Punishment To Fit The Crime

Solar rays envelope large swathes of West Yorkshire as I write. The meteorological god Zeus finally turning off the celestial precipitation tap*** allowing me to finally get into the garden to undertake much needed maintenance. Not my own garden back in LS15, but the lawns and borders of my mother’s WF3 home.

*** – I only hope Zeus isn’t on a water meter, otherwise this last week will’ve cost him a flaming fortune.

Anyhow, because of the sunshine and subsequent warmer temperatures, this morning I managed to apply a preservative stainer to mater’s patio table, plant some perennial shrubs, add some pebbles to a stone pathway and mow the back lawn. A very productive morning for yours truly upon the hallowed ground of East Ardsley. The pleasant Yorkshire village where the woman who carried me for nine months resides.

Incidentally, when I say she carried me for nine months I’m not referring to my gestation period, moreover she’d give me a fireman’s lift every day to primary school when I was five. I don’t recall why, but I do the beatings that followed my return home at the end of the school day.


My mum was a strict disciplinarian when my siblings and me were children. A role she embraced with both hands after our more laidback dad turned down the job because of the long hours and heavy workload.

Her not infrequent chastisements sometimes warranted, other times less so. My younger brother Ian generally the recipient of her harsher admonishments – Including him once being made to leave the dining table of our Gateshead home for poor use of grammar during Sunday lunch.

Our kid, who must’ve been about 12 years old at the time, wasn’t happy. After climbing from his seat post-scolding, on passing me he whispered “What the hell is a split-infinitive anyway, Gaz?!” I responded with a shrug, conveying to my younger sibling I’d absolutely no idea.

As the rest of the family continued consuming their roast beef dinners, Ian disconsolately trudged upstairs. Once in the bedroom we shared as kids, in retribution he deliberately knelt on my Subbuteo table football players; which were still laid on the bedroom floor from their use prior to lunch.

After seeing his wanton and reckless damage of my Leeds United Subbuteo team, I went mad with him. In particular asking him why he felt the need to make me suffer for mum’s grammatical stringency. A query to which he bafflingly responded “Sorry, Gaz, but I’d no option!…. Mum hasn’t got any Subbuteo teams to smash!”

“Well break something of hers!” I proffered angrily.

“Like what?” our kid enquired.

“One of her favourite ornaments on the dining room sideboard!” I retorted without really thinking through my brotherly advice.

“Your joking aren’t you!….. She’d kill me!…… She sent me upstairs without lunch for using a sentence containing a split-infinitive…… Can you imagine what she’d do to me for wantonly damaging an ornament of sentimental value?!” Ian rightly pointed out.

Actually, I’ve no idea what punishment mum’d dish out for that, Cheesy (his nickname)…… With a bit of luck she’ll buy you another Leeds Subbuteo team; which you can give to me!” I sarcastically posited. At the same time wracking my brains at which severe chastisement my brother could possibly receive for deliberate ornament destruction.

“Well I don’t either, Gaz….. All I know is that it wouldn’t be something I’d enjoy!…… And also that it won’t be the receipt of a Subbuteo team!” my younger sibling again sensibly pointed out.

“Ok then. She’s a problem with you using poor English grammar, so why don’t we start conversing in French. Mum can’t speak French so won’t know how good or bad our grammatical syntax is…… Therefore, we’ll be able to communicate without worry of contradiction, and punishment.” I well-meaningly suggested.

“I can’t speak French, Gaz…….. Actually, neither can you – You idiot!” our kid rightly pointed out the deep flaw in my suggestion.

“Perhaps, you should just let it drop with her ‘punishment’ by proxy of you destroying my Subbuteo team!” I suggested in a more sensible and conciliatory manner.

“Yeah you’re probably right, Gaz….. Any retribution I take on mum wouldn’t end well for me.” my brother concurred.

“Oh by the way, Ian…… I nearly forgot!” I addressed Cheesy boy.

“What?!” he responded with a look a bafflement.

I made no verbal response. Instead retributively stamped on his Subbuteo team!

Oh, Happy Days!!!

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