Thursday, 31 January 2013

Nan and the magazines

Nan has an elderly gentleman admirer called Donnie, an unattractive version of dear Paul Daniels -  as she got older her standards definitely slipped.  I'm ashamed to admit they once came up to visit me at University and I pretended I wasn't in as they hammered at the door - I loved Nan, but didn't want anyone to see me with him.  They spent most of their time arguing - well,  Nan argued and Donnie apologised.  He brought her frequent presents - she said tartly that this was because he hoped to take their relationship to the next level (but let's not go there - it is not a good thought).

One day he arrived with a bag of magazines and asked if she would read them to him.  Nan was very fond of Woman's Own and was looking forward to a read with a cup of coffee and a Tunnock's teacake for company; but it crossed her mind that perhaps Donnie couldn't read and needed a fix of Patience Strong - so she agreed.  Sitting close to her on the sofa he began to decant the contents of his plastic bag.  As Nan put on her spectacles she focused on a pile of hard-core Teutonic porn magazines when she was expecting to see Clare Rayner - fundamental mistake here as Nan didn't read German .

Horrified Nan pushed Donnie off the sofa and as he got up she hit him around the head with a rolled-up magazine.  Exit Donnie - no apologies would suffice - he had had his chips.  For a good while after Nan entertained her girl friends (think Golden Girls merged with the witches in Macbeth) with lurid descriptions of the magazines and how disgusted she was.  I did wonder about her detailed recall of the contents of said publications when we were told she had immediately thrown them in the dustbin.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Me and the loo seat

Across the road from the primary school was a rather creepy-looking  manor house surrounded by a tall stone wall (think Atkinson Grimshaw) - the main gates were always locked and padlocked; the occupants entering and exiting by the garden door near the church.  It was the nexis of all village ghost stories.

A girl at school - Gwenda- told me that her mother cleaned for Miss W the old lady who owned the manor.   Gwenda had once gone to work with her mother and been so scared that she had had a fit and peed on the sitting room carpet- making her the world expert on Miss W.  Strangely Miss W was at the same time a living being - she could occasionally to be seen in the village with a tartan shopping bag,  but also a supernatural being who haunted any susceptible child..  That this didn't make any sense never occurred to me - I was a trusting (stupid?) child.

 At break times I would beg for tales of Miss W, but by bedtime would be sick with fear and hardly able to sleep.  One day Gwenda told me something that has scarred me for life.  She said it was  a well-known fact that Miss W did her haunting by sitting on any unoccupied lavatory;  the only way to stop her was to close the lid and put something on it (loo roll or some such) so she couldn't get purchase and would go elsewhere.

Every evening when in the bath I was terrified picturing the stick-thin Miss W materialising through the walls to sit on the loo.  Even now when I go into a bathroom I imagine I might see her.  This may be why I favour showers over baths, but if I am in the bath I'll always close the lid and put something on it - just in case.