Saturday, 27 September 2014

Grownups say the strangest things.


When you visit my museum you will always come straight in from your world into the kitchen where we began our journey last week but from there on everything is always changing and a door which last time opened onto a room full of Chinese embroideries may this time take you down to Weymouth Harbour and the Sailing Club.  From time to time I see people that I remember well, you may think you recognise them too and events long forgotten replay.  Suddenly I find myself standing dripping wet and shivering on the harbour wall as The Merry Widow, a twelve foot Yachting World Cadet is righted and bailed out.  She has been lent to me by Arthur Meech who hasn’t warned me that the main sheet often jams; this time it jams just as I let go the mooring and a sudden gust comes sweeping across the harbour.  She doesn't just capsize, she turns turtle and the top of the mast sticks in the mud while the little wooden dagger plate floats forlornly down the harbour.  Oh the shame of it, at twelve it seems as though everyone is watching me.
Back in the kitchen my grandmother is sitting by the fire and I am in my favourite place  under the table hoping that the grownups will forget that it is past my bedtime.  She is talking to a group of friends about a night at the opera.  It all sounds very grand and exciting until she says ‘and the Royal Family were in a box.’  Grownups say the strangest things and I know if I interrupt I will be sent upstairs so the memory is tucked away till the right time comes  to ask questions. 
The larder door is at the back of the kitchen and on the slate shelf is a great mound of butter newly churned with drops of water oozing out of a crack down one side.  I can see it’s yellow so why do the grownups call it grey?  ‘Because it isn’t really black,’ comes the reply, ‘we don’t sell it, we give it to friends,’ which leaves me completely bewildered.  Many years pass before I learn about the black market. 

A memory that still makes me smile concerns a pig.  I had seen it grow up and the time had come for it to hang in the larder waiting to be jointed and shared among family and friends.  It was the day of the County Show and the only person at left at home was an elderly aunt.  When we all returned she was in a right state, ‘A man came,’ she said, ‘He wanted to look in the larder, I tried to stop him but he said he was from the Ministry.  He said we shouldn’t have killed the pig without asking permission and he would have to take it away as evidence.’  We never saw the man or our pig again.

1 comment:

Chris Briggs said...

I used to work for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, but honestly, it wasn't me!