One last testimonial to my dear father – he’s still alive too, 84 and still knocking off his beers and B&H, why the hell bother to lead a healthy lifestyle one may well ask.
Now, before I go any further no doubt you have already gathered that I come from a rather weird family, indeed my own doc reckons that I suffer from faulty wiring thus the creative bent. There’s probably something in that, I mean I can’t imagine why anyone would actually choose to write, there has to be a streak of insanity somewhere or other, look how many writers have knocked themselves off for heaven’s sake?
Personally I’ve never felt suicidal, my wife has though, something to do with having me as a husband she says.Of course it has nothing to do with the size of her arse does it, her feeling suicidal that is.Ooops, sorry I’m digressing again.
Now then, musical beds and my old man.
Many years ago when I was a student and still connected as it were, to the family home. I used to turn up every now and again, girlfriend attached, for some free board and lodging. My father, believe it or not was quite liberal in his own funny way (actually, he was as jealous as hell, all those pretty girls about the place and there was bugger all he could do about it dirty old sod, after all I can’t imagine my mother being a pretty sight to wake up to in the morning what with curlers, face cream and a bosom capable of playing ‘Rule Britannia’ on the floorboards), at least he had a realistic idea of what young men got up to.
The house rules therefore were simple enough when it came to unbridled hanky-panky, do what you like but make certain your little sister and mother don’t see anything. In other words, share a bed with your girlfriend by all means, but make damn certain no-one catches you and remember the floorboards creak like hell. All fair enough you must admit – on the face of it anyway.
The point is, the above was all very well until one accounted for the fact that my family tended to play musical beds on a nightly basis ie one never knew who the hell was sleeping where. For instance, if my mother and father had had a falling out over say, who swigged the last drop of sherry or who smoked the last fag, then it would be separate bedrooms or even perhaps one of the bedrooms with twin beds. If all was well in the matrimonial nest then it would be a bedroom with a double bed in it. Now to add to all this confusion, my little sister would generally wander about at will and crawl into whatever bed tickled her fancy. If I was home and unattached it would often be mine, come to think of it, it would often be mine whether there was a girlfriend in tow or not. And God could my little tyke of a sister kick! – oh and don’t forget there was my elder sister and her chap to make matters worse too.
So, where is all this going I hear you ask? Well, on one particular Saturday morning I arrived in the kitchen, suitably hung-over and fragile. My father as usual was sitting at the kitchen table smoking and reading a newspaper.
‘There’s a cup of tea over there for your mother,’ he said. ‘Be a good fellow and take it up to her will you please?’
‘Of course’ I replied, we young ‘uns were fairly polite and obedient in those days – at least we didn’t call our lecturers let alone our teachers by their first names and the only friendship I ever cultured with my old man was at the end of his boot, not that he ever wore boots but you get my drift. I picked up the cup and saucer (mugs with a pair of bespectacled tits on the enamel were not really de rigueur then either).’ Where is she?’
‘Oh, that bedroom at the front of the house, you know the one with the twin beds.’
‘No dad,’ I replied. ‘Judy is in there.’ Judy was the current girlfriend. They tended to ebb and flow but that’s another story. Suddenly my father’s face went white.
‘What! She can’t be! I mean……..oh God…….’
‘What’s the matter?’ I asked, thinking he was about to have a heart attack.
‘What?……oh….oh…nothing. Nothing at all, I just remembered something that’s all. I thought your mother had gone into another bedroom last night because of my….er…. snoring……….. oh nevermind, just take the tea up to your mother will you.’
How odd I thought. What on earth was the matter with him? Anyway, I took the tea up to my mother as requested, she was in the parental double bedded bedroom, and decided to forget the whole silly business. My father could be a bit loopy from time to time, so nothing new.
Later on that day, while Judy and I were wandering around some sand dunes looking for a suitable spot to get up to some randy mischief, she said rather wistfully, ‘Julian, you know that was a bit risky you sticking your hand up my nightie this morning. Your mother was in the next bedroom for God’s sake! I might have been hidden by the quilt but I knew what you were up to.’
I was about to deny all knowledge when I quickly remembered my father’s face earlier that day.Instead of saying anything, I thought Oh well, I hope the old boy enjoyed it, serves him right for playing musical beds!
PS I’ve just come back from the Doc’s. As I was sitting in the surgery waiting room I noticed a damn great poster saying, ‘ DO YOU LOOK AFTER SOMEONE WHO IS ILL, FRAIL,DISABLED OR SUFFERING FROM A MENTAL ILLNESS?’ Jesus I thought, my wife can answer ‘Yes’ to all those. No hope for me is there?