bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog
An Awkward Matter Dealt With
Thursday, July 19th, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Write a comment
When boiling a kettle, my old dear will first boil it in the accepted manner, and then boil it a second time by holding the switch down until it is literally shaking. I am told that this is to ensure that the water has ‘properly warmed through’ prior to making tea with it. I have often pointed out that liquid which is turning to steam is unlikely to be tepid and explained my fears that one day she will make her kettle so hot that a solar flare will escape from it and interfere with the electromagnetic fields in Slough, where she lives. She still keeps doing it though, ‘to be on the safe side’, and I suspect she always will.
Over the last couple of years, we have taken to meeting at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and did so again last Friday. Here, tea is made by directing livid fountains of steam into small metal teapots, a process which as you might expect greatly impresses my old dear. My job during these visits is to stand behind her as she buys us lunch, smiling in a supportive manner to the person behind the till as she does so. On this occasion, the politely attentive girl listened as my old dear explained, among other things, that I was her son and how handsome I was. We then took a table by the pond and found ourselves troubled by a pigeon, which we shooed away. It flew four foot and landed on a nearby table. The lady and gentleman there counter-shooed it, and it came back. This happened two further times, after which my old dear said ‘Let’s put up a net and call it bloody badminton’ which I thought was a good line from a 67 year old struggling with a determined pigeon for supremacy over a hummus baguette. Incidentally, the next thing she said, about forty seconds later, was ‘Christ, that’s hot’ when she tried to pick up her teapot.
The Victoria and Albert Museum will render any person of any humanity whatsoever speechless, and anyone who can’t find at least something fascinating about it should be pushed down the stairs on the way out. It is so interesting that if you were to lead a goldfish round it, it would come out looking thoughtful. I can often be found sitting quietly among the Raphael Cartoons, and while my old dear traipsed around a ballgown exhibition in the room opposite, I remained and contemplated the Italian renaissance. It was perhaps this which sparked off a philosophical discussion among the beleaguered traders of Greenwich Market on Saturday morning. During it, Danny and I recalled the market traders of our youth, who wore diamond cut Pringle jumpers, worked Romford, Wembley and Petticoat Lane markets, and were the richest people we had ever seen. To this day, when I think of rich people, I imagine them wearing diamond cut Pringle jumpers. I will know I’ve arrived not because I have a couple of yachts or whatever, but because this will magically appear in my wardrobe. I don’t even like it, but I will be very pleased when it gets here. Such is the attachment in my mind between ’80s terrace/casual wear and wealth that I think of the Governor of the Bank of England wearing a yellow diamond cut Pringle jumper with a Fila tracksuit top and a pair of Diadora trainers, even though I know this to be unlikely.
Danny and I discussed these Pringle Gods as he carefully slid a copy of Razzle among the photographic prints arranged into folders for the perusal of the general public at the front of Keith’s stall. ‘Bit of old skool Frankie Vaughan* in there, lovely’ he said, closing and replacing the folder ‘You’ll be able to hear him go off from the food court when that comes to light’. He clipped Marshall, his dog, into his lead and we wandered out and along the Thames. It was a surprisingly nice morning in what has been a downpour-embracing summer.
‘Thing is’, said Danny ‘All of those boys knew they had a ship waiting to come in, because everything was booming. When it did, they bailed the markets, opened clubs in Ibiza, imported drugs, invested in glow sticks and invented rave. When it all crashed, they sold up and went to live in Thailand. Different times, mate’.
This is largely true. A surprising number of former barrow boys and general hooligans do live in Thailand. I wondered if we had a ship, and if it might be still on the high seas somewhere.
‘See that?’ said Danny, indicating a large expense of air above the water and preparing to introduce metaphysics into the conversation.
‘No’, I said.
‘Good. That’s your ship. And mine mate’.
We walked along a little further. The evident lack of ships coming in, on the horizon, or even in any way seaworthy had done little to lift our moods, although Marshall seemed happy enough as he trotted ahead, off the lead. Danny attempted to cheer us up.
‘We could have a go at crime if you fancy it. You’re bound to at some point anyway, and I’m from Deptford. Should get the hang of it alright’.
I thought about this, but rejected the idea. I have an expressive face, which wouldn’t last two minutes under cross examination. I thanked him anyway.
‘I suppose we’re here forever then’ he said, dragging Marshall away from the contents of an upturned litter bin and clipping him back into his lead. We turned and headed back the way we had come.
‘Bugger’ I said.
This was, of course, a conversation yet to happen as I sat among the Raphael cartoons waiting for my old dear. As I considered Paul Preaching At Athens, she wandered in with a discarded copy of the Guardian. I knew it was the Guardian because it had a million page festival guide, a billion page article about organic bakeries and a trillion page article about gay marriage in it. I shifted my gaze to the Sacrifice At Lystra and she sat down and prepared to take me into her confidence.
‘I think gay marriage is alright, if they really want all that nonsense’, she said. I made a humming sound that signified yes, fair enough, why not. ‘If you’d turned out the other way and wanted to marry a bloke, that would’ve been fine with me’ she said. There was another pause. ‘In fact, I’d rather you married a bloke than a copper, and that’s the truth of it’, she continued, and concluded the issue. Neither is on the cards, but it was nice to have an awkward matter dealt with, nonetheless.
*Frankie Vaughan: [Cockney rhyming slang] – porn.
Twitter – Unpleasant middle class bullying platform for people who consider themselves above all that.
Kindle – A further determined march of 36,108 places down the Kindle sellers’ rankings, to 257,867. In the listings, we’re just behind a five hundred page study of notable sermons from Dallas, and just in front of something called Colandra’s World, which is about leaving Florida and hanging about in Paraguay, finding God along the way. It’s all God, this far down the listings.
Photards: This week’s offerings are:
Top: Goddard’s Pie, Mash and Eels shop, Greenwich Market. Brilliant, but if you’re going to get eels, stir up the jelly with mash and gravy, and mix plenty of liqueur in. In fairness to an otherwise fairly nondescript delicacy, they are mental in that format. Delicious not suspicious, in fact.
Middle: Man walking dog along the Thames last summer. This was all going very well until just after this photard was taken, whereupon the dog chased something into the water, which was surprisingly cold, rushed out and hid behind the man. He continued to do this, no matter which way the man turned. Dog eventually carried off beach by man.
Lower: A familiar quartet of bulldogs at Greenwich Market. I wish they could sing, and wonder what they would do if they could. I tend to think it would be mainly show songs and barbershop quartet stuff.