Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A Random memory from the archives: The day I realised my father was too clever for me...

Seeing as it has just been Christmas and we therefore tend to reflect back on past memories and stories, I've come across some interesting ones from my childhood, and I thought, why not tell you all about one of them? It's always fun to delve into the mind I once had. I have quite a few, and so thought I might make a bit of a series about them, possibly telling you a new one every Wednesday, although I'm not going to commit to that, it's too much pressure. All I will say is that I will try.

So today's memory takes us to a place that well and truly proves I grew up in Britain, as it involves a family trip to a castle ruin and involves a very British word. It was also the day that I gained a new respect for my father's ingenius powers of deduction, and realised that he was, in fact, a force to be reckoned with.

I was about 8 or 9 years old, and about at the age where I had become aware of the idea of swear words, and had even heard a few myself. I had been exposed to certain words late in life, given that I have yet to hear my parents say anything remotely close to a swear word outside of the phrase "You ninny!" which my father shouted out during a football match one year, to much the enjoyment of the rest of the family. As such, my childhood was sheltered to any "bad words" until children started to mutter them in the playground. My lack of knowledge of these words did become a bit of a running joke within the school playground as, when my obliviousness had been noted, I was quite often tricked into saying words I hadn't realised where bad, and then the people tricking me would subsequently run to the teachers and tell them that I had said them... this would usually consist of children asking me to say the word Bucket while pulling at both sides of my mouth, so as to create a different sound altogether... I know, children can be cruel.

*Stops and wonders how many people have now just tried that, to see what I meant...*

Anywho, one word that I had previous knowledge of, mainly due to hearing it on a TV show I had snuck in to watch after my bedtime, and then got told off for saying in the playground the next day, (which was generally how I found out that words were bad) was a word that featured strongly in our family trip to the castle.

You see, we had gone to a castle that had a large amount to do with a certain royal family member under the name of Mary. Due to her legacy, she had adopted a nickname after she died, which was "Bloody Mary."

Now our trip to this castle consisted of a tour and a talk of the history of the place, before we were then allowed free reign to check out the ruins for ourselves. During this talk, our tour guide began on her speech about this woman and mentioned, for the first time, her nickname, saying the term "Bloody Mary" without a flinch nor an eyelid batted from any of those listening to her, including my parents.

My 8 year old brain almost exploded, trying to understand it. I remember throwing a glance at Older-Brother-Glyn, who in turn raised his eyebrows at me. It seemed amazing that we were both not only allowed to hear such a word without being ushered out of the room, but that no one seemed to be offended at all. I couldn't comprehend it. I was certain there had to be a flaw somewhere in it.

And then a thought came to me, what if this wasn't just a flaw, but rather a beautiful gift, a loophole that would allow me to be naughty and get away with it. My little mind went into overdrive trying to work out how I can turn this to my advantage. I walked through the rest of the tour, my body almost bubbling over with excitement over this new revelation. Eventually the tour finished and we were invited to check out the place for ourselves. We did.

At this point, my memory tells me that the rest of my family disappeared, except for Father and myself. I'm unsure as to where they went, but I'm going to assume that they simply went to explore another area of the castle, rather than anything else more sinister like they fell off a ledge or something...

Anywho, Father and I had climbed to the one of the turrets of the castle. Father was examining an old unused canon, and I had found myself in front of an information board, telling me what this part of the castle was used for. As if by fate, Bloody Mary's name shone out of the text and I had to bite my lip to contain my excitement.

"Daddy!" I called out. "Bloody Mary has been here too!"

I turned to face Father, waiting with baited breath on his reaction. Knowing that this would be the moment of truth, if he accepted my use of this nickname, it was him giving me the green light to use it whenever I wanted. I had never felt so naughty in my life.

Father slowly turned to face me, a look of weariness on his face that suggested he could go either way. However, he simply nodded and said:

"That's nice."

It was like fireworks had gone off inside my brain. My father, the man who told us off if we so much as said the word "fart" had heard me say a naughty word, and had accepted it. I literally didn't know what to do with myself. After a moment of thinking, I decided that this was all too much of a good thing to let go to waste, so I decided to milk it for all it's worth.

"I can't believe Bloody Mary was actually here where I'm standing. The Bloody Mary. Why is she called Bloody Mary? She doesn't look that Bloody."

Father's weariness appeared to grow at each repeat of the word, but I didn't even notice, so hyped up was I at the free reign of a normally taboo word.

"You heard the tour guide as well as I did. She explained why."

"But I don't understand it. Bloody Mary actually stood here? Why would Bloody Mary do that? Do you think she minded being called Bloody Mary? I wouldn't want to be called Bloody Mary, it's not a nice name to be called... Bloody Mary."

"Enough!" Father called out.

I stopped in my tracks and peered up at Father, aprehension clear on my features. He seemed angry, although he had already made it clear that Bloody was a word I could use when put before Mary, as he hadn't minded the first time I had done it. Therefore, I hadn't done anything wrong, I couldn't be told off. I had been 100% clever in my words, there was no way that he could have a problem with a single thing I had said. I had worked out how to swear and get away with it, it was a fool proof plan.

"I know what you're doing." Father continued.

I gave him my most innocent look. "I'm just interested in Bloody Mary." I said.

Father sighed. "You are using that name as an excuse to swear."

Colour drained my face, my heart sank to my feet, I could not believe that he had worked it out. I had been so sneaky and clever about the whole thing. How could he have thought for one minute that it had been a trick? I shook my head, automatically going into defense mode, as an 8 year old tends to do.

"No I'm not!" I said. "I'm just interested in..."

"You are, and I know it."

I gaped at him. Was he reading my mind?? How did he know this stuff?? I was immediately terrified that Father had some magical powers I hadn't been aware of until now.

"I'm not doing anything wrong! It's her name!" I said.

"Well, I tell you what, how about we don't mention her anymore today?"

I pouted, he had just taken all fun out of what had been one of the best conversations I had ever had. I had to find a way around this.

"But what if I want to find out more about her? Can't I ask any questions?"

"Of course you can." Father said, with a smile. "But you can refer to her as Mary, I'll know who you're talking about."

My mouth dropped open, he had thwarted all my chances of being naughty and I was now backed into a corner.

"Fine." I said sulkily.

And I did sulk, turning back to the information board. My father had proven to me that he was able to read my mind and know exactly what it was that I was planning, my world had been turned upside down. I would have to be careful on all my plans from now on, this changed everything.

And I kid you not, I genuinely believed he could read my mind for at least a year after that. You can see why, there was clearly no other way for him to have known what I was doing.

Peace out my lovelies.

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