Watch With Mother
The place where I work has fixed holidays, which is annoying because they are fixed during school holidays and around bank holidays, and I don’t like crowded places or other people’s kids. Of course I am grateful that I have a job with paid holidays, but I’ve been there long enough now for such niggles to intrude. Isn’t that just human nature? This past week of fixed holiday was good though, as it meant I could spend some time with my Mum around her eightieth birthday.
Mum is very easy to be with. Stick her in front of a telly with a glass of wine and she’s happy, which is particularly useful now that she can’t get around too well. I rarely watch TV – the internet is my telly – but there’s something comforting about watching it at my parents’ home when I visit. Some of the adverts though! My son had come up for his Nan’s birthday and we’re all sat waiting for it to be late enough to go off to the Eightieth Do and the conversation fizzles out so Dad puts the telly on. Of course it was adverts but the first that came on was, “Do you suffer from vaginal dryness and itching?” Well, Dad averted his eyes, frowning slightly as if distracted by a sudden thought. (It reminded me of when I lived there more than thirty years ago and he would pick up the newspaper and study it if any kind of sex scene came on). My son played it comical, affecting a genteel expression whilst examining the ornaments on the mantelpiece, as if suddenly noticing how very interesting they were, which set Mum off laughing, infectiously!
Why do such products need to be advertised on television? And why are they mostly to do with women’s things? “Suffering from nob-rot? Try Penisil!” Hmm. Sorry 🙂
Anyway … Mum came to stay with us for a few days, so I wiped the dust off the TV screen and looked dubiously at the remote control, but she knew instinctively how to change channels. (Didn’t they used to be called ‘stations’?) It turned out this was an important time in Coronation Street. Corrie has been going for as long as I can remember. Mum used to wash me in front of it with a wet flannel poised between me and the washing up bowl, and if there was any action it had sometimes gone a bit cold by the time it made contact with skin. I have always found the theme tune depressing – back then because it was time for bed – but now because it sounds like an unhappy cat. Watching it again this week, I was surprised to recognise some of the characters who are still in it but was also amazed how dark and disturbing it has become. Okay, I’d had some gin, but I recall one guy self-harming whilst another was being sucked down in quicksand. In Corrie? FFS!
Then Mum threw into the mix, “She was married to Sean Bean – she was inbred.” Trying to make sense of this, I said, “You mean they were first cousins or something?” Mum said, “No, she was in’Bread’!” Well, that tickled me!
I live some distance away from my parents and have done for many years – but it’s a worry now they are old. (Mum has said, in the past, “Don’t be worrying about that – we might just drop dead!”) The big ’80’ is a wake up call though, and it’s hard to imagine a time when they won’t be just a phone call or text away. I know they can’t go on forever … but I very much fear that Corrie probably will!