Saturday, 18 December 2010

"Look what I am doing, Mum !"

I am speaking up to the ceiling.

Mum would be terribly cross and Vexed.

We are not leaving the house today so I have decided to clean out the tins cupboard. I find a tin of Ambrosia Creamed Rice and cleaning gets instantly forgotten.
I open the tin then add a big blob of strawberry jam. It looks back at me like a bloodshot eye.
I begin to eat out of the tin with a teaspoon and almost collapse with delight.

Mum would not allow us to eat out of the tin because it was Vulgar.
Elbows had to be kept off the table, soup was eaten with the spoon away from you, knees together nicely when you sat down, slurp noises were a Cardinal Sin and watching ITV was common.

I terribly wanted to watch ITV but we did not have a television.

Alcohol was forbidden but a dusty bottle of Bertola cream sherry was permissible for offering the neighbours at New Year.
Tiny little glasses would appear and a thimbleful was added to the bottom. Sherry, glass of, one.
"That Connie has a 'problem' you know"....Mum was all aghast.
Connie had consumed two glasses.
"She will fall over the fence getting home, you know" and would glare out of the curtain to see if Connie the Inebriated Woman would fail to find the gate and fall her length climbing the fence.

Mum was a district nurse and midwife in a rural area. She later became a Health Visitor but preferred the 'district'.
She had no qualms about discussing birth contol or intimate problems with her patients (tricky one given the strict nature of the 'Kirk' in the Highlands) but heaven forbid if anyone kept the volume of their television on during her visit.

She had a knack of being immaculately turned out. Shoes and handbag matched and she could do the scarf thing.
Some people can whip a scarf into an effortless froth and it lands on their shoulders as if adorned by Angels.
Some of us can spend all day trying the scarf thing and end up looking like a bag lady. No names mentioned.

She had the most marvellous voice and when she sang in church, her voice rose like a nightingale and the very angels listened.

She left far too early.

She told me she was Absolutely Ready and Unafraid. She embraced the next stage and slipped away when I left her bedside for a moment.
"Some things are best left private" I could hear her say and so her finest moment was just between her and God.

I speak to her sometimes. Ask her what to do and how to cope with things.

"Mum, I bet God lets you eat Ambrosia rice pudding out of the tin in Heaven,  I say to to the ceiling.

And Happy Birthday"

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