The Book of Gran
Hello readers, I’m Gran, the star of Tracy’s Celebrity Hotmail, according to GransFans.com; an Intyweb fan-page thingy that Tracy set up to stop me getting too many pervy phone calls and photos of men’s willies in the post. I didn’t mind the pervy phone calls actually, but I expect to be paid for taking them and I have to admit, I quite liked the willy pics. I was going to set up a Granny chat, sex line but then I found out that some wrinkly old slapper had beaten me to it.
I wish we’d had the Intyweb when I was younger, I’d have been cyber-sexting all over the place. All we had back then was pen and paper, if we wanted to be sexy we wrote, SWALK on the back of the envelope. SWALK was an acronym for Sealed With A Loving Kiss. I always preferred NORWICH myself. (Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home).
I wasn’t always called Gran. That’s just the name my daughter and granddaughter know me by. My useless tosser of a son-in-law knows me by lots of different names, evil old bag, being the most popular. I’ve got a lot of pet names for him too, none of which I’d be cruel enough to actually name a pet with. My favourite at the moment is, wankspittle.
In the Post Office queue, I’m known as, Mrs, Ramsbottom, or, that miserable old witch, depending whether the person talking about me thinks they are within earshot or not. I once told an old duffer who was trying to chat me up that my name was Deirdre Dungworthy. When that didn’t put him off I stopped the conversation going any further by kneeing him in the nuts.
My maiden name was Potter, Gladys Potter, though all my childhood friends called me Pansy Potter after the character in the Beano. Pansy Potter was the daughter of a strongman and had exceptional strength herself. I wasn’t particularly strong, but I could fight as well as anyone on our street and I wasn’t afraid to use my teeth and nails. I preferred fighting against the boys. They didn’t hit me as hard or try to kick me between the legs because I was a girl and it wouldn’t be fair. It didn’t stop me doing it to them though. As the saying goes, all’s fair in love or war.
People don’t know they’re born these days. I hear them in the Post Office queue whinging about how crap life is today. How you can’t get a decent plumber, how little Bartek only got a D in Maths because British teachers are so crap, how long they had to wait for their doctor’s appointment… the whinges go on and on. It’s got so bad that I don’t even get the chance to complain about my bowels any more. I’ve suffered with bowel problems all my life. My flatule gland is the talk of the doctor’s surgery. I blame the powdered egg and endless tins of Spam we were forced to eat during the war.
I was born during the great depression. It was called the great depression because everyone was depressed. Life was shit back then. There was no work, no food, no TV, no Intyweb and no NHS. If you got poorly back then, you either got better or you died. Medicine hadn’t been invented yet.
Back then we lived in a damp, rotting, rat infested house that the Anglo Saxons would have put on the demolition list. Our house was so bad that the rent man used to give my parents a full refund every Friday. Cockroaches steadfastly refused to live in our house, so we had to go to Aunt Mabel’s across the road if we fancied a crunchy treat.
I was pushed, kicking and screaming into this world on 31October 1931. I weighed just 4lbs 2oz which was classed as a healthy weight back then. Because of my birthdate, my mum used to call me, my little witch. Dad used to call me his little liability because I was their ninth child and they could only afford to feed one. Dad had been unemployed since the great strike of 1926. He hadn’t actually been on strike, but he got both his legs broken when he took a striker’s job for a week and the striker found out. Once mum’s milk dried up I was fed on mashed potato, mashed tripe or mashed cockroach if Aunt Mabel had any to spare. Nowadays there are lots of obese people about, but back then, if you saw one, you used to try to beg from them because they were almost certainly well to do. There was a woman just up the road from us who looked like a young Queen Victoria. Dad used to joke about killing her and putting her carcass on the cold shelf. He reckoned she’d keep us going for months. I think he was joking, he always licked his lips when he caught site of her. Maybe he just fancied big women.
In 1933, two major events occurred that were to have a life changing effect on me. Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and my mother got pregnant again. The news of the pregnancy was too much for Dad, he ran away with an obese tattooed lady from a travelling fair. Mum didn’t seem to miss him, we gained lots of ‘uncles’ after he went, but most of them only stayed for half an hour or so, and none of them bought us birthday presents.
By 1939 that lightweight, pansy, Neville Chamberlain had declared both, peace in our time, and war with Germany. He was quickly replaced by Winston Churchill, a fat man with a fat cigar who sounded like his voice box had been scrubbed with a Brillo pad. Mr Churchill quickly became our parents and teacher’s best friend. Whenever we questioned an order or instruction we’d get the reply, ‘because, Mr Churchill, says so.’ I never did fully understand why he insisted that I get into a freezing cold hip-bath full of the scummy water that my other eight siblings had recently vacated, but who was I to argue? He made all the rules back then.
The war started a month or so before my eight birthday. An instruction was sent out that all children of school age were to be evacuated to the country. I don’t think the letters were ever delivered to our street because none of us were evacuated. We stayed to fight the Germans. I can still see us now, hanging out in our den, or the air raid siren hut, as it was better known. There was me, Fat Ernie, Tin ribs, Rickets, Ada Starbuck, One Eyed Harold, (named after the king who lost at Hastings,) Annie Parsons, (who was actually a vicar’s daughter,) Muscles Malone. Pongy Phil, (my older brother,) and Fritz. We called ourselves The Brick Street Gang, we were fearless, patriotic and proud, and Hitler would never have tried to invade had he known we were waiting to take him on.