This morning my mother departed on a weeks holiday to Bridlington with some of her buddies. Consequently, GJ Strachan’s upcoming days will hopefully be bereft of being asked the same question he’d answered five minutes early, along with a host of other maternal habits which ‘press his buttons’.

After completing this journal, yours truly is to embark on a visit to the supermarket, procuring my weekly shop which’ll not doubt contain more beer, wine and high calorie comestibles than normal. While the cat’s away the mice will eat lots of cheese and hopefully avoid overpaying for Ritz crackers.

The sun is shining both figuratively and in my heart….. Well, I hope it’s the sun causing the warm glow, and I’m not having another heart attack. It has to be said, though, thoroughly enjoy the serenity afforded when on my tod.

It’s wonderful to have an opportunity to pursue creative projects of blogging and etching without mum entering the dining room to utter arbitrary and uninteresting ‘news’ snippets. Profferings such as “There’s a horse on the telly, Gary!” or “Blimey, it’s just said on The One Show the boiling point of custard is lower than tarmac!”

Don’t get me wrong, mater is in possession of a wealth of funny anecdotes, and a raconteur of some aplomb when delivering these whimsical tales. These yarns ordinarily existential experiences during four score years living in the north of England. Her dulcet Yorkshire tones providing each story with further charm; giving the tales a whiff of the workhouse.

As I mention Maggie frequently during my narratives, people often ask me for further detail about the idiosyncratic lady I call mum. With this in mind, I enclose ten things you won’t know about my forebear….. Unless, of course, you’re my brother and sister….. Even then, they won’t know the stuff I’ve just made up!

Anyhow, I give you ten things you didn’t know about Maggie Strachan:-

  1. As a child, she was reprimanded by her dad for taking coins from the church collection plate. Sadly, I’ve never been curious enough to ask whether the admonishment from my grandad was a consequence of wanting her to leave the coins and take higher value notes.
  2. The day after his daughter had pilfered a proportion of the kirk’s donations, my grandad ‘mysteriously’ had a much higher stake at his disposal during his trip to the bookies.
  3. Maggie’s party piece is to whistle the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ while drinking a glass of water.
  4. Bizarrely, she can’t whistle the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ if not drinking a glass of water.
  5. Amongst her numerous mixed idioms and metaphors, mater advocates “It is better to have loved and lost, than to have mislaid your pasta drainer.”
  6. A proud Yorkshire woman she knows all twenty choruses of the chant her county’s cricket fans roar when expressing adulation of the team…… Admittedly, it’s only repeatedly singing the word “Yorkshire!” with loud tribalistic drunken bravado; however, something that deserves mention in despatches..
  7. In 1970, mum invented the saying “Co-op Horsing It’, describing someone who was urinating for, what she deemed was, an excessively long duration. As was the penchant of the Co-op milkman’s horse.
  8. Following a short religious service, Maggie became married to my dad in October 1960, after being pronounced man and wife. As my parents had only gone into Schofields department store to check on radiogram prices, it remains a source of mystery to this day.
  9. After ridding herself of the Myra Hindley peroxide hair colour in the early 1970’s, on seeing her, a wig wearing neighbour commenting “Last time I saw you, you were blond.“. To which she responded “Last time I saw you, you were bald!”…. They didn’t speak much after that!
  10. During a church ceremony in 1975, Maggie was finally confirmed. An event which significantly raised my mum’s esprit levels. After all, being provisionally booked for fifteen years, she thought it’d never happen!
A Co-op Horse!