BY STEVE CHAPPLES
Extracted from issue 13 April/May 2007
Our gran said that mi dad were so ashamed of er, i would tell folk she were a Mrs Pickles. She were so ugly, i’d pretend shi wert cleaner, employed to blanco donkey stone an do a bit o washin, possin, manglin an ironin for us.
She ad a great big wart on th’end of er nose, like a miniature, mauve tortoise and wore poultices on her arthritic knees. As a special treat for her 21st, she’d ad all er teeth teken aht. She never wore her dentures, which she kept in a pint pot by
her po undert bed.
She were allus breakin wind an all, cos she loved pea soup wi a bit of pig’s trotter. Wi’d all look at dog, specially it were a rasper ant vicar ad called round for a cucumber sandwich at Sunday tea times to see, why wi ant bin to church. Mi gran ud shout at dog and blame repulsive smell on im!
So, as soon as Bonzo heard her crack one off, i’d run like buggery intut scullery, before shi cud chuck a clog iron at im. Mi father wucked as a part-time tripe dresser in Barnoldwick for a shillin a week, so most ut 17 kids were brought up on offal. If he weren’t pissed, i’d sometimes sneak out ut UCP shop wi off cuts hidden down is trousers.
Sometimes on a Friday neet, i’d bring us sumat special, a big bowl o white beef drippin, wi that reet, tasty, brown jelly stuff at bottom.
“mi dad got sacked, fut telling boss wor e thot of im, so e towd mi ma shi’d av to go back ont game.”
I reckon I could wuck a full week int pit an run a marathon every day from one drippin butty alone.
In th’evenins wi’d all sit ont cowd, lino floor in front ut meagre coal fire an mi dad ud gerout some crumpets i’d nicked from Oddie’s bakery.
Then i’d ger our nit-infested Ada who had rickets to toast em ont brass fork in front ut fire.
Eeh… they did smell good. It were like testing mother’s breast and wi’d all slaver like dogs that adn’t etten for a fortneet. Mi father ud put is big, brown boots up ont mantelpiece, give our Stan a cuff round th’earole an a good hidin wit belt buckle for sittin in is chair.Then i’d light up a pipe o twist, wi’d all cough us guts up and then i’d spit ont tut sizzling fireback an give mi mam, wor i called a chin sandwich. E’d rub is stubble into er acne-covered face an put is yella tongue in er ear.
Shi’d reckon she didn’t like it and scream an run off tut long drop int back yard an lock hersen in, till e were drunk an incapable on is 12 pints o mild.
E were a born romantic and could play a mean tune ont ukelele, tha knows. Our Stan were a knockerup fut weavin shed at arle Syke. E seemed to have a way wit women I could never understand.
Hi were nowt to look at, a bit podgy, wi ginger air and allus smelt musky, cos e only changed is longjohns once a week. But e just seemed to sit near lassies, giv em a wink and next news, they were up the duff and their dads ud be bangin ont door wi a shotgun.
It were same whent rent man called on a Friday.Wi’d all hide behint settee and undert beds and sometimes mi dad ud pretend to have an art attack or be dead.
I were never any good wi women.Thi’d tek one look at me an go off tut lavvy to be sick. A once ad a lass, who were partially sighted, as a result of an accident wi a flyin shuttle, but she met a tackler from Barnsley an that were that.
One Xmas in 1916, mi dad got sacked, fut telling boss wor e thot of im, so e towd mi ma shi’d av to go back ont game. She gor all excited for a minute, went to put on er glad rags, as she called em and pur a bit a lavender scent behind her ears.
Anyroad nobody fancied er, as she tried to stand seductively undert gas lamp at end of us street, so shi came back an sulked, then sank a full crate of pale ale.
In desperation mi dad sent out our gran, to see if she could do any better. Shi pur on er best, floral dress, itched it up above er knees and rouged up her cheeks. Er varicose veins stuck out like a road map of East Lancashire, but bugger me, she came ‘ome wi half a crown from a gang bang wi half a dozen army lads, so we all celebrated big style.
Wora a Xmas that were. Our Stan pawned is leg irons for three pence to buy some Haffner’s pies an staggered ome ont bones of is arse. Our Elsie got pissed on sherry and mi dad joined Foreign Legion, pretendin i were wanted for murderin a bobby in Salford.Wi never saw im again.
I caught a terrible, hackin cough from smoking too many Woodbines and Capstan Full Strength, mi gran fell down a manole cover, whilst under the influence of mother’s ruin.
Wi fished er out buried er ont slag eap under cover of darkness to save money on funeral expenses.
Our Stan ended up married to a reet slapper from Cleckheaton called Brenda wi big tits and no nickers, who were a stripper and occasional grave digger at weekends.
It weren’t easy in them days. We had to mek sacrifices. There were grown men dyin bit thousand of trench foot an gonorreah, lasses wuckin int glue factory for a tanner an mothers tryin to earn a few bob by cruisint doss ouses in Colne.
Wi might a bin a bit common, but wi allus paid us way!