My mum and the telly

December 27, 2009

Day two of Xmas and I’m lying on the floor of the living room, watching my mother, watching JLS on the telly. They’re doing a musical interlude thing on a Christmas impersonations type program. She’s got control of the remote and has been flicking back and forth between this, a re-run of Morecambe and Wise and something involving Ant and Dec. I think she’s settled on this because the thing involving Morecambe and Wise has finished. I don’t think my mother knows who JLS are. I don’t really know who JLS are. I ask her what she thinks of them. She says she thinks they’re silly and quickly turns the volume down a bit…but she definitely doesn’t turn over. After about a minute they stop singing and the foppish presenter bounces up to do a quick interview. My mother surreptitiously ups the volume again. She appears transfixed.

I’m actually quite enjoying spending time here. I’ve only been at my parents’ for a couple of days, since late on Xmas eve – and at times it hasn’t looked promising – ultimately though, coming home’s always comforting.

I spend time hanging out with my mum. My dad and uncle (who are brothers) hold up in the cooler parts of the bungalow (my mum like heat, they don’t) and either talk about politics, philosophy or religion, or bury themselves in books. About an hour ago I walked past the little conservatory type extension, where they mostly sit, and saw them doing the latter of these activities. It was a bit like quiet time at secondary school, or an upmarket library with private reading booths. My uncle is head librarian at a London library. I suspect he is trying to re-establish some kind of routine.

My mother’s routine is mostly about the telly. Normally, I don’t watch much, so sitting with her while she does makes a change. In a way, it’s also a bit educational. She watches all the news programmes, Corrie, cookery and anything vaguely reality-tv related.

We watch an advert for M & S . My mother points to one of the models. She says: ‘that’s Heather McCarthy. She’s going to be in ‘Dancing on Ice’.’ My mother likes Dancing on Ice. She likes all the dancing programmes.

We watch the 10 o’clock news and when the newscaster says good night, my mother says goodnight back. I’ve seen her do this before and ask her why she does. She doesn’t really know but says that her friend Jill (a pensioner who comes round for coffee every Tuesday) often talks to herself, or to the Lord. My mother is fond of the Lord and very keen on church, but I suppose you get to see who you’re talking to with the telly.

At about 11pm, she turns it off. We have a brief chat about a trip I’m taking to Jamaica. My mother is concerned that I might die in a aeroplane related terrorist attack. There was one on the news earlier. She tells me I mustn’t take any liquids onto the plane.

We have a nice cup of tea and my mother shows me a picture she’s taken on her digital camera. It’s all quite normal really. This watching TV and talking about me dieing, or whether or not I might be trustworthy enough to get cat. We talk for about an hour. It might have been more. We have our disagreements – like when she cites plot lines from Corrie to advise on my love life, but even then, it’s all ok really.

Tomorrow she wants to go to for a walk to Kirby. There’s a nice pub there and she wants to have a glass of mulled wine. I show her (on the digital camera) the photo I’ve taken of my new boots. She tells me I look like a call-girl. I give her a hug. Both my uncle and my dad went to bed hours ago. We’re the only ones up. She takes herself off to bed. I promise to disconnect my computer and turn off all the lights.


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