It was my father who told me once, that if I wanted to enjoy a sensible conversation with my mother it was important to catch her attention before noon. As he said, “She does not object to swallowing but will not suffer the drudgery of chewing too early in the day,” by which he meant all her nutrients, up to that hour, were taken in liquid form, normally stiffened by a decent supply of Vodka. Her conduct became increasingly ‘random’ as the day progressed, possibly helping her express her “Inner Calling,” as a Conceptual Artist: no I don’t know what that means either.
I tell you this because it makes some things clearer: my mother, in lucid moments, and perhaps more vocally in her, “Charismatic Interludes” was a fanatical fan of Winston Churchill. When I also mention that she went to the town hall at three-thirty in the afternoon to register my name, following a celebratory luncheon with some of the town’s finest, you may now understand why my first name is “Winsome,” which is probably as near as she could get to her intended target after a bottle of the sacred fluid.
“Winsome Green” does not carry the weight our famous statesman enjoyed, but it still raised eyebrows in a variety of venues as I progressed towards adulthood. My mother’s brittle and inflexible grasp of what she considered to be “the facts” meant that no one, including my father, had the nerve to suggest she had made an error.
Being a “Conceptual Artist” meant she was called on to behave oddly, and strike up strange and often embarrassing poses in the most unfortunate places, sometimes using what we might call “A minimalist wardrobe.”
She was arrested for her art on a number of occasions by men in blue who insensitively called her performances , “Drunk and Disorderly Conduct.” I’m not sure if this calling ever involved the transfer of monies into her bank account, but, to quote her; “Uninspired realities should not influence the life of the Gifted!”
My father, who used to refer to his marriage as “ hanging on to a barrage balloon in a gale” left her when I was fourteen years old and ran or rode off with a traffic warden after a brief courtship originating, most unusually, in a disagreement over parking bays. However odd that may sound, I can tell you that they are still together and show every sign of being a devoted couple. When I asked my father what the secret of his happy marriage to his second wife was, he replied, “Memories of my first:” some people may understand his point of view.
Needless to say, following his departure, my remaining childhood was spent in exploring the opportunities for under-achievement in various schools and colleges before I entered working life as a trainee bicycle engineer.
None of this is relevant except, following my interesting childhood, I met up with a girl who was a cycling enthusiast and, for undisclosed reasons, she appears to love me. Indeed she told me once that what drew her to me was “I could take all the love she could give” which tells you quite a lot about her character and my history I suspect.
I am pleased to announce that we are now expecting our first child, but must also tell you that my mother is coming over for a celebratory luncheon to discuss possible names for the unborn infant. I shall be attempting to keep her away from the town-hall during any official ceremonies. Her new hero is Roald Dahl: try saying that after a bottle or two of something challenging. “What was that name again!?”