did. Well he said he was Ringo Starr and what can a six year old do but believe? Looking back what Ringo Star was doing in an RAF hospital was anyones guess.

I'd like to tell you more but I live in fucking Peterborough alright?



Blogger Quink said...

Hilarious, and you write beautifully. I particularly loved the children turning elements from the periodic table into filthy acronyms. And then outdoing you with textspeak. Genius! And the comments about Peterborough are so just. Life in Stamford and at Stamford School (for philistines) was made only just bearable by the thought that I didn't have to go to Peterborough each day like my brother. But then again, he did climb out of the window during science lessons and come back with ordered ice-creams from the local van. Hell, we weren't even allowed to eat in the street...


8:38 pm  

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