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Friday, 6 February 2015

In which One and BF reminisce …

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That’s One, that is, Dear Reader, with me Granddad in the Bricklayer’s Arms, up High town…

‘ave you taken our Claire down the pub again Ralphie?’ Nanny Cooper would enquire.

‘I never took her in!’ he would indignantly reply, ‘I left her outside with a Britvic and a pork chop tied round ‘er neck so’s the guard dog would play with ‘er!’

Let me elucidate, Dear Reader…

BF struggled up the hill to the Underground Lair yesterday in order to smoke a couple of fags in the sure knowledge that when she went home, BFP would imagine that her smoky odour was as a result of being incarcerated with One.

We got talking…

‘It’s about time you settled down,’ opined BF (she is sixty-one and I am fifty-seven)

This stern instruction was delivered following the news that One and the A of the F have decided that if it doesn’t work out for us we’re not bothering again. (Enter huge sigh of relief from all retired gentlemen of this parish)

That led on to us discussing our differing childhoods…

One was brung up in the smoky fleshpots of down town Luton, on a diet of Britvic Orange and crisps, mostly consumed in the garden of the aforementioned Bricklayer’s Arms.

BF gambolled as freely as a hedge sparrow through the fields of Somerset gathering berries in the pocket of her knickers.

We were both part of the last generation of women who were expected to leave school, get married, reproduce, say ‘yes’ to everything, apply fresh lipstick before our husbands got home and have ‘tea’ on the table at five-thirty sharp.

We both failed miserably…

It all got One thinking about One’s great grannie, Hannah, who had thirteen children and lived with Edwin, One’s great grandfather (alcoholic) in a two up, two down in the back streets of Luton.

Hannah, who incidentally One is a dead-ringer for in deed as well as looks, used to preside over the enormous family whilst ackled up in a sack cloth apron, whilst brandishing a huge wooden spoon against all-comers.

Edwin, who drank away all the money, was wont to bring home any old tramp or ne’er do well he met in the gutter and demand…

‘Give ‘im me dinner Hannah!’

It must be from he that One inherited One’s penchant for the acquisition of lame ducks…

Any road up, I digress…

Hannah, being a strong, stern-faced type would slap down a pie dish on the scullery table and when Edwin cut through the pastry crust, inside would be an empty beer bottle.

‘That’s where all the money goes!’ Hannah would shriek, wiping her rough red hands on the sackcloth apron and stamping out of the room.

Anyway, my granddad, he of the pub garden crèche, was one of only three of the thirteen to survive infancy.  He said as a child, there was always a little coffin in the parlour.

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