Saturday, 30 July 2011

Scene 17: Aunty Margaret Speaks

We move forward almost one year from our previous vignette of sorrow and heartbreak.  The world is much changed. These are dark and unsettling times: there have been earthquakes and volcanoes,  a Conservative/ Liberal alliance now governs the land with a clammy and sinister grip,  M&S has discontinued Miss Underscore's favourite £20 ballet pumps and Hetty the lurcher's anal glands have been giving her perpetal gyp.

In our next scene Miss Underscore visits octogenarian pit-bull in a hairnet, Aunty Margaret.  Brace yourself for plenty of straight-talking and gratuitous scenes of Mr Kipling mainlining.

Miss U: I don't understand it, I live in a lovely, leafy, middle class suburb of Sunderland.  I seem to have a break-in every month.  Yet, when I lived in terraced slums, surrounded by teenage mothers and crack addict dole-hounds I never had a bit of bother.

Aunty M: (harrumphing disapprovingly) We didn't have teenage mums in my day.

Miss U: What, none at all Aunty Margaret?

Aunty M: (sipping tea) Oh yes,  we had their sort.  (scoffing) We didn't call them 'teenage mums' though.  That we did not!  No, we called them SLUTS!  Speaking of which, come on Miss Underscore, any men on the scene at the moment?

Miss U:  Oh, there was a possibility, I met him online.  A fireman from Scotland.  Well, actually, he is practically in charge of the whole Scottish fire service.  He earns more than the Prime Minister.  He mentions that fact frequently.

Aunty M: (narrowing her gimlet eyes)  What's wrong with him?  I can tell you're not too sure.

Miss U: (counting off negatives on her fingers) Well, he specified he is looking for a woman between the ages of 20-30.  He, however, is 51.  He drives a Porsche.  He apparently has a bathroom stocked with Jo Malone and Aveda products. (She notices Aunty Margaret's puzzled expression) Posh Vosene Aunty Margaret.  £50 a bottle Head and Shoulders.  Luxury beauty products, all handmade in Switzerland, brewed with the tears of rosy-cheeked Alpine shepherdesses, the milk of celestial unicorns and crushed orchid petals.  That kind of thing.  It's not right though is it?  No man of the male gender should own more beauty products than his girlfriend.

Aunty M:(shuddering) CERTAINLY NOT!  It's a wonder that the whole of Scotland hasn't burnt to a crisp with that SORT in charge of the fire service.  He'd be putting mascara on while Edinburgh burned.

Miss U: I expect he may have had Botox. He looked rather smooth-skinned and seemed to have the same startled expression in every photo.

Aunty M: All a man needs is a bar of soap. Maybe the occasional rub down with some surgical spirit and course sandpaper.  Do you know him next door?  He has hair straighteners apparently.  HAIR STRAIGHTENERS.  By Vidal Sassoon.  I told his mum, the only hand-held electrical devices a man should own are from Black and Decker.  (tutting) VIDAL SASSOON.  Liberace more like.

Miss U: The worst thing about the fireman was that he said that he didn't let his officers rescue kittens stuck up trees anymore.  It's against Health and Safety, apparently.

Aunty M: (roaring) HEALTH AND SAFETY!  They are firemen!  Does he even let them fight fires? Heaven forbid they might chip a nail extending their hoses.

Miss U: (sighing) I want to live in a world where firemen still rescue kittens from trees. And where cheerful policemen help old ladies cross the road.  And where kindly, white-hairded doctors battle through snowy dales at midnight to deliver chubby babies to farmers' wives.

Aunty M: (matter of factly) A policeman offered to help me across the road with my shopping trolley last week.

Miss U: Aww, that's nice.

Aunty M: I told him to beggar off!  His eyes were too close together. (shuddering) He had the look of a young Rasputin.  

Miss U: So, the fireman was not for me.  Although I am still in touch with him.  I keep bombarding him with links to the Sunderland Echo website.  Stories where Tyne and Wear firemen selflessly rescue animals in distress.  There's been loads of them.  A swan up a chimney last week.  A pony with its hoof trapped in a cattle-grid.  A Siamese cat down a man hole yesterday.   Oh, and my favourite, a Great Dane trapped in an Iceland shopping trolley floating down the River Wear.

Aunty M: Just as it should be.  I don't pay my taxes for firemen to sit around giving each other bikini waxes and facials.  What about the other man Miss Underscore? Weren't you going out to afternoon tea with some accountant?

