Have you ever been embarrassed by your parents? When Joseph was a teenager he would refuse to actually walk with me and Jill in the street “in case his mates saw us.” How silly is that? And I don’t see why he should have been embarrassed by me and Jill dancing in the road at a street festival in Holland, either. He should have been proud of his step-dad. When I hoisted his mum over my head and did the splits at the same time it produced a huge cheer and applause from the crowd that had gathered around us. I was quite upset when he ran away instead of staying to help his mum carry me to the hospital. So you would think that, as a grown-up, I’d no longer be embarrassed by my parents.
But Jill and I decided to take my eighty-year-old mother for a drive in the country. It was a lovely sunny Saturday in June. We drove through the village of Northiam and saw that the local school was having a fete.
“Shall we have a look round?” I asked.
“Ooh, yes,” said Mum, “that would be nice.”
So we did. We had a go on the bottle stall and Jill won a small jar of salad cream. Then we bought a spider plant from the plant stall and watched a display of falconry.
Unfortunately the falcon man hadn’t turned up but the resourceful school decided to go ahead anyway.
Several teachers had each painted the picture of a bird of prey on a shoe box, and tied the box to their arm with a piece of string. Then each one took a turn of throwing the box up in the air while we had to imagine that it was a real bird, wheeling through the sky, and swooping on a sparrow.
The falcon I imagined was easily the best. It did somersaults and finished its display by swooping through a hoop of fire upside down.
So, Mum, Jill and me were walking around the school field enjoying the fete when a band started paying. It was the east Sussex All-Comers Ukulele and Trumpet band. They were brilliant. They played Take That’s greatest hits.
That was when my mum got embarrassing. She grabbed my hands and shouted out, really loudly, “let’s have a little dance!” then she started going round in circles, taking me with her, and every so often punching the air and whooping. An eighty-year old whooping woman dancing to Shine is not a pretty sight.
It was very, very embarrassing. The only good thing about it was that Jill went round with the hat and managed to collect seven pounds 63p. So we all treated ourselves to an ice cream and Mum bought another spider plant to keep the first one company.