Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Article excerpt

Byline: By Keith Hann

I officially turned into my mother at 11.14am on May 13, 2006. At any rate, that was the time when my companion whispered in my ear that I had been talking rather loudly when I drew her attention to the obvious nuttiness of the obvious nutter standing near us at the station.

Naturally I assured her that my decibel level had been modulated with the greatest of care: just loud enough to register with the lunatic, and with luck encourage him to delight someone else with his gibbering and capering.

But not so strident as to provoke outrage, whether in the form of a frontal assault or a sly push under the next available train.

I had also made a reasonably scientific calculation of my chances in single combat, just in case my first bit of analysis proved as accurate as it usually does.

Nevertheless, it set me thinking. My late mother had a pithy phrase for nearly every occasion, and like all elderly people she was wont to deliver it without too much regard for the consequences. I remember it fondly now, but my first reaction was one of cringing embarrassment when she looked around the crowded cafeteria and commented on our neighbour with the healthy appetite: "Eeh, will you just look at that big fat man ( digging his grave with his teeth!"

To use another of her favourite catchphrases, I wished the ground would open up and swallow me.

But at least I now have a huge stock of folk wisdom which can be applied in virtually every situation. Except that I have had to admit defeat on what my mother would have thought of our First Lady, after Cherie Blair and possibly the Queen, Lady McCartney.

Former underwear models were rather thin on the ground in the Longbenton of my youth, particularly one-legged former underwear models married to legendary pop superstars, so I suppose it falls rather outside her area of expertise. …

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