If I'm honest I always knew deep down that no straight Englishman could wear speedos that miniscule with that much aplomb. Let's face it, we all knew.
Monday, 2 December 2013
Christmas is a funny thing; we're so nostalgic about it, so sentimental. However hard we try, we're swayed by bloody TV adverts promising a perfect Christmas that we can't afford and will never achieve, because we're human beings, not paid actors. Sometimes I don't know if my memories of Christmas are real or partly made up; I don't mean the Christmas Day I spent with Take That - that was definitely inspired by an M&S ad, and looks less and less likely to happen for real. I mean the rose-tinted memories of cold Christmas mornings, ripping open pressies, and then sitting down to a happy dinner. Truth to tell, it was rarely like that; Dad was often pissed, as so many 70s dads were. Mum, never a natural or happy cook was stressed and tired, and who can blame her? But some memories remain, and I know they're real. Going to Selfridges with Mum to see Santa; She and I giggling over the mess we'd made of the turkey (never trust Keith Floyd recipes) when we cooked it upside down; walking 2 hours home from a nightclub and having to wake Mum up to let me in, and sharing a cheeky Christmas Eve drink with her. Mum and I sneaking off for some Boxing Day sales shopping when we couldn't face one more second cooped up inside the house. I didn't see Mum last Christmas. Nor the Christmas before. Not my fault, not hers. Just families, being their difficult, messy selves. But this Christmas we'll spend together. She doesn't know it's Christmas (excuse the Band Aid reference, but at least it's seasonal). She doesn't even know it's December. She will open her presents, possibly eat the food, she'll sit and stare at the TV and try not to say too much. She'll look at me now and then, and call me darling, because she's pretty sure I have a place in her life, even if she can't quite remember what it is. And me? I'll tidy compulsively, and miss my sisters and their kids, and get through it. And I'll know that millions of us across the world will be just getting through it. And whilst my Mum can't remember years gone by, I'll try my hardest not to either. She never liked bloody Christmas much anyway.
I have just bought a bicycle. It's pink and it has a basket and a bell and I love it. When I ride it, I feel 10 years old again, and it's a loooong time since I was 10 years old. However, whilst the part of suburban London I call home could hardly be described as the mean streets, every time I go on an actual road on my bicycle I come quite close to soiling myself in terror. Now I remember riding my bike as a kid, and I know I didn't give a shit. I wasn't scared of cars, people, trees, or windows. I should have been though, I took chunks out of my face in various accidents. Still didn't care though. Nowadays, before even leaving the house I put on my helmet, high viz jacket and reflective ankle straps. I'm a vision, as you can imagine. I go out, start off tentatively and gradually build up speed. And then I hear a car somewhere in the distance and my heart races, my mouth dries, and I. Just. Stop. I think some caution is necessary, but I also think I have to force myself to build up confidence. Any tips for this cycling neophite?