It’s been quiet on the blog for the past month, what with one reason and another. Work has taken priority; other writing projects have taken priority; and more than anything, I didn’t realise just how long videoing my crafting exploits, recording a narration and editing the footage into something at least semi-watchable would take. I will put a link to the YouTube channel over on the sidebar at some point.
I did think it would be nice to make sure I did have at least one thing posted here in September, though, and handily The Mother said something yesterday that I thought was worth writing down. “You probably won’t believe this happened,” she said, “but when I was in town today…”
When The Mother says “you probably won’t believe this happened,” it usually means she’s about to say something that’s extremely believable—much more believable than a lot of the things she claims as straight-up fact—but also unintentionally hilarious. I pricked up my ears.
“…you see this top I’m wearing, how it’s covered in animals?” she said, veering off on a tangent. She was wearing a horrible brown sweatshirt, the colour of estuarine mud, coveerd in embroidered birds.
“There were these two women in town with a pushchair,” she said, “youngish lasses, and one of them came over to me and said: ‘scuse me, can you come over here and show my friend your top?’ So I went over, and she said to her: ‘see! Birds do have legs!’”
I almost wish I’d heard the rest of the conversation, which could be settled most quickly by finding an old woman with the right clothing, rather than, you know, an actual seagull or something. The matter, though, had been decided. The Mother can’t quite get over it.
Overheard on Stapleton Road, around lunchtime: a fragment of a conversation as I passed:
“I got banned from the Esso garage ‘cos I was drinking too much, but I can still buy food.”
Across the road, a man stumbled and slowly, gracefully, went head-over-heels and landed flat on the pavement, carefully protecting a lit cigarette as he fell. He didn’t try to get up, but laid on the pavement, smoking his fag, looking for all the world as if he was as relaxed as he could be.
The rest of the country has snow, apparently, and we have drizzle. I consoled myself by thinking that, by 10am, everything elsewhere was slushy and grey.
I took the children up to the Ponds, and back home again. It’s not the most exciting walk: straight and tree-lined. On the way back I passed a family with the dad telling a young girl: “steam trains used to come up here.”
Overheard: a youngish woman walking down Bedminster Parade, phone in hand:
“I think I’m in Bedminster, Mum, but I don’t know where Bedminster is…”
Chap walking down Stokes Croft, chatting away on the phone:
“Are you imagining me inside a giant shoe?”
Overheard in a group of smokers outside a pub, as we entered it:
Woman: … I was shagging my dad’s best mate …
Overheard on Baldwin St. Two men, one pulling a suitcase behind him, walking behind me. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, until one said:
“… hopefully no one will realise I don’t have my trousers”
Walking down Clare Street yesterday. Behind me was a couple, late-twentysomething at a rough guess, the woman carrying a big, quite expensive clothes-store carrier bag.
Him: How are you enjoying our date?
Her, surprised: This is a date?
Overheard in the street this afternoon: a woman’s voice.
“I’m fed up of you telling people I’m a druggie. I’m not a druggie. I didn’t have any methadone yesterday. That’s why I’m feeling sick today.”
Overheard in the street:* a parent (or guardian) and child:
Child: I’ve got a headache.
Parent: You don’t have a headache. You’re seven. You can only get headaches when you’re older.
Local news time: a teenager was murdered last week, just by the doorstep of Great Great Aunt Mabel’s house. Great Great Aunt Mabel didn’t have anything to do with it, though, as she died in 1983. Nevertheless, I’ve never been allowed to forget, by The Mother, every time we pass, who lived there. “That was your Nanna’s Auntie Mabel’s house, next to the bookmakers’”. My own memory of the house is at once faint and vivid: sneaking into the scullery to play with the coal in the coal-scuttle. Auntie Mabel was the last householder in the family still to use coal for heating, back in the heyday of post-punk and Scargill. She moved into a sheltered home a couple of years before she died; in my memory, the glass in the front doors of the home was always being smashed by vandals. She died cleaning; found on her hands and knees by her bed, still holding her dustpan and brush.
* Post House Wynd, Darlington, in case you were wondering