Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Pottymouth - Part The First

Being a good Christian woman and born of a certain generation, Nana (of the Nurse Gladys variety) was not someone who was predisposed towards swearing. That's not to say that she particularly took offence at other people swearing - no, it just wasn't for her. However, as with any rule, there were naturally the exceptions - bizarrely for someone who was a church secretary for so many years, Christmas was often one of those times.

It all started on one Christmas way back when - I forget which one in particular. In our house, the alcohol has always flowed freely in celebratory times of family gathering. What can I say - we're a boozy lot. As kids, at the time of the Christmas, we were always allowed a couple of glasses of wine mixed heavily with orange juice and lemonade - never enough to get us pissed, of course, we weren't that sort of family. Nana had never been a big drinker but she was partial to a drop of sherry (and an occasional glass of stout on a Friday night) and, this being a festive time, she'd partaken of a little more sherry than usual.

I have to admit that I don't remember the specifics of the conversation but it had somehow turned to the subject of an animal's "doings" as Nana termed it (this is not unusual dinnertime conversation in our house). Knowing full well exactly what she meant but suspecting that the glasses of sherry may be starting to loosen her tongue somewhat, we pressed her to be more specific.

"Doings, Nana?" we queried, all innocent, like, hoping that we could push her further and little knowing that we would hit the jackpot.

"Yes, doings," said she in her Yorkshire accent. "You know." Pause. "Shit."

To her two grandsons, this was a moment of epiphany. Nana! Swearing! Saying one of the sweary words! The payingest paydirt of all time! Our shocked amusement was instant and total and thus began an annual tradition at our Christmas table - the swearing of the Nana. Some years it was successful, others less so (the trick was to correctly judge the sherry to Christmas dinner ratio). It always amused because, let's face it, little old ladies swearing is always funny but it never really recaptured that first explosive moment of surprise when she broke what was, to us litlle 'uns, quite the taboo.

Of course, we did hear her regularly use milder language, of which I was reminded the other day. I was surfing channels (to use a very 90s term) and an old repeat of 1980s supersoap Dynasty came on. Instantly, I was transported back a good twenty five years...

To Be Continued...


MJenks said...

That Christmas dinner:sherry ratio is always a tough one to work out.

And, you're right: old ladies swearing is a very, very funny thing to behold. There's a certain filthy word to sweet little old lady appearance inverse proportion equation to work out here, but it will take a lot more work and a lot more study of the subject material before I perfect it.

That Baldy Fella said...

Swearing related study is always good. Although personally, I'll probably just keep working on the Christmas dinner:sherry one. Hic.