I am well into that slightly tipsy state within which I shall pass the rest of the holiday, of course this is down to Dad since I have been to my Grandma’s today (and believe me I was sober for that!) I find that peppermint liqueur, which a great many of my friends tell me reminds them of mouthwash is a beautiful way of getting through a festive season in Royston Vasey.
My Dad is adding to the holiday spirit with a series of jokes getting increasingly less tasteful ( he started out with Santa’s little helper being called the subordinate clause and the last one was about fairies getting on Father Christmas’s tits and being told to shove a tree up their arses), however he is still bubbling about his last solo flight and really my taste in jokes is about the same level so I’m listening dutifully and laughing appropriately. I attempted to tell him Weasel’s one about two Wongs not making a Wight and he laughed a little uncertainly…so much for my career as a stand-up then. Pass the liqueur somebody.
Anyway, the saga of my journey home is told beneath the cut at the end to save peoples sanity, today has mostly been good. I haven’t really taken my boots off since I got here…well I made an exception for bed given that this house is really too small to use a vibrator privately in.
I am about to embark on a little sherry, this is not because I like the stuff (I can’t stand it actually) but it is my Grandma’s birthday today and I intend to drink it in remembrance of her. I got the idea from the Mothers Night ritual I did with my Gentleman Friend though it does occur to me now in my somewhat-on-the-way-to-inebriated state that if I were to do that in remembrance of all my relatives on that side I would be in danger of heading to casulty in an ambulance. Most of them suffered from degrees of alcoholism, I’m lucky that my addictions tend towards the manageable side really, which reminds me that I must find out about the New Years Day racing…and silent vibrators.
I suspect that my Grandma would not have impressed herself on you guys as much as she did on me. I realise I do talk about her quite a lot because she was so definately herself and I miss her a hell of a lot. Somedays I look back and I can’t believe that that bitchy Londoner was the only family I came out to (excepting my sister), somedays I look back and wish I’d played more scrabble with that wonderfully accepting and well travelled lady.
I played Upwords today with my living Grandma and as per usual Mum and she bitched about Scrabble. I told them that I rather liked Scrabble and it was just about different brains liking different things but inside my head a little voice was saying ‘no, you can’t bitch about that today. That’s my Grandma’s game and it’s her birthday.’ I suspect that after this sherry I might go and have a bath and a bit of a cry. It took me a long time to cry for my Grandma, longer than my Uncle Arthur (her brother) whose death affected me every bit as much and now there come times when I can’t not. I found my family quite difficult for various reasons whilst I was growing up (most of them I heartily admit were totally my fault) and my Grandma was one of the brightest parts of this family, I still miss her terribly.
I sometimes feel like I let her down; I never found her hearing aid during my Great Uncle’s funeral, I never confronted the nurses who were calling her the wrong name (Cecilia) in the last nursing home she was in (The Princess did) and I wasn’t the last grandchild to visit her, that was my sister. But I did give her a lot to boast to the other people in the nicer nursing home about (and she did like boasting), she got to show them the rugs I brought back from Ecuador and Mexico and show them the knitting patterns I found her in America. I wish she’d been around when I’d gone to Japan, but if I’d gone to that first interview I was offered, if I’d been in Japan instead of St. Martins I’d have been 6000 miles away when she was dying and missed her funeral. I don’t think that I could have borne that.
My cousin Emma read a poem at that funeral, I read one at Uncle Arthurs. It does balance in some wierd ways. My cousin had always intended in following in Grandmas footsteps and I, with cherry coke always in my fridge and at least one room that reminds my family of his studio seem to be following his. Actually the Princess with her working in a bridalwear shop seems to be the one of us (there are four cousins that were her grandchildren) Grandma would have been proudest of. She would have loved a day trip down to Leicester to get a feel for the shop and the dresses. I reckon the Princess probably thinks of that a deal.
I drank sherry for Grandma on Mothers Night, the last time I had it was the millenium which I spent with Grandma watching the river of fire that never happened and we toasted our way into 2000. Only seven years ago and it feels like a lifetime. I left her eternity ring in Lancaster and I’m really feeling the loss now, I love having that and her elephants from India in the living room in Chamber Town, I really miss her. There are some tangible explanations for that but so many more that I can’t put into words. I think I might have another sherry and run a bath and cry for a bit so goodnight guys.
