Thursday, 21 October 2010

Central Heating will Kill You and Herald the Arrival of Aliens...

...and other such far fetched ideas.

Or at least that's the case if you're a dyed in the wool old West Country Boy (or girl).

Many a time during my youth did I overhear conversations along the lines of:

'Old Bob's gone on' (gone on means died, just in case you're mistaken and think he's 'gone on the bus' or something equally less terminal).

'Oooooooooooo (deep intake of breath). Well you know what that's down to then, don't you?'.

(The obvious answer would be that Bob was 106 and his time was up but no....)


'Yup, he'd had the Central Heating put in' (you'd think by the way they said Central Heating it akin to Crack Cocaine)

'Yup, said it would be the end of him and it was'.

'Yup. And 'is brother's Aunt's dog's gone on too. That there Central Heating stopped it's heart - the shock - dropped down it did'.

Going by what the old timers believe, the Winter Fuel Allowance is in reality a form of Genocide for the over 60's.

And it's not just death and canine destruction that Central Heating allegedly causes. I have also heard it held responsible for:

- all skin complaints that have ever existed.
- all breathing problems that have ever existed.
- all joint problems that have ever existed.
- all hair loss problems that have ever existed.
- lax morals.
- compulsive gambling (as in 'they got that there Central Heating and that t'internet and the next thing she's on that Foxy Bingo 24/7. Gambled the house. Central Heating and all....).
- infidelity ('well what do you expect? They got that Central Heating put in and before you know it she's walking the floors in her smalls and having men in')

Oddly the one thing I've never heard it held responsible for is Global Warming.


Anyway, I'm staying at my mum's and it's cold. Very cold. She does have Central Heating but to turn it on you need to have started to show secondary symptoms of Frostbite. However she has lit the fire which is marvelous - as long as your sat by it and don't need to move anywhere. Ever.

However, I am attempting to embrace this sensation because come Saturday I'm off to my Mother in Law's house. Yup - the one who lives in Lincolnshire's equivalent of a Tropical Biome and collects figurines so horrific they should come with a blindfold....

Don't worry - I'll blog about it once I get back and have managed to re-hydrate and restore my lax morals.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Every Little Heartbeat

So me and mum were sat in her front room trying to watch some kind of a crime detective programme on the BBC.

I say trying because it's hard to concetrate. As well as the moving pictures and the characters speaking, there is also the somewhat alarming presence of a well spoken lady speaking very very quickly over the top of the programme, describing EXACTLY what is happening.

'Geoff walks down a path in terraced street. He enters a red door. The wall paper is flocked and stripped. A gas fire is lit. A woman in a flannelette nightdress is seated. The woman appears pensive. Geoff rolls his eyes. A cigarette burns in an ashtray'.

For a split second a feeling of unease chills me.

Am I hearing voices in my head?

Is this what it has come to?

And if so, am I not supposed to hear someone telling me that I AM the Virgin Mary or perhaps the Second Coming (or at the very least that my soul will find redemption if go outside with no clothes on bar a pair of Argyle socks).

I never thought true aural psychosis would involve a man called Geoff and a woman in a flannelette nightie.


But then it clicks. It's not in my head. My mum's got the 'extra visual description' function turned on the TV. You know, the facility for blind people so they can actually follow what's happening between the dialogue.


'Yes Darling!'.

'Why have you got that mad commentary thing on the tele?'.

'Oh I know darling, it's the new thing it seems. All the programmes seem to have it these days. I'm surprised someone hasn't written into Points of View about it!'.

'Does Points of View still exist?'.

'I don't know actually, but it's very odd isn't it?'.

'Mum. It's for blind people'.

'What, Points of View?'.

'No. That crazy woman talking. It's a special thing to use if you can't see the pictures. Last time I looked you weren't blind and I don't think you've had THAT much white wine'.

'Oh (stunned). I just thought it was the trend'.

'Did you not ever stop to wonder why EVERY programme had the same woman talking, manically, over the dialogue?'.

'Erm, no'.

'Right well I'll turn it off. It's an option. Not compulsory'

(A brief tussle with the remote control later I have failed to turn it off. What I have acheived are sub-titles. So now we have moving pictures, dialogue, woman frantically describing wallpaper and facial expressions AND the written word).

We fall into a defeated silence, our senses overloaded.

Sometime later, my mum speaks.

'Would you look at that. My wine is moving to the rhythmn of my heartbeat'.

'You what!?'.

'The surface of my wine. When my heart beats. It moves. How extraordinary'.

'Erm, mum. Is your heart beating really hard or something? The wine is on the table. You are in your chair. How on earth could your heart be making the floor vibrate?'.

'I don't know. It's like we're connected'.


(She watches the wine shimmer for a few more minutes).

'Oh actually, no. It's not my hearbeat. Its the dishwasher'.

'Mum, those plants by the front gate, are they still intact?'

And they think I'm the mad one.......

Friday, 8 October 2010

Da Weed

Me: (Trying to get out of front gate and into my car) Mum?

Mum: (Emerging from home in her dressing gown) Yes darling?

Me: You appear to be growing cannabis? Around the front gate.

Mum: Oh, that'll be the birds.

Me: What the birds have started up their very own skunk factory? I never knew they had it in them.

Mum: No, it'll be from their seed. I put their seeds on the gate and they get knocked off and grow. We get all sorts!

Me: You feed the birds dope?

Mum: No but I expect it's in the mix.

Me: (thinking it's too early in the day for this kind of conversation) Commercial bird seed contains cannabis?

(I can see The Sun headline now 'Blue Tits Off Their Tits on Seedy Seed').

Mum: Well maybe. It was from Asda. Or it maybe blew in from somewhere?

Me: (glancing round at the surrounding vista of desolate, cannabis free, fields) Riiiiiiiggggghhhht. All the same, is it wise to leave it growing by the gate hear. I mean a lot of people come through here. The postie, the man who brings the oil, the, erm, vicar......

Mum: I'll get my glasses.....

Mum (again - this time sounding slightly thrilled): Ohhhhhh, you know what, it IS cannabis isn't it!

This was on Monday.

It's still there, reaching for the sky amidst the Autumn sunshine and showers.

Quite a harvest.

I'm keeping out of this but if you see a gentle looking lady in Breton stripes and M&S jeans on the local news for running a miniature cannabis farm, you know the situation has deteriorated.