Tuesday, 27 September 2016


I've lived in many houses over the years, but there's one in which I stayed for around only 15 months back in 1964 and '65.  Curiously, it doesn't seem, in retrospect, that I lived there for any less duration than houses I inhabited for longer periods, despite the fact that I had only one Christmas and two birthdays in the place.  And even then, the second birthday (my 7th) fell on the day we flitted to another house, so I tend to associate that cheerful event more with my new abode than the old one.

That information doesn't have much to do with the tale I'm now about to relate, apart from the fact that it transpired in my short-term domicile mentioned above.  (Just setting the scene in my mind.)  As I type, it occurs to me that I may have already recounted this story, but I'll persevere anyway as, even if I have, it's bound to be new to some of you.

If I remember correctly, #41 was the 'doubler' I bought on the night...
but I had #42 at the same time.  I maybe even bought them together

My parents were out one night (not a common event), and an aunt had been drafted in to look after me and my brother.  In an act of generosity, she gave us two bob each, and we ran around the corner to CHAMBERS newsagent and spent it.  If I recall correctly, I bought another copