The Mothership is only off the phone. She was in a quare mood, I can tell you. ‘I’m raging,’ was her opening gambit, after a cursory enquiry as to my state of health; (I have had a sinus infection, which has been shite.)
She’s often raging, is my mother. Sometimes it’s about the Tory government, although she doesn’t have any confidence at all in Labour, especially with Corbyn at the helm, but then again, who could blame her. She is in a perpetual state of rage about FGM, and is often exhorting me to sign petitions and donate money as she is incredulous and AGHAST (‘Helen, I AM AGHAST’ that this is still going on ‘EVEN IN THE UK!!! IS NO ONE LOOKING OUT FOR THESE WEE ONES,’ she will say). Today though, The Mothership is raging about toasters.
THE MOTHERSHIP: I was just down the street this afternoon,
ME: Mmmmmmm (trying to sound interested)
THE MOTHERSHIP: and I was in ‘The Ultimate Factory Shop’ and they had a very nice toaster, which took four slices.
ME: (TO MYSELF) Kill me now, (ALOUD): Oh right?
THE MOTHERSHIP: and I very nearly had it in my basket, and then, I said to your dad, ‘Ronnie, can you read that writing, beside the dial?’ and he said, ‘Just about’ and I said, ‘Well you’re lucky, because I can see nothing!’
Do you know what the idiot manufacturers had done? They had put red writing, on a dark blue background, rendering it UNREADABLE, and I like to be able to see the gauge, to see how I like my toast done.
ME: So did you not buy the toaster?
THE MOTHERSHIP: I did not, because those ones don’t deserve custom, coming up with such a bad design. And do you know who else should be put out of business, except I hope they’re not, because they makes the nicest toast, are the crowd who make Hovis 50/50. Whomever they have loading those loaves into the crates, needs stringing up, because they are increasingly misshapen and I don’t want my bread all bashed about before I even have it home. And Heaven forbid, if you need to make a loaf of sandwiches!
(The Mothership appears to be on some sort of funeral committee at the church and is always making sandwiches and the occasional traybake if her oven is performing. It regularly isn’t, which is another long and dreadful saga.)
THE MOTHERSHIP: It is simply impossible, these days, to get a nice triangular sandwich out of a loaf. Your Nanna always liked a triangular sandwich, but hardly anyone goes in for them now; well now we know why, it’s impossible.
ME: (and I have no idea why I said this, I must be demented) Is anything else annoying you?
THE MOTHERSHIP: (Doesn’t miss a beat) Good Housekeeping. Now that is a magazine for ‘Older Readers’ and they are forever putting yellow font on a white background, so you can’t read it. Not that I like Good Housekeeping, but I keep getting landed with it. I might get on to them later, and tell them to sort that out. You have to know your readers, and cater for them.
(Hilariously, a rather strait-laced aunt once bought my mum a subscription to Good Housekeeping and in the very first publication she received, there was a whole article on vibrators, in a sort of Which? style, giving them various ratings out of ten.)
ME: I’m going on out now….
THE MOTHERSHIP: Before you go, and you did ask, but Marks and Spencer and the tops they design for older women. They have these FITTED sleeves, RUBBISH they are, which make the tops of one’s arms look MOST unbecoming. I’ve seen so many blouses and I’ve thought ‘That’s the VERY thing, and then I’ve said to myself, ‘They’ve gone and done it again with those STUPID SLEEVES.’ Men. Men design these tops, and they know nothing about women’s arms.
I hate to blaspheme but Dear Jesus.
So good people, I have a favour to ask. Should any amongst you, who read the SWB pages, have any sway at all with the designers of the aforementioned products, do get in touch and voice the concerns of my mother. I remember reading Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee and his mother was forever writing off to people, (I recall the makers of Nestle’s Carnation Milk was one), and she was always getting free samples. Perhaps I shall encourage that, and I may get a free magazine, or even a toaster.
And should any of you have a grievance, do share, and we can all be sour together.