Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, August 11, 2003

A Man With A Limp, A Woman With A Hand Up Her Skirt

I was delighted to have my mother come and visit this weekend, an event of similar magnitude to when Cher turns up in Will & Grace. We had a delightful time, wandering along the South Bank and drinking fabulous cocktails in Site Bar, where she regaled us with some of the more outrageous things she’s been doing since she and my father split up for the sixth and final time. She’s certainly been making up for years of semi-oppression under his yoke by going out and having the most marvellous adventures of which I’m slightly envious. I shall regale you with one:

It starts with my she and Phil returning from a visit to see my sister in Cheltenham. Phil is a 23-year-old work colleague who’s as daft as her, and they are always egging each other to do something silly. Like kidnapping a fellow work colleague in the car at lunch because he never came down the pub with them. This time, they decide to turn off from each and every one of the several junctions along the motorway on the way home, find a pub and have a drink. This seemed a fair idea until after the first pub they went to and my mother remembered she was indeed driving and couldn’t drink, and Phil was already trying to better the idea. So the plan was altered: Phil would have a pint and then they would both steal something.

They start as most small-time crooks do, with the cruet set in a dingy pub just outside Cheltenham. They bolt for the car, giggling like schoolgirls.
The next public house is somewhat classier. Noting that the stakes are higher, my mother makes off with a menu while Phil pops to the loo. They convene in the car park, my mother surreptitiously waving the menu with pride while Phil appears suspiciously empty-handed. When questioned, he reached down into his boot and pulls out the pub’s loo brush. They drive on, swerving and cackling so.
The next pub is even further away in style from a Harvester than the last, and they feel they have to further outdo themselves. Phil already has his eye on a loose radiator shelf close to their seat, although it would be very difficult to get out to the car. Feeling daring and not wishing to be outdone, mother pops into the toilet and spies a poster affixed to the wall. She scrabbles with the plastic covering, looking over her shoulder like Jennifer Garner in Alias, she manages to pry if off and stuff the poster down her top and casually walk to the car with no care in the world. Phil joins her seconds later, bursting though the doors with the most pronounced limp, almost like he has a long piece of wood down his trouser leg. With a screech of Sweeney-like tyres, they’re on to the next pub.
In this one, mother manages to destroy a flower arrangement by grabbing the longest flower in the stack while the bar-minion’s back is turned, and running for the door. She finds Phil outside trying to cajole a local cat into the car. “No livestock!” she cried. “No livestock!” and they ride on to the next.
Almost home, they ride off the next junction and find a pub that’s an old Firkin one – full of bric-a-brac and each item worth stealing. They have found pay dirt, a veritable pub-thief’s nirvana. Phil already has a sizable log from the fire under the table and is egging my mother on to grab a large ceramic hand from the shelf behind her. She’s not having it. Phil is insistent, so she reaches it from the shelf and places it on the table where they muck about with it for ten minutes. Phil is still adamant she should take it, and pushes it along the table towards her. It falls of the top and onto her chair. Inspiration flashes between them. Slowly - wordlessly - Phil reaches for his log. Mother slowly moves the hand out of sight from her lap and slowly sticks it up her skirt, and they shuffle quietly to the exit.

Brilliant. Genius. As the whole tale was told to me over several margaritas, my jaw dropping further with each steal. Needlessly to say I didn’t believe a word of it until she took me out to the car and opened the boot, and there was this plethora of items purloined along the way from Cheltenham to Birmingham, including the offending hand. I couldn’t believe it.

Oh, if only they had got the cat...

No comments: