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...