Saturday, 16 January 2010

My Mum's Encyclopaedias

My OH has always worked shifts, but my Mum could never get the hang of this and she’d phone at all the wrong times for different things.

On night, he was in bed early as he was on early shift the following day and he was just drifting off when the phone went. I happened to be on the landing at the time so I shot in and picked up the phone from beside the bed , hoping he could ignore what I knew was going to be a call from my daft Mum.

“I’m doing a wordsearch puzzle and I just can’t get it. Can you just go through these answers and say if they’re right or not?”

”Okay, but be quick – Nic’s in bed and he’s on earlies in the morning.”

So she went through all the clues and she’d got them all right except for one.

“So does that help?” I asked, sincerely hoping it had.

“Actually, no, it’s made it worse, if anything. The shaded letters don’t make any sense to me, no matter how I juggle them.”

“Well we’ve established the answers are correct. What letters have you got?”

“ O L O X O X B”

Try as I might, the only thing I could get from that was ‘OXBOLOX’ which to my knowledge went straight to video……

Of course by now, Nic’s and I are wide awake trying to conjecture what was going on up on my Mum’s planet..

“Be prepared to go straight to your Mum’s as soon as I get home tomorrow – I want to see this puzzle!” announced my bog-eyed hubby.

So we went straight round, with all the kids, the next day at 4:00pm.

“Let’s see this puzzle Mum, “ said my OH.

“Oh there’s a good prize and if I win it, I’ll give it to you,” says Mum, “it’s no good to me, it’s the Guinness book of science.”

As usual the telly was blaring, so I motioned for her to turn it down which, grudgingly, she did.

“Why don’t you want it?” my OH stupidly asked.

“Oh I have those…” she waved hr arm expansively in the direction of the ancient book-case in the corner of the room. Upon it, in their customary place, as they had been for all of my life, were the ‘Book of Knowledge’ encyclopaedias. “I‘ve got everything I need from those books…”

“….except film-names…” I heard my eldest quip ‘soto voce’.

“… go on, ask me something..!” she insisted.

No-one spoke, not wanting to be the one to cause the mayhem that was bound to follow.

Nic must have been feeling either brave or foolhardy whan he muttered “Okay, who discovered Australia?”

The room went silent. “Ooooh I know this, just give me a minute….”

A few ‘ooh’s and ‘aaahs’ later is was clear she was struggling so I whispered “Captain Cook.” close to her ear, although everyone but her knew I’d done it.

“…that’s it, I’ve remembered! CAPTAIN HOOK!” and she beamed a big triumphant smile.

No-one could burst her bubble, so, rocking with suppressed giggles (kids too) we tried to be polite.

“I know all about religion too!” she continued. “Jesus wasn’t the first Christian you know …”

This was wandering into dangerous territory. There was only so much laughter a person can suppress without having some sort of an epiphany….

“…when I was working and I travelled a lot there was always, in the drawer in the hotel rooms, this book written by a man called Gideon. I used to read it!” and she nodded to emphasize the fact.

Dad, seeing the hot water she was getting us into, tried to change the subject and brought up the subject of politics. In hindsight, possibly not the best subject at the time.

Nic & Dad bantered points of view about the Irish Question and Dad brought up my Mum’s sister who lived in America who used to pay ‘Irish Money’ and the debate was did that go towards the IRA for terrorism. Despite the subject matter, this banter wasn’t being taken entirely seriously as it was only meant to distract, which it did as Mum had gone back to watching ‘Hector’s House’ – funny in itself as it was a kiddies programme.

Then Dad said “There’s your Jean ….”

Mum instantly sat up, turned round and peered out of the window to the garden. “Where?”

Hubby and I just looked at each other and recognised matching panic in each other’s eyes….

How we managed to make our excuses and leave is beyond me! I only remember driving about 100 yards down the road and having to stop because I couldn’t see for the tears of laughter.

Oh, and the movie title from the original puzzle? It was BATMAN!

My daft as a brush mother had not read the instructions properly. You were meant to shuffle the answers around on the grid until the title appeared in the greyed out boxes………..


  1. Just back from a week long trip to NY and catching up with all my blog buddies. Love the new tales! Your mother really was quite a pip! hugs, eisey

  2. My Mum was many things, a 'pip' being only one of them....!

  3. What great stories Eileen!

    I have something for you here to share.


    Jo. (hope you are a bit better again now)

  4. Awww...Jo! Thank you so much! I foud it on your blog before I came here.
    What a lovely award - I will wear it with pride!