Sunday, July 10, 2005

It's The Nighttime, Baby, Don't Let Go Of My Love 

My Mum is not a technical whizz. She calls me at all hours for impromptu VCR master classes, jittery and panicking because she forgot what we learned in Lesson One: Sliding the video cassette into the slot.
“It’s starting, it’s starting. Can’t you come round? I’m missing Aled Jones. No, it won’t go. All I’m getting is football.”
I receive a call when the central heating/water heater timer needs re-programming, which manages to go wonky ‘all by itself’ about once a week; it’s not unknown for her to ring me up asking how to use the phone.

She transformed my Dad into a gibbering wreck through many fraught years of driving lessons, so with all this in mind I thought it would be funny if, for her 80th birthday, we bought her a pilot’s training lesson. It was originally going to be a surprise, but I lost my nerve on the final straight and blabbed, thus giving her time to load up on valium or even pull out altogether.
To her credit she went through with the flight and loved every moment. Even when there was a last minute cock up with the booking - all the Cherokees were out and would she mind going up in something slightly bigger - she held her courage. She said the pilots were all charming.

I’ve got more brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces, great step-nephews and step-nieces etc. than you can shake a stick at, and goodness knows I’ve tried. I don’t know all of their names and I certainly wouldn’t recognise some of them if I passed them in the street. What that says about me as an uncle I’m not sure, but it was an absolute treat to have them all at our house, scooting about, high on sugary drinks and starting free form jazz combos in my Attic Studio Complex.

Girlfriend played an absolute blinder, broken wrist and all, preparing a mountain of food and baking a cake, while I spent the morning slumped in the corner nursing the hangover of a lifetime. Stupid does not get stupider than getting hammered the night before a big family event. Thanks, love. I’ll try to make it up to you somehow.

There were even surprise guest appearances by long lost aunts and uncles, teleported in from a time called Way Back, and I’m confident Mum will be yakking embarrassingly about this for months to come.

A decent weekend then. Everybody admired the garden, some interfering tree hugger has grassed me up to Lentil Boiler’s Gazette, and to top it off, Girlfriend has booked tickets for a gang of us to see one of our new favourites. Cool.

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