Running On Empty

October 21, 2010

If I ran a dating agency, I think I would have as one of my provisos that two deeply competitive people should probably not get married and then live together forever.

“Right, can you help me lift this bed?” said my Dad to The Mushroom.  The bed was in the middle of the room, pretty much where a bed should be. My Dad doesn’t like beds in the middle of the room. When pressed, he stutters something about ‘just liking the wall, that’s all’. I think it’s more to do with his Achilles heel – werewolves.  More of this another time.

“Course,” replies The Mushroom in a kind of grunt, maybe to make her seem stronger and more manly (note to The Mushroom; don’t try to make yourself seem more manly. I don’t think as a rule husbands like it, especially not husbands who witnessed the ‘pregnancy beard’ and thus have slight – but nonetheless deep rooted – doubts as to your gender at birth). “No problem.”

The Mushroom does, admittedly, have strangely big arm muscles.

“1-2-3; LIFT!”

“I…can’t….it’s…..too…..heavy!” groaned The Mushroom.

She put the bed down. My Dad looked at her. She was hyperventilating a bit.  “You’re not very fit, are you? For someone who claims to be very fit.”

Hello, Bull. How are you? Are you well? Here’s a red rag. Would you like it? Excellent.

“I frigging AM fit. I’m fitter than you!”

My Dad – not even remotely affected by the bed lifting – put his hands on his hips and looked at her. “I run thirty miles a week. I train a football team of five days a week. I train cadets once a week. No, love, you are not fitter than me. You are thinner than me, which is a different thing, and a good thing, because you are four foot eleven inches tall and if you weighed the same as me you would be the exact shape of an egg.”

(She did weigh the same as him once. When she was very pregnant. She did, actually, look EXACTLY like an egg.)

The Mushroom thinks she’s fit because she does Pilates. PILATES. I can frigging do Pilates; it’s just stretching, presumably in the manner of the Roman who crucified Jesus. It’s not a sport.

 The Mushroom decided to prove him wrong, and so she went for a run.

Here are a few key things she probably should have thought of:

1. Trainers. I think they’re more than a desirous thing for effective running. I think if you’re just running for a bus, or running after a dog, or any kind of momentary running, you’re okay without them. But if you’re ‘going for a run’, I think you need them. Hiking boots were probably not designed with running in mind, hence the name.

2. Warming up. Generally considered a good thing, too.

3. Waiting a bit after you’ve eaten.

Anyway, off she went, ten minutes after dinner, in her hiking boots and returned five minutes later, looking purple and limping. She has been walking like she’s developed rickets ever since.

I must therefore conclude, as an objective observer, that my Dad is fitter than The Mushroom.

The bed is still in the middle of the room.


How Now, Brown Cow?

October 3, 2010

“The rains in Spain fall mainly on the Plains.” said The Mushroom. “Now, Baby, your turn!”

The Baby was sitting on a cushion looking up happily at her mother. “The wains in Spain….hello, Daddy!”

“What you doing?” asked my Dad as he came in from work, wondering if The Mushroom was attempting to turn The Baby into some sort of mini, female, bald Olivier.

The Mushroom pointed angrily at him. “That’s IT! Don’t ever, ever, say that again. It’s YOUR FAULT!”

See, this is what happened earlier:

The Mushroom and The Baby were playing with their new set of Crayola Felt Markers (a purchasing choice The Mushroom regretted about eight minutes after this incident when she read the back bit where it mentioned ‘staining’ and looked at The Baby’s hands and chin, the rug and her jeans). The Mushroom was drawing a flower (allegedly).

“Wot yer doo-wen?” asked The Baby.

The Mushroom looked at her. “What?”

The Baby giggled. “I said, ‘Wot yer doo-wen?'”

“What am I doing? Well, for a start, I’m speaking in my normal accent. What are you doing?”

The Baby giggled again. “I’m speaking like Daddy.”

At this, The Mushroom had a kind of small seizure and fell over.

Daddy, you see, is from Hull.

This reaction from her is unfair and also probably racist. Somehow. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Hull accent.


(For those unfamiliar with the Hull accent, it can be found here, as can lots of interesting information about the Preston Road as told by some articulate Hull youngsters:

The Mushroom is on a losing battle. For a start, she’s outnumbered. Everyone else in our household was born in Hull. Me? Holderness Road. My Dad? Hessle Road. The Baby? Anlaby Road. The Mushroom was born in Montreal. That pretty much makes her French. Nobody French has any call to start having a go at people for their English accent.

My Dad walked into the kitchen, non-plussed.

“Daddy? Daddy?” asked The Baby.

“Yes, love?”

“Daddy, where yer go-wen? Luv?” she giggled.

“Right,” said The Mushroom to my Dad. “You must simply stop speaking.”

“Love, you cannot control who she is,” said my Dad, lifting The Baby onto his knee. “She is from Hull. She is a Hull girl. Now, darling,  say, ‘fern curl’.”

“Fern Curl.”

I sidled up to them to show my Hull solidarity against the French woman.

“Say, ‘Bugger off Zeebies’.”

“Bugger off Zeebies.”

My Dad’s eyes welled up. “My Dad will be so proud.”

The Mushroom looked like she could do with some smelling salts. 

I wonder if it is a primal thing;  if mothers need their children to speak like them. I suppose in the Days Of Yore it didn’t feature as a topic of consideration cos nobody moved anywhere. Surely, though, eventually The Baby will speak like a Canadian, and say ‘oot’ and ‘aboot’ and ‘eh?’ and stuff and spend a sizeable proportion of her adult life telling people that no, she is not American, so does it matter that she currently impersonating her Daddy? It isn’t as if we live in Hull. She’s never going to really take out her mobile phone and ask to be excused whilst she takes this ‘fern curl’.

The praise from my Dad encouraged The Baby. Clearly, ‘speaking like Daddy’ is a wonderful thing that is both funny and gets her extra cuddles. This resulted in The Baby doing it more, and doing it bigger, so by the end of the evening she was sounding very like she was in ‘Kes’.

“Alright, sweetheart,” said my Dad, in response to The Baby’s request for a ‘mer strew-bair – rays’, “Don’t take the piss, now.”

“Don’t swear!” hissed The Mushroom.

“Ner! Ner Ner! Ner whey!” exclaimed The Baby. “I luv ma whippet!”*

*I made this bit up. But she might as well have said it.

My Dad looked at The Mushroom in a powerless state of panic. “But she’s turning into Brian Glover. It needs to stop.”

The baldness probably doesn’t help The Baby any on this one.

So back to the cushion it was, with The Baby happily repeating that Peter Piper did indeed pick a peck of pickled peppers, and The Baby is back speaking like The Mushroom, whose accent is completely fake anyway because, as I have already mentioned, she is blatantly French.