Look away now if you’re easily offended.
I’ve just been reading
A little while ago,
Some mothers do ave em
We've all been there.
I used to call them "driving words" in front of the children because my bad language was mainly heard when we were in the car. I carefully explained that sometimes Mummy needed to use bad words but you can only use them when you are driving. When you are grown up and you can drive blah, blah... you get it.
Some friends had the driving word rule too. They were driving to the West Country for a family holiday. Somewhere around Honiton, there was a humungous traffic jam and someone decided to create new traffic rules. My hot and bothered friend expressed the opinion that the perpetrator’s parents were unlikely to have been married. They looked guiltily at the back seat but the children were engrossed in the Thomas the Tank Engine tape. Phew. Eventually they got to their destination in the heat of the day with the windows wound down. Someone cut in front as they drove into the car park. Their four year old son was quick off the mark and hollered “BASTARD” at the holidaymakers.
I thought I had it nailed on the driving word front. Felt really proud of myself. It all unravelled horribly when I took Madette and Junior Mad to visit my mother. We had a truly awful journey culminating in a puncture on the M4. It required the full quota of driving words. They were so impressed when we got there that they spilled out of the car full of excitement, dead keen to tell their grandmother about the vicissitudes of the journey. Junior Mad explained that Mummy had used all sorts of driving words in many and varied combinations. She asked them WHAT were driving words. Madette, alert to the fact that this might need editing said "Oh things like bloody and bugger, Nain" but Junior Mad added "And fuck". We had a great day. My mother tore my ear off.
In 1991, an interesting combination of circumstances brought a boy from Czechoslovakia to stay. He was a monster; more of that another time. At the time, the
So back to my mother. Dad swore like punctuation. Mainly “bloody hell”. If it was bad, “Duw, bloody hell”. Mam didn’t really do the swearing thing and I got a sharp slap if I indulged. Bad language on television had her shooting across the room to hit the off button. When I was about twelve, someone had graffitied “Fuck” on a bridge near home. I’m not sure if it was a statement or a command, but she insisted that I cross the road and not look at it. Sometime in the mid 1990s, we were visited by the Jehovah’s Witnesses when she was staying with us. The JW had waylaid one of the household at the front door and would not leave, despite pleas of belonging to another faith, lack of interest etc. By this time, my mother was everyone’s idea of a grandmother : eightyish, white curls, apple cheeked and rather round. She trotted to the door, took in the “Watch Tower” clutched in the JW’s paw and bellowed “BUGGER OFF”. The JW fled, leaving an umbrella abandoned in the porch. We left it there for a few days in case they felt brave enough to sneak back up the drive to collect it. Fifteen years on, it’s still in my umbrella stand. Clearly, hell’s grandma was sufficient deterrent.
And if you’re wondering about the title … the fabulous Flanders and Swann wrote a song that starts “Ma’s out, Pa’s out, Lets talk rude: Pee Po, Belly, Bum, Drawers”.