oh mr porter

It’s 6th September already. This year is absolutely flying it only seems like yesterday that it was 5th September.

Today is my mum’s birthday. She is in esteemed company as she shares the same birth date as Basil Brush’s minder, an extra from Coronation Street and French engraver Eve Luquet.

The day she was born was a slow news day, so much so that her birth was the second biggest story of the day. It was only just pipped by the shock news that King Carol II of Romania had abdicated and been succeeded by his son Michael.

Carol, was a sensitive man, who abdicated because he could no longer stand the teasing of his courtiers over having a girl’s name. His spouse Queen James was fully behind his decision publicly, although privately couldn’t see what all the fuss was about!

Anyway, my mum was born on the same day as the abdication. Her dad wasn’t best pleased as his birth present to his second child was a King Carol II of Romania mug. However, as the much more pressing World War II was ongoing at the time he soon let it go!

mum

My granddad was a baker by trade. Family legend has it he couldn’t wait to show his newly born little girl the clothes he’d baked her. This included a Victoria Sponge baby grow and chocolate éclair booties. They didn’t have the longevity of conventional baby attire but my mum certainly stood out!

He was also a funny man who taught his kids many useful life lessons. For example, that the horse’s posterior, on the Black Prince statue, was placed facing away from the main Post Office, in Leeds City Square, so if it trumped it didn’t blow the stamps off the letters.

maggie

This has been passed down through the generations and is always a great conversation starter at family get togethers. As the Post Office is no longer sited in the same building the story didn’t work so well when I passed it to my kids. However, I think they got my drift!

She has portrayed a similar silliness throughout her life. Some of her sayings I’m sure she’s made up. She is not a crude person but occasionally comes out with off colour sayings, generally to make us laugh.

For example as kids she would tell us “Do you think my arse is studded with diamonds?!” if we kept asking her to buy us stuff. She also had an old song, like “Oh, Mr Porter!” or the like, to intersperse into most conversations.

Mum piano

Trying to summarise my mum’s qualities in a short blog isn’t easy. My sister Helen’s birthday greeting of “Happy Birthday to a fantastic, inspiring lady whose cup is always half full xx “ was pretty spot on.

One thing you always knew is that whoever you invited to your home they would always get the same convivial welcome from both our parents. As I’ve said before there was always a warm glow in the house with mum around. It was the one advantage of having a mum who was an arsonist!

She is an incredibly strong woman who has had to deal with some very challenging situations throughout her life. These include her mum dying from breast cancer when she was 20, her three siblings all passing before old age, moving location for my dad’s job and some difficult situations two of her children are currently living with.

Through it all she can always find a funny story, joke or an old song from her youth. As Helen said, she is truly inspirational person whose family and friends love her dearly.

Happy Birthday to a lovely, funny, strong, warm and resilient person!

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