Friday, 8 May 2009


Remind me tomorrow if I forget that I REALLY need to tell you about the school display cabinet with Pamela Anderson's floats in. But! For today, it's Prog Rock weekend! Also, I have miscalculated the date of his arrival by a day, not that it matters. It is so wonderful to see him. We laugh all night about my disgusting, repulsive domestic habits. The CFO looks on wearily, stroking the weepette. Later I will update his reading list, which is about 80000 books behind on his usual consumption rates.

As ever, Prog Rock comes bearing gifts.

For the CFO, a CD of the most eardrum torturing modern jazz. It makes me feel nauseous after about 10 seconds. The CFO loves it.

For Lashes, a fart whistle and a kit to build a small meccano style motorbike. Lashes decides to make a robot from it and spends the rest of the evening rapt.

For Fingers, an alien in an egg.

For me, two bags of self-raising flour, a Bettys cake, Heat, Grazia and Easy Living. But most precious, a memory stick with two ancient recordings on it - me aged 2 talking to my mum, and the same for the Space Cadette.

I listened to them this morning with a little trepidation. I wasn't sure if it might be sad, but it's not, really. It's sweet and funny and strange. I have a Yorkshire accent - not sure where that went - and she sounds WAY more Scottish than I remember, and a little Joyce Grenfell. Odd. Touching.

The Crazed Fantasist

M: So was baby Dean at Joanies today?

E: Yes

M: And what did he do?

E: Kicking

M: Anything else?


M: What did Joanie do when he went waa waa?

E: Smacked him

M: Never! What did he have for his lunch?

E: Vitamin C

M: Are you sure? Is that all? Did Dean have anything else but vitamin C for his lunch?

E: Medicine

M: Not a bottle of milk?

E: No, medicine and vitamin C.

Also this:

Plus ça change

M: And what did the three bears have for breakfast?

E: Pudding


M: What did you like best at Granny's?

E: Chocolate

And this one:

If only I had I'd be a damn millionaire

M: So what job are you going to do when you grow up?

E: I'm going to be a plumber.

M: Are you sure? Last week you said you wanted to be a farmer.

E: No, I want to be an engine driver this week

Apart from that, you will be unsurprised to hear we mainly discuss Jammy Dodgers, cake, and chocolate buttons. A shell I have apparently stolen from one of her friends; the topic treated very delicately by my mum ("I spoke to Julia and told her that Emma is very sorry but she seems to have taken her shell by mistake"). And at one point there's a really sweet exchange where I say, graciously, "I like you, Mummy" and she says "I like you too Emma". It was rather lovely. My sister is mainly preoccupied with singing about Little Lord Jesus. I'm not sure quite what happened to that, but then she did go to the crazy speaking in tongues Christian camp with her cousins one year, I suppose.

There was one very peculiar moment, when I had opened another window to write an email with the audio file on in the background and was only half listening, when my mum's voice said "Emma?" in a questioning tone and it was absolutely like she was in the room trying to get my attention. I think I'd listen to it again and again, just for that moment.


daisyduck said...

That is lovely. Showed my own offspring cinefilm of self as a baby and small child recently, and was so moved by the long-ago and far-away of it.. we looked liked people from another age altogher.
Oh God - crying now - one of those days....

daisyduck said...

Soppy tears - not miserable just all moved and mushy...

fabhat said...

How lovely. I spent last weekend visitng my trilogy of favorite girls and the conversations we have are like this. Except the twins two year olds who are obsessed by poo and at dinner told my husband that he had a big poo in his pants, and also one in his mouth and then giggled hysterically. Somewhere in my parents house is a radio show that my siblings and I did when aged 9,6 and 2 respectively, which I'd love to hear again.

The Spicers said...

What a lovely gift.
I haven't had the strength to listen to any recordings of my dad since he died, although I know they're out there. I'm afraid it would crumple me to hear his voice.

Jenny said...

Absolutely perfect presents.His love for you all is so apparent.Have a lovely time together,and I hope Lashes is feeling much better.

Razorkitty said...

How perfect. I think I love prog rock.

Anonymous said...

Goodness what a lovely gift. My father has been dead for 20 years. There is a lot I would give to hear his voice again.

I do have a bottle of his cologne though, and when I've had a particularly trying day I shut myself in the bathroom and take it out and unscrew its cap and breathe it in, and if I shut my eyes I conjure him into being there.

tragicanon said...

what a beautiful present.. the smallest things can mean so much..
i used to phone up mum's answer machine when i felt a bit down, just to hear her chirpy little 'hello!'.. it stopped working a while after - but i still dream sometimes that i can hear her voice and i'm not even the most vivid of dreamers..

G said...

Very sweet. I would love to have a surprise like that fall into my lap.

bevchen said...

That's so touching. What a lovely surprise.

Self raising flour? Waaah! Me wants!

emily said...

awww thats so lovely. you are so lucky to have such memories caught for always.

katyboo1 said...

What a lovely, thoughtful present. Can I have prog rock as my step dad too? He is an angel.

wv is hunkshin. Hmmm. Perhaps a munchkin on steroids.

screamish said...

nice. nice nice nice. I too have that soppy two glasses of wine feeling. Because Ive had two glasses of wine. NEED to MUST find the reel to reel recorded at my Mum's 21st bday party and get it put onto CD before the Queensland mould eats it, and all the machines to play it are gone....

this also reminds me that its 20 years since I left school and the reunions coming up. frightening. I made a video of us all at Grade 12 camp, must find it and blackmail various people...

screamish said...

PS was the jazz free jazz? strange but true, some types of jazz make me almost physically sick too...some frequency thing. someone should do research.

Z said...

Oh blimey darling, I had an almost tearful "I want my mummy" moment at the end of that, but I hadn't had that sort of a mummy for a hell of a long time before she died and I really hardly remember when I did, though I know my subconscious does.

Anyway, you have the very best stepfather in the world, don't you? You're all very lucky to have each other. You so evidently mean the world to him.

GingerB said...

I am weeping for your mum's voice and I never met her . . . it must be that kind of day. Did you scoot Wednesday over to Friday with some sleight of hand wherein you manipulated time? Take your damn Wednesday back and stick it on a tram somewhere. When my step-dad dies I will keep all his ties that I used to get really up close looks at when sitting on his lap with my head buried in his neck.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Emma, you are certainly full of charms and memories today - ProgRock Dad is surely a star for bringing such treasures, and of such memories is really the staff of life... It is, I swear...

I have no recordings of my mum or dad, sadly - We come from a background where that wasn't the norm... I have their voices in my head, but I would pay a fortune to hear them en verite, instead of just in my head, my darling...

You are sad, you are lucky, you have such wonderful family still, and you are storing your memories and thoughts for your boys - And now, I am in tears xxx

WrathofDawn said...

It took years after my mom passed away for me to be able to watch the only video I have of her. Was amazed to realize that I sound exactly like her. (There's a bit were you can hear someone speaking and I thought it was her - the camera pans and, lo and behold! it's me!)

The Christmas after my dad died, his younger brother and wife called to wish me a Merry Christmas. I hadn't realized until that point how much my uncle sounded like my dad. That was a difficult conversation, I can tell you for nothing. It can be very startling to hear a voice you thought you'd never hear again.

How lovely for you to have such a recording. Prog Rock rocks!

The Subtle Rudder said...

That's the best present ever, the distilled essence of kidhood, with a top-note of mom. What a lovely way to have her back in your ear, and yourself, as well, from a time you probably don't remember well, if at all.

I love your posts, but I also enjoy reading your comments--getting hits of spark and personality from all over the globe. You inspire a great ongoing conversation here, and I feel lucky to have found it.

Today's post came at a good time, since it's one of those days of loss and looking back for me, here in the flatlands of Nebraska:

Ali said...

You have made me weep. What a lovely thing for Prog Rock Stepdad to bring you. What a treasure.
Also, can I just say, you are saintly. I would not allow modern jazz in my house. The CFO is very lucky that you are such a tolerant soul.

mothership said...

that last paragraph. Oh! My heart just contracted and I felt quite faint. How hard it must be to listen to it, and also not to listen to it all the time

lisahgolden said...

I love Prog Rock for that memory stick alone. The rest is just frosting on the well-decorated cake.

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ghada said...

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