Here’s to Grandma.
Lo and verily was the sun as high as my heart as I did quit Lancaster train station,
Yea I watched as a mother said unto her daughter ‘Stay there whilst I load the suitcases’
Lo the child did just as she was asked and I watched from another seat,
As she loaded the last of the heavy suitcases did the mother turn momentarily from the train,
And it was then did the guard blow his whistle and the train doors did close,
Thusly did I watch as the mother began to push upon the button to open the train doors,
But in vain!
And the child began to wail piteously as did the train pull out of the station; ‘MUM!MUM!MUM!MUM!MUM!’
An so heroicly I pressed the emergency button,
An the train did go on,
An so heroicly I pressed again the emergency button,
An the train did go on,
An so heroicly I pressed yet again the emergency button,
An the train did go on.
An a guard appeared to ask;
‘Forsooth why do you press the emergency button so?’
For answer I gestured at the bawling child and proclaimed that he hath leaveth her mother at Lancaster.
An thusly did the child wail;
I sat down beside her; ‘So kid, whats your name?’
And thusly did the child wail and sniff;
‘My mummy isn’t here! My name is Ayesha and my Mum is gooooooooooooooooooooooooone!’
I spake with the trainperson and acquired the knowledge that they would come and get the child at Preston,
Still did the child wail and I sought I knew not what from my bag,
My questing hand found a Winnie-the-Pooh book and began to read to Ayesha the stories of Christopher Robin,
At last did the child quieten.
After some time did the train begin to slow and yet not a porter or a guard was in sight,
When we did stop at Preston still not a porter or a guard was in sight,
Yea verily did I make Ayesha stand on the platform and direct me which baggage was her mothers,
Yea did I first make sure Ayesha guarded mine own baggage lest the train go without me,
I pulled off each very heavy bag looking about me for a helpful trainperson,
Did I get to the last bag unto even the pushchair without such a person springing forth,
Did the train pull off without me before I espied a harrassed looking man in red,
And then did I grab him forcefully and demand he care for Ayesha as mine train to Manchester had vanished without me,
‘Ahh’ spake he, ‘We thought she was on the other train,’
I did not curse him then.
‘So,’ spake I, ‘How then do I get to Manchester?’
‘Wait a moment’ sayeth he, returning in some little while with female persons to take care of Ayesha to whom I bade a solemn farewell.
Some while later he returned and spake, ‘Quickly thee must leap upon that train over there that leaves in 30 seconds!’
Away did I dash, my heart no longer so high as it had been earlier that day.
Yet did I get unto Manchester without further incident.
Then was I forbidden from the first train to Cleethorpes without reason.
Then was I misdirected upon a train to Leeds.
At Leeds I alighted looking around me and, as it turns out, missing my Uncle by seconds,
So did I look for an oracle in the garb of a guard,
Did I then mistake me a mischieveous sprite for an oracle, for in helping me upon a useful train did this sprite in fact send me back the way I came to Manchester Picadilly,
Oh how did I curse this sprite for his ill-use,
But then I finished the autobiography of Lesley Phillips and found my heart a little lighter.
At Manchester I used the internet to pour away my emotions,
And within five minutes was contacted by a helpful Daemon to see if I required a lift away from Manchester,
But the light was with me and I had no use for the helpful Daemon but rather I was sat upon the last leg of my journey and all way well,
For what now could go wrong?
I called upon my Father from Scunthorpe to tell him the train had left and I would alight at Barnetby in minutes,
Then did the train stop.
I read my book,
Still was the train stopped.
I continued to read my book,
Still was the train stopped.
Soon a voice spake from the air; ‘The line ahead is suffering a technical fault which we hope will soon be corrected.’
Still was the train stopped.
Nine and a half hours did my quest fill before it was finished and my Father met me from the train.
Three times the usual amount of time before I have done!
On the other hand, at least I wasn’t Ayesha’s mother for those fifteen minutes at Lancaster!