Sunday, 15 March 2015

Victorian dictionaries

We've come to Thaxted to see the parents and are currently in the sitting room lounging in front of a gloriously cozy open fire, whilst Nathan and my Mum frog a knitted lavender-coloured cardigan. I'm always horrified when I see people ripping knitting apart. I think about all the hours that have gone into creating the garment, and seeing it as wool again feels somewhat sacrilegious. My Mum says I'd never have survived in the 1950s, when people were forever knitting jumpers and ripping them back again, out of necessity mostly, but also because everyone in those good old days was obsessed with making do and mending.

It's Mothering Sunday, and Facebook is full to the brim with people writing tributes to mothers that are, mothers that were, and mothers that never will be. I'm slightly cynical if I'm honest. I don't understand why we need a single day to remind us of our mothers. I personally think that every day should be Mothers' Day, and that needing a dedicated twenty-four hour period to assuage our guilt for not being attentive during the rest of the year is fairly tragic. I also think the whole thing has become a little too commercialised. My Dad said he was in Sainsbury's this morning and had never seen so many people walking around with cheap bouquets of flowers.

Nathan and I stopped by the side of the road outside Thaxted and picked a bouquet of wild daffodils to give to my Mum. They look lovely in a vase by the fire. Much nicer than a cheap bundle of carnations from Kenya.

My Mum has only just discovered that a "muff" is not necessarily just something you knit with wool. She has reminded me of my Grannie, her mother, who had a best friend called Betty Wanklin whom she went on and on about. We used to encourage her to talk about Betty Wanklin, particularly after it turned out that Betty Wanklin had a dog called Tosser. My Grannie spent a whole afternoon on one occasion doing impersonations of Betty Wanklin shouting the word Tosser, without realising why the ever-growing group assembled in front of her (who kept asking her to tell the story again) were having absolute hysterics!

We had something of a nostalgia fest in the evening, talking about school days and the scrapes I seemed to get myself into on a regular basis. My Mum reminded me about the little crusades I went on, which on one occasion saw me removing myself from school assemblies on the grounds of being an atheist. It caused mayhem. On one occasion my mother was called in by the head teacher and told that I was the most dangerous student in the school. A bit of an over-exaggeration, I suspect, but I was a fairly militant child!

The day ended in the presence of a Victorian dictionary, which we dipped in and out of, looking for beautiful and comic old-fashioned words. I rather liked the word "besprinkled." His hair was besprinkled with grey!

As the embers in the fire started to die we left Thaxted to wend our way back to London.

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