The News

‘’To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect’’ – Oscar Wilde

 

And how was this wonderful news received? This heart- warming celebration of life and birth and the growth of the family within the bosom of his family to be. Home went Mother, her wrath gathering strength as if a hurricane were building its force for its onslaught on all in its path. Into the house she strode and duly laid into Father. Lambasted him, harangued him as only she could. Beefy hands gesticulating in animated fashion. No roses round the door here. No kiss and cuddle of delight. Father did what he could as he felt the full  Beaufort force scale 8 winds batter upon his puny defences. As  if were a sailing sloop running before a high wind. As the bile and spit flew and the wherewithal to pay for an extra mouth was calculated, Father made a tactical withdrawal behind one of his great walls in life. The daily newspaper. At the same time sporting a self-made cigarette encased in a splendid white virgin Rizla paper, and a pint sized mug of tea so strong he could stand a spoon in it. Which he did regularly. Magic. Behind such rickety defences he hunkered down quietly until hurricane Mother had dissipated in strength to a mere squall.  This was a technique that he had already perfected, and would use to great effect in the future, too. For example, on one occasion storm force Mother had berated Father over one of his indiscretions. Father was invited to pack up his belongings and take his bags and leave the family home via the front door, leaving his keys on the way out. Thank you very much!

‘’What did you do’’ he asked his Father in later life.

‘’Well son’’ Father replied.

‘’I looked outside and saw that it was snowing and horribly cold’’, Father carried on in-a-matter-of fact way as he folded his paper in half.

‘’So I sat quietly in the kitchen with my newspaper,  had another cup of tea, smoked my roll up and waited until she had calmed down and gone to bed. Then I went to bed very, very quietly’’.

 

In every way our hero had really had upset the apple cart even before being born.  The members of the family were consciously or not, erecting their own barriers and preparing their own feelings for his arrival.  Assessing the hierarchical changes and pressure on time and attention primarily from Mother. And what of the parents to be, were they of good stock, sound of body and limb? Was he to be born into money and comfort, or poverty and suffering, or God forbid a conservative, Ted Heath loving family! How would fortune shine on him, or not as the case may be. What religion would he be born into, or would he be lucky? And would he be handsome or look as though he had fallen of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Would he be a democrat, humanist, fascist, communist or simply not give a damn. A clue would come from the newspaper that Father used as part as of his anti-Mother defence screen during crisis moments. The news he read came via the then Daily Mirror. Pitched from 1934 towards a left-wing working class readership, it was the preferred paper of choice for Father. A socialist choice. The Daily Mirror backed the Labour Party and Father backed the Labour Party. Well after all, somebody had to do it, didn’t they.

 

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