Monday, 21 February 2011

Pinging The Braces And Rattling The Teeth - Part The Second

The other favoured game involved the aforementioned dentures. To pestering cries of "rattle your teeth, Uncle Dick, rattle your teeth", he would drop his lower jaw, shift loose those false teeth and let them click, clatter and clack together in his mouth. For a small boy, this was of equal entertainment value as the pinging of the braces and, like the braces game, was usually halted by Aunt Mag's exasperation.

Aunt Mag was definitely a talker. Most of her conversations seemed to be a continuation of previous efforts and the large majority of her opening pronouncements were prefaced by the phrase "Any old 'ow". Also, a talker she may well have been but pronunciation was not one of her strong points...

It was obvious that there were quite a few words which she read but didn't really
hear anyone else come out with on a day to day basis (or, if she did, she didn't connect the two). This would be a source of first bafflement before giving away to amusement for my mother.

For example, upon one of our standard visits (presumably while Bro and I were ensconced in front of the TV and busy shovelling Maltesers into our gobs), Aunt Mag informed Mum that the high street in beautiful downtown Lewisham* had been closed off when she popped in to do her shopping earlier. The reason for said closure?

"Well," said Aunt Mag, "they had one of those bommoxes."

"A what?" asked a perplexed Mother.

"You know, a bommox," reiterated Aunt Mag, obviously confused as to why Mum was failing to grasp and very simple concept.

It was only later on that Mum realised that the high street had been closed due to a bomb hoax. Mind you, at least that also explained why Aunt Mag found it to be "absolute choss"** while she was waiting for the bus.

Aunt Mag also had difficulty in finding the right word to describe exactly what she meant. She knew what she meant and she knew the word she was looking for - it just wasn't necessarily the same word that everyone else used. For example, if she'd bought a new cardie and the material was somewhat more itchy and coarse than she was expecting, it would be said to have been "hesitating" her.

Uncle Dick passed away when I was about seven or so and Aunt Mag a couple of years later. I still think of them whenever I go past the place where their flat used to be. In a slightly odd form of tribute, Uncle Dick was to live on years later in a very different form. The form he was commemorated in? That of a slightly drunken and aggressive blue budgie...

* Definite sarcasm.

** Translation = chaos.

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