Lil’s trip to the west coast of America causes her to re think her values of swearing and being a grandmother, much to the consternation of her long suffering daughter and son in law
Part of me would love to be Mary Poppins. I see myself, head held high, marching up the butte (I haven’t a clue what a butte is but several walks go there). I wave a wooden spoon and Rachel’s favorite food arrives or we play Monopoly, better known as Monotony and I smile throughout. As it is, apart from burning a hole on the kitchen counter, burning a pan, sploshing some three day old curry onto gluey rice, I have failed. Even at Scrabble I struggle to think beyond CAT.
Actually Rachel and I have been left together several times. I tell her about the olden days when I was young and we had a full complement of staff, butler, parlour maids, house maids, cook (always given the courtesy title of Mrs), scullery maid, groom and four gardeners. That’s about twelve people grossly underpaid to look after a family who are grossly overpaid and suffered from that fateful French decease of follie de grandeur. As I point out to Rachel, by marrying and divorcing I’ve achieved what a revolution would have done and slipped effortlessly down the slippery slope.
But I do burn to serve. Last night we ran out of dish washing liquid, actually we had run out much earlier but failed to do much about it other than swear. Being America and Rachel being only nine, swearing is in the ‘drat’ and ‘bother’ league. No European imagination allowed about the more vulgar parts of the body and one’s mothers. Americans would have a prudish fit on the Paris peripherique. There are sighs even when I say ‘shit’.
Anyway I volunteer to nip to Safeway and get the least efficient, homeopathic, organic, useless stuff. What is the point of a detergent that doesn’t clean? Luckily I love popping to Safeway, the staff are intrigued with my accent and ask if I know the Queen. Of course I do and I never eat cucumber sandwiches without cutting off the crusts. I stagger home with the washing liquid and a water melon. I’m crazy about water melons, even my daughter can’t find a gloomy prognosis for those who eat one every day, but back to the washing liquid: right make but wrong stuff. What a fool I am and promptly I forgot about Rachel and America and said ‘fuck’. Dog house for me.
But back to being Granny, I’ve got to watch her acting on Friday, she’s a monkey. I quite like the west end, don’t mind repertory theatre, but kid’s stuff…. I’ve admired trees, the complete holy family, sheep galore and as a granny I am doomed to doing it again. I suppose the queen feels the same thing when she watches ethnic dancing. I’m thankful I’ve just got grandchildren not forgetting one great grandchild. But I must get the right washing stuff and stop burning the saucepans.