I’m commencing this Sunday morning blog sustained by a comfort food breakfast of a cuppa and sausage sandwich. I didn’t get an opportunity to pen a narrative yesterday; a result of spending time in the company of with my brother Ian. Yours truly’s younger sibling my lifelong best buddy who I’d not seen for around six months…… And, no he hasn’t been in prison, our kid just lives miles away.

His arrival at our mum’s home coinciding with the mystery of Margaret Strachan’s missing landline telephones. An enigma firstly brought to the family’s attention when my mum pointed out the living room cordless handset had gone AWOL.

As my elderly mother doesn’t possess the same sleuthing skills of the similarly aged Miss Marple, I volunteered to play Hercule Poirot. After donning a false handlebar moustache, waxing down my hair and locating my spy glass I set about the case of solving the aforementioned mystery. Finally, tracking down the handset on top of the toilet cistern in the downstairs bathroom.

I was gratefully thanked by my mother and calmness was restored in chez Strachan senior. I then returned to the job of watching the England v New Zealand rugby semi-final and exchanging pleasantries with Ian.

Fifteen minutes later our mother Maggie, who’d been upstairs, returned into the lounge to ask her two eldest offspring if they’d seen the headset from the landline phone at the bottom of the stairs.

Exasperated at another distraction, I sighed disconsolately. Out came the spy glass again, and I commenced the job of locating the other handset. After a lengthier search than the first phone hunt, I finally found handset number two on top of my mum’s laundry dryer in the garage. A strategy of repeatedly dialling her landline number on my mobile eventually bearing fruit, although only after I’d searched every room in her home.

On locating the handset I returned to the living room armchair to watch what was left of the rugby semi-final. Concluding that the later search was my own fault after locking my mum in the garage earlier in the day.

After watching a splendid England rugby performance resulting in victory over the All-Blacks, I orated monologues which I’m planning to perform for a congregation of Bedfordshire ladies on Tuesday. My audience for yesterdays practise our Ian and Maggie.

On completion of the oration, I asked both my brother and mum what they thought of the content and delivery. After a few seconds, in which they exchanged glances and uncomfortably shuffled on their seats, our Ian commented “I tell you what, the ref was harsh for disallowing the try Ben Young scored for England in the second half, Gaz” 

I turned to my mum, asking “What about you mum?…… Have you any feedback?”

“Yes. You can use the word bollocks when you’re presenting this!!” mater posited.

Disenchanted at the lack of encourage for my new project I sighed, returning to watch the TV, which was just about to broadcast the Leeds v Sheffield Wednesday football game.

A few hours later, after witnessing a pretty poor Leeds performance in which they managed to scrape a draw, Ian and I ventured down to The Bay Horse pub for a couple of pints of loud mouth soup.

On entering the hostelry it was instantly clear the manager had made a really effort to embrace a Halloween in their tavern. Witches broom sticks, spiders and cobwebs hanging from the bar…….. Either that or they need to give it a bloody good dust!!

On approaching the bar, our kid ordered two pints of an Australian beer and yours truly a bag of crisps (which he later went on to predominantly eat himself – The greedy get!!). On handing over a £20 note to the barmaid who, after holding it under ultra-violet light, promptly advised my younger sibling it was counterfeit.

Ian was understandably mortified as he’d got the note from a bank machine a few hours previously. After I made a weak joke about him needing to find a better exponent of counterfeiting, he handed her another £20 bill which this time was thankfully genuine.

When I paid for my round half an hour later I paid by contactless debit card. On the transaction being approved by the bank, I joked with the barmaid that it appeared my card counterfeiter was more adept at his job than the printer of our kids dodgy note. Despite the joke not making sense, she laughed.

It was great to spend some quality time with our Ian. After cooking a splendid casserole for tea, he and I spent the evening with a glass of wine, listening to vinyl albums and putting the world to rights. In a similar manner to when our beloved father was alive.

I was sad to drive him off to the train station this morning, a sentiment which my mother appeared to share. that being said, she seemed happy that he’s at last paid her back that £20 he owed her!!

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