Miss U: Oh yes!  He was lovely.  I though he was anyway.  He was a financial advisor. He seemed very normal and decent. 

Aunty M: (putting her head to one side, like an eager bird regarding a worm) Well . . well. . . what happened?

Miss U: (nibbling a cherry bakewell)  Oh, I LOVE afternoon tea.  There is nothing I love more than to be surrounded by home-baked cakes and waitresses in lacy aprons.  I love the chink of teaspoons against porcelain teacups.  But for a first date?  It was a bit of a effeminate choice. . .it was a bit . . .  

Aunty M: (triumphantly) LIBERACE!

Miss U:  YES!  I mean, even if he turned up and was a surly, tattooed thug in a vest.  Even if he was Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire.  Even if he stripped off and threw me across the table and ravaged me amidst the parkin and the cucumber sandwiches. . . even then. . . I'd still think of him as being a bit gay for suggesting afternoon tea in the first place.

Aunty M: So, you didn't go?

Miss U: No.  But that wasn't the reason I didn't go.  I Googled him before the date.

Aunty M:  (disgustedly) You did what to him?

Miss U: I looked him up on the internet.  (shaking her head) I REALLY shouldn't have done that.  I learnt a few things that were just UNFORGIVABLE.

Aunty M: Such as what?

Miss U:  Firstly, he had lied about his age.  He was 50.  He claimed to be 44.  You know, it wouldn't have bothered me that he was 50.  It bothered me that he lied about it.  

Aunty M: The bounder! False accounting!

Miss U:  The next discovery was even worse.  He had signed up to this dodgy, specialist dating website.  Incredibly he had done this using his real name and location.  

Aunty M: (fascinated) What kind of website?

Miss U: A Russian bride website.  I checked it out, God, it was tawdry.  Middled aged British men desperate to be hooked up with gorgeous, teenage Russian girls. All those beautiful, Bardot-esque, long-limbed 18 year olds, their whole lives ahead of them, sold like cattle to 58 year old supermarket managers from Barnsley.  I couldn't have met him after learning that.  

Aunty M:(shaking her head)  Eeeee, Miss Underscore, it's always fascinating talking to you.  Wait till the girls at bingo hear about this.  Oh, I forgot to tell you, your Uncle Stan has set his flat cap at a lady. A church-going lady.  You know, Myrtle Maplethorpe?  

Miss U: Yes, she's the one with the three legged guide dog isn't she? Really, I didn't think Uncle Stan had it in him?

Aunty M: Stan'll get nowhere with Myrtle.  You mark my words.  That woman's got a wandering spleen, a pacemaker, rising damp and two artificial hips.  The last thing she wants is to be fighting off a doddery old fool like him.  He can wear his cravats till the cows come home.  Won't turn her head.

There is a pause while the ladies select another cake and settle comfortably into the darkening room.

Aunty M:  Myrtle says she's got Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  She's quite 'with it' like that really. Her security light is solar powered.  In my day there was no such thing as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. No.  We had wind.  And were proud of it.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome!  Any other news Miss Underscore?

Miss U: (pause)  I've heard quite a bit from Rochester recently.

Aunty M: (looking like a Jack Russell, ready to sink its teeth into a juicy ankle) WHAT!  That heathen?  That . . . that . . . snake in the grass?  I thought he'd gone back to his wife?

Miss U: He has, he has.  He was up North the other week and wanted to meet up.

Aunty M: (turning purple with fury) WHAT!  Don't you DARE my girl.  He's probably in cahoots with that burger-flipping, black cape wearing nut-job of a brother.  They are up to no good. They're no better than they ought to be.

Miss U: I said no.  It was a school night anyway.  And it was late when he texted.  Half past nine.  I was already in bed.  

Aunty M: (frothing at the mouth) DEAR GOD!  What kind of dirty, immoral, heathen of a man wants to meet up with a LADY at half past nine? Heaven help us.  

Miss U: I said it was too late.  He sent another text at midnight, asking if he could come over. 

Aunty M: (so animated that she in danger of losing control of her false teeth) COME OVER! AT MIDNIGHT! Oh, he's the devil incarnate.  

Miss U: Apparently he is loaded now.  He's got some sort of a job in sales.  He won't say what it is.  He has to wear suits.  And ties. And CUFFLINKS.  He drives a BMW.  I can't imagine Rochester in a suit.  Or in a BMW.  Or even in a job, to be honest.

Aunty M:(narrowing her eyes)   He'll be lying.  He's too busy propping up bars and chatting up hussies to have a proper job.  What is he claiming to sell?

Miss U:  I don't know, that is what is driving me mad.  I have guessed everything: windows, conservatories, advertising, utilities. I even wondered if it was pegs, door to door, possibly whilst wearing a neckerchief knotted around his neck, like a Geordie David Essex.  He denies everything. 

Aunty M: I bet it is pegs.  All those bored housewives . . .

Miss U: I thought the same.  Bouffanted, middle-class housewives in negliges.  A louche but charming Geordie salesman. It's a 1970s sex comedy in the making.  I don't see how selling pegs could make a man's fortune though.  Pay for a BMW.  Plus, he seems to do most of his sales at night.  It's very odd.  

Aunty M: Well, I wouldn't open the door to the likes of him.  Not even in my housecoat.  (crossing her arms furiously)   You shouldn't encourage him.  What are you doing even talking to the scoundrel?

Miss U: I know I shouldn't.  I know.  He makes me laugh.  I can't switch off from him.  He wants to meet up.  I know I shouldn't.  I would love to though.

Aunty M:  And his wife?

Miss U:  He is still with his wife.  They live together.  There's something else though, something he says he'll talk about when we meet, 'face to face'.

Aunty M:  FACE TO FACE!!!    I know his kind of 'face to face'.  For 'face to face' read HORIZONTAL.  I have a terrible feeling about this, Miss Underscore.  It will all end in tears; you mark my words.


  1. Aunty M rules! There are the Greek seers of Antiquity and then there are great-aunts, direct descendants of the knitting ladies beneath the guillotine.

    Can I join her fan-club, please?

    - somehow your Rogue pales against all other persons in your saga, such great personalities with one-liners that make our day. What an actor camp we shall experience when their roles are cast! I am already lusting for your next chapter:-)

    Louise xx

  2. Typical Northeast male grooming routine (well, the one I'm married to and his mates anyway): shave, shower, soap, deodorant. Just as it should be.

  3. Louise, Aunty Margaret would be thrilled and bemused in equal measure to think she had a fan, let alone a fan club. Next installment soon. And thank you. xxx

    Nicky: totally agree. Ideally not too much of the shaving. xxx

  4. I adore Aunty Margaret; her previously reported phrase "I wouldn't trust him with a bonny dog" pops into my head on occasion.

    I do remember a friend who works in John Lewis beauty hall in Newcastle asking my husband about his cleansing/moisturising "regime" I put him out his misery by telling her that "We're having a good day if he remembers to wash his face" Something of an exaggeration, played for a laugh, but not very far off the mark.

  5. Aunty might be a bit of a scoundrel herself!

  6. You should come down here to sunny NZ, where men are men and sheep are afraid.

    OUR firemen will stop at nothing (except perhaps to have a quick Mince and Cheese pie and a pint) before rescuing any sort of animal in a tree.

    There was a story recently of them rescuing a Wallaby stuck up a Rimu tree. I know that marsupials of any sort are not native to NZ, but the bloody Aussies keep on coming over here and getting lost.

    Mind you it might have been a big possum, the Firemen having on this occasion stopped for more than one pint methinks.

    Regarding the 50ish Businessmanwho said he was 40 (the cad) disgraceful; even if he didn't ravish you amongst the Parkins and Fairy Cakes. (Ehh, if you have the URL of that Russian bridette site, could you post it?)

    Lastly, Rochester seems to be getting even stranger. Perhaps he's selling Double-Glazing, or Conservatories or even Sex-Toy demonstrations. Ahah, maybe that's why he wanted you to go over so late at night, his Blousy Blonde sleazed-out Southern model not being available?

    God forbid, he may even have degenerated to selling Stair-Lifts to the legions of Thora Hird lookalikes that infest most of the North.

    To quote Rowan Atkinson: "I wouldn't trust him to sit the right way on a toilet"

  7. Just for you TSB, the website was called Visitors are greeted with an incredibly cheesy video.

  8. Thank you Miss, it not for me you understand,*strangled cough* but for TwistedScottishBastardTheYounger, who seems to find it hard to make the aquaintance of ladies of the female gender.

    Maybe it's something to do with his appearance. He has a pierced earlobe and tattooed forearm showing a delightfully rendered image of the Mexican Day of the Dead with the addition of a Chinese script which he was told meant "May the Lord Bless You" but which really says "I've got a Bastard of a Cold"

    BTW Naina, 23, from Kishinev, Moldova looks quite sweet. Bet she's buttered a few Parkins.