I called at my mum and dad’s this morning. It was an unsettling first ten minutes or so at their modest detached abode on the outskirts of Leeds. When I say modest I don’t mean it is small, I’m referring to the fact it doesn’t like to brag about its part in Leeds United winning the league in 1991-1992!
Not only did I not get offered a cup of tea within 30 seconds of arrival, but I became embroiled in surreal conversations surrounding some of their recent purchases.
After taking off my shoes in their hallway and muttering some disparaging, but tongue in cheek, remark about my dad’s sweater, I plumped myself down their new armchair by the hearth.
As I perched giving the piece of furniture a once over, my mum proudly told me it was the work of popular art creator Andy Warthog.
“Do you not mean Andy Warhol?!” I asked smugly at her apparent naming faux pas.
“Don’t be so bloody stupid, Gary! He doesn’t design chairs!” she replied. Before adding patronisingly “I’m talking about Andy Warthog from the Wakefield, Hebden Bridge and Thacklethwaite Chair, Picture & Cheese Design Emporium!”
“I’ve never heard of it!” I responded in a puzzled manner. “Is their stuff any good?!” I asked.
“You tell me! You’re sat on one of their creations!” my mum retorted.
“Well if it’s from their cheese section the comfort levels are what I’d suspect!” I informed my grey haired diminutive mater. Before supplementing that with “However, if it’s from their furniture section, it was a bad choice. I’ve sat on more comfortable hedgehogs!” I then stood and headed towards the kitchen.
As I put the kettle on, I spotted at a new picture on the wall beside the back door. I knew it was a recent purchase as it wasn’t there last time I was there last week and it still had the price on!
The picture was a poor copy of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can painting. “Is that an Andy Warthog?!” I asked my dad. Who was sat on a kitchen chair reading the Daily Express upside down.
“No he doesn’t paint! That’s by his colleague Andy Wartsanall!” my balding, quietly spoken pater replied.
“Does he work in their cheese section?!” I enquired.
“No! Why?” the man in his 80th year, but still sharp of mind countered.
“Because the picture has a red wax rind as it’s frame!” I pointed out. Before asking him “By the way dad, what were the football scores last night?”
“I don’t know the papers upside down and I can’t read upside down!” he advised bizarrely.
“Why you reading it upside down then?!” I asked, getting ever more confused by this random conversation.
“Well if I pretend to read your mum leaves me alone and won’t give me a job to do!” he informed me. He then winked and tapped the side of his nose with his index finger in a knowing gesture!
“Well if you read it the right way around she would still leave you alone! And you’d be able to read the bloody thing!” I patronisingly advised my forebearer.
Ah, yes that’s a good point, Gary!” he told me with a smile. He was delighted that after my epiphany he could now avoid being given a job by my mum whilst concurrently absorbing the daily news!
He quickly flipped the newspaper the correct way around and was just about to tell me the football scores, when my mum walked in and said “Malcolm can you fix that dripping shower please? It’s doing my head in!”
My dad threw down his paper and headed towards the door that leads to the garage, to get his tool kit.
As he got to the door, he turned to me and growled “You and your bloody bright ideas!”
I felt guilty that my suggestion seemed to have landed him with a job. That is until my mum took the cup of tea I made her and advised me “He’s been pretending to read for weeks to get out of fixing it!……….. I wouldn’t care he has the bloody thing upside down!”
I try and take a lesson out of each an everyday to grow as a person. The knowledge I’ve gained today is that you can’t fool my mum you’re busy by reading a newspaper upside down! ……………. Oh and that Andy Warhol is a significantly better artist than Andy Wartsanall!!