Every now and then I search Amazon for old books. Not first editions – If only! But books I remember reading in my teens and 20s and want to read again. I found an old science fiction book in a tiny bookshop one time and I’ve had luck online.
But this one book evades me. I think it was called something like “things my mother never told me”. Unfortunately there are a fair few versions of that title, none right. I still remember the book though as the simple premise was that we don’t know what we don’t know. That is, it’s easy to make assumptions which are entirely wrong.
The author mentions that, right into her 20s she hated having a bath. She could never work out why people loved bathing and spent hours in there. She was in and out as fast as she could. Until one day she forgot to lock the door and her flatmate walked in on her. Cue much embarrassment. But the discussion that followed was enlightening. She never enjoyed bathing because, as a child, her mother had always sat her at the plug end.
So I thought I’d give you a few examples of things I wish my mother had told me. It’s too late to save myself but who knows, they might save you some pain …
Chin hairs are like a suspension bridge. No really they are …
To begin with – she could have warned me about the chin hairs from hell. I thought being fair haired meant that it wouldn’t happen to me. Wrong. We all end up with them ladies, so let’s cut to the chase.
They say that the painters on the Forth Road bridge are never finished. As soon as they get to the end, they have to start again. It’s the same with chin hairs. They have the consistency of wire and they go on forever. In other words, you are never going to catch up. You’ll start at one side and pluck (or wax or shave) until you think they’ve all gone but you’ll be wrong. A tiny, scratchy chin hair will elude your grasp. Even if you do manage to get every single one, waxing and plucking till your hand spasms – then you’ll wake up the next morning with a new one. It’s a fact of life. You just have to live with it …
Toilet brushes are the work of Satan
They just are. I was brought up in a household with toilet brushes. It was the 70s. I think was compulsory.
So – Satan’s implement. Ask Kim and Aggie of “How Clean is your House?” fame. They – the brushes that is – harbour bacteria in bucketloads and just cannot be properly cleaned. So every time you swish around with one of them, you’re basically spreading their contents back where you want it to be clean. Then they go back to their lair to let the bacteria mature.
Kim and Aggie advocate bunging on your rubber gloves, grabbing an old sponge or scourer and getting stuck in there. It works just as well and the sponge or cloth can be thrown away, so it doesn’t sit in it’s own germs, festering. Did I mention my OCD…?
Fried mince is not cordon blue cookery
Mum was a great baker but a dreadful cook, bless her. She made mince – an otherwise wonderful dish – by frying it in a substantial chunk of beef dripping and then adding water and a teaspoon of Bisto powder. In an ancient house without the benefit of central heating or double glazing, it would cool rapidly on the plate – forming a semi solid layer of fat that could be scraped off to the side.
I’m not entirely sure how I survived to adulthood but at least I learned to bake en route!
So how many of you had the “joy” of a quirky childhood? Tell me all …