I've lived in many houses over the years, but there's one in
which I stayed for around only 15 months back in 1964 and '65.
Curiously, it doesn't seem, in retrospect, that I lived there for any
less duration than houses I inhabited for longer periods, despite the
fact that I had only one Christmas and two birthdays in the place.
And even then, the second birthday (my 7th) fell on the day we
flitted to another house, so I tend to associate that cheerful
event more with my new abode than the old one.
I'm now about to relate, apart from the fact that it transpired in
my short-term domicile mentioned above. (Just setting the scene
in my mind.) As I type, it occurs to me that I may have already
recounted this story, but I'll persevere anyway as, even if I
have, it's bound to be new to some of you.
|If I remember correctly, #41 was the 'doubler' I bought on the night...|
but I had #42 at the same time. I maybe even bought them together
an aunt had been drafted in to look after me and my brother. In
an act of generosity, she gave us two bob each, and we ran around
the corner to CHAMBERS newsagent and spent it. If I recall cor-
rectly, I purchased another copy of an issue of TV21 which I'd al-
ready had and disposed of (I was fascinated by its pristine newness
and indulged myself), and me and my sibling each bought a tube
of BRITFIX 77, a polystyrene 'cement' for plastic model
kits, as it always paid to be prepared.
'60s it seemed, and I'm not exactly sure when it disappeared. I
think I've still got a later tube tucked away somewhere, but the
77 had been dropped by this time, and the design on the tube
was different. It was made by HUMBROL.)
snapped the tip off the end of my glue's nozzle and put in a pin,
the customary method used for resealing the tube to prevent the
glue drying up or leaking. As this was also what my sibling usually
did ('twas he who showed me), I did the same for his tube, thinking
I was being helpful. He took exception to my act of consideration
and flew into a temper tantrum, throwing the glue on the carpet
and stamping on it. The result of this was to expel the contents
of the tube directly onto my aunt's black velvety ankle
boots, newly acquired not too long before.
she got all emotional and started crying, squealing about the
ruination of her fancy footwear. "On, my new boots, my new
boots!" she wailed over and over. "It was Gordon's fault!" my
brother blurted, somewhat disingenuously. She eventually calmed
down, but my parents had to reimburse her for the cost of the boots
(a fiver). However, perhaps because she'd been so emotional at the
time of the incident, she only seemed to remember my brother's
attribution of the 'accident' to me (although I was quick to offer
the correct account of events), and it was his version
which was relayed to my parents.
|I recall this page from #41 because I cut out the figure|
of Steve. Handy thing having a spare issue, eh?
obviously), she referred to 'my' crime of ruining the boots, so
obviously it was believed by other members of the family that I'd
been the perpetrator of that particular infraction, not my brother.
Whether they thought I'd been the one who stamped on the glue, or
were simply holding me accountable because they considered my
act of removing the tip (but resealing the tube, remember) as the
provocation for my brother's outburst, I couldn't say with any
certainty. Not that it matters much as, either way, I was
blamed for something I hadn't actually done.
Consequently, I always detected a certain amount of antip-
athy towards me from that set of relatives, who never seemed
to quite take to me. They appeared to think the world of my bruv
'though, but then again, he always was an ingratiating little 'sook'
when it came to currying their favour, whereas I didn't actually
give a fig whether they liked me or not.
later, two other aunts (not the one with the boots) 'phoned my
mother, but didn't immediately hang up at their end when the con-
versation finished. The answerphone was on in case anybody from
IPC called me about work, as my parents found it hard to make out
English accents on the other end of the 'phone, and often forgot to
pass on messages anyway. The answering machine continued to
record, and what followed was a vicious, vitriolic, slanderous
diatribe about me between the two aunts, which I still
have on tape to this day.
Remind me to tell you the details on a
future occasion. It really is a shocker.