As I prepare to wax lyrical, my Saturday morning soundscape is Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ accompanied by the sizzle of frying pork sausages. This gratifying aural backdrop augmented by the sound of my kid brother Ian chopping veg to add to the casserole he’s cooking for this evenings potlatch.
Footnote – To clarify Led Zep’s anthem emanates from the small Amazon Echo perched above the microwave; it isn’t the case Jimmy Page and the boys have set up in our kitchen.
Our kid giving me respite from being mum’s full-time carer. The familial matriarch requiring constant support post-stroke. A fillip not just for me, but no doubt for Maggie who’ll be relieved to have her more tolerant son taking care of her for a few days.
My brother inheriting our late father’s calm, collected and undemonstrative nature. Yours truly bestowed the more capricious behavioural traits of our mum…. So perhaps I could rightly argue our more fraught interactions are mater’s fault……. I’ll keep that observation in my back pocket for use in future arguments.
Apart from treating his mother to his culinary skills, our Ian also plans to undertake a raft of other chores. These tasks including looking in the garage and saying “That looks untidy!”, assisting in emptying my beer fridge and staring at my lawnmower hoping it’ll mow the lawn.
As I write, my mum is sat in the living room watching a broadcast paying tribute to the Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.
During a tribute to Philip by New Zealand prime minister Jacinta Arden, Maggie feeling moved to exclaim “Bloody hell, they can’t be her real teeth!…. They’re like Red Rums!” An observation whose randomness rendered me helpless with laughter.
Footage of the Duke at a Buckingham Palace garden party being a catalyst to mum’s memories of attending one of the aforementioned clambakes with my dad, around a decade ago.
My mum now busy telling no one in particular of once treading the grounds of Buck House. A summer afternoon eating from a smorgasbord of “beautifully cut” sandwiches, and sipping “life affirming” cups of tea.
Her and dad never got to speak to the Queen or Prince Philip, but if she had it’d have been an interaction which I’d like to think would’ve played out something like this:-
The Queen – “Hello, it’s very nice to meet you.”
Maggie (following an overly acquiescent curtsy) – “Hello your majesty. I love that hat…. Did you get it from Marksys?”
The Queen – “Thank you. It was made by the royal milliner….. Where are you from?”
Maggie – “I’m from Leeds, love……. I live between Wakefield and Morley. Close to Country Basket’s and Mak-a-home DIY store.”
The Queen – “I’ve been to Leeds many times…. It’s a burgeoning city.”
Maggie – “Have you ever been in Country Baskets, love?“
The Queen – “Erm, I’m unsure if I’ve had that pleasure.”
Maggie – “You should go, love….. They’ve got some lovely dried flowers and the cafe makes lovely homemade sausage rolls…… The tea’s not a nice as the cuppa I had here earlier though.”
The Queen – “I’ll bear that in mind next time I’m in West Yorkshire.”
Maggie – “I’d have a look in Mal-a-Home as well, love…… Their screws, rivets and nails are really robust. Not like some of the s***e you get from some other DIY stores.”
The Queen – “That’s interesting. I’ve a stud partition wall to build next week….. I might be visiting West Yorkshire earlier than planned.”
Maggie – “Call in to see Malcolm and I for a cuppa and a Marks & Spencer buffet.”
The Queen – “Thank you, my dear….. Philip and I will bear that in mind.”