Thursday, 12 November 2009

Penny for it..

“Shall we make a guy, guys?”, I asked the children over dinner the other night.
“A what?” asked my 14 year old egg-head who generally knows more about most subjects than your average teenage hoodie.
“You know a stuffed effigy, named after Guy Fawkes.”
“Remember, remember the 9th of November” added the Red-Head, sagely. I sighed.
“No darling it’s the 5th of November we must remember”.
“Why?” she asked looking up at me from a bowlful of cheesy beans.
This was getting exasperating. What do they teach our kids these days? They know all about autumn and fireworks and write expressive poetry filled with timely, adjective filled, fire-cracking onomatopoeic zeal which goes up all over the school walls but have no idea who Guy Fawkes was.
“He plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament”.
“Way to go”, said the 17 year old profoundly. ‘A’ level politics is obviously having a deeply, reflective effect on my son.
“What has this to do with effigies mum?” asked the 14 year old, trying to get us back on track.
“Well young people would make a ‘Guy’ from old clothes hanging around, then stuff it with newspapers, shove sticks up the sleeves as arms, don a jaunty mask and hey ho, you had a Guy. This same Guy was then plonked in an old pram and trawled the streets, where, you’d ask a passerby if they would ‘give you a penny for it”. My children looked up at me simultaneously as though I were nuts.
“That is so old-fashioned mum”, said the 14 year old.
“Yeah, that’s like really quaint man”, added the son.
“Oh for heaven’s sake, I’m not talking about a custom that disappeared centuries ago like witch dunking you know.”
“Well I’d hardly call the dunking of oppressed, innocent women quaint”, added my eldest daughter, in very uppity tones.
“Nor do I”, I went on hurriedly, “I was just thinking on my feet for an example of an old custom. I could just have easily have mentioned the custom of curtseying or even calling ones’ parents Sir and Ma’am”. This was met with peals of laughter.
“Anyway, as I was saying, the making of a Guy is not something that has gone down in the annals of history just yet. Kids were making them very recently.” No-one looked as though they believed me.
“What? Why the blank looks?”.The Red-Head in fairness was just hell bent on getting a baked bean to make it from her plate onto her fork and into her mouth. She couldn’t give a toss about Guy Fawkes, his effigy or the ensuing debate.
“I find it incredulous”, said the 14 year old finally.
“What darling?”
“All of it. I seems unthinkable in today’s increasingly violent society that a) we celebrate, over four hundred years after the event, the execution of a man who, after all must have had serious grievances against Royalty, ergo parliament by casting him onto a bonfire to be burnt for perpetuity and b) we revel in at and stand nonchalantly by watching the flames, a sparkler in one hand and a toffee apple in the other and c)were any child to apprehend an adult and ask them for money they be issued with an ASBO and d) should the adult in question hand over money to young child they in turn would be on some offenders list, too terrified ever again to undergo a CRB check.”
“Don’t forget e)”, added my son, “E is for ebay. You’d never find an old pram these days. People just get rid of old for new”. This was very depressing.
The 7 year old was the only one who seemed even slightly interested in making a ‘Guy’ and after dinner set about collecting materials. I left her to it. I had after all explained all about old clothes and so went into the kitchen to tidy up.
An hour later, whilst Hubby was playing with his i-pod and the teenagers were doing their so called homework- I went in search of the youngest two who were un-naturally and thus ominously, quiet.
I eventually found them in a locked bathroom.
“Hello, can I come in please darlings?” Silence. Much like the wolf in the Three Little Pigs, I didn’t bother with the pleasantries after that and banged repeatedly on the door.
“Let me in! Let me in!”
Luckily I was not met with ‘Not by the hair on my chinny, chin, chin’ and very slowly the door opened.
The 7 year old looked immediately guilty, whilst the Red-Head looked triumphant.
There on the bathroom tiles, as though she’d had a night on the tiles lay the remnants of an unrecognisable diva.
The 14 year old popped her head in.
“You should commend them mum on not being gender specific and thinking outside the box”.
Outside the box? They hadn’t been near any box but had rummaged through my drawers. All my tights, which had been used for ‘arms and legs’ had been filled with various scraps of newspaper and where they’d run out they’d used my lovely, white A4 Hewlett-Packard computer paper. A sparkly sequinned encrusted t-shirt that I’d once worn proudly had been cut up and a skirt that had seen better days had been painted on and sellotaped haphazardly to one of my best but now, painted and stuffed, Sanderson, Oxford pillowcases.
Another pillow case was the head, which was plastered in lipstick and eyeliner and smudged mascara, a sorry blonde wig dangled sideways from it onto the floor as if the girls had put ‘her’ in a recovery position. The ‘legs’ lay akimbo, my red stilettos at right-angles. It was a grotesque sight.
I was speechless. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I just stood there looking at the pitiful sight before me.
Hubby bounded up stairs to use the loo and took one look.
“Jeeze Alice love, she looks familiar. You haven’t done that for a long time.”


DL said...

Hilarious, AB!

Taking a sneaky peek at work and hoping people aren't looking at me thinking, why is DL grinning like a bloody Cheshire Cat?

Alice Band said...

Ah DL! My number one, most loyal fan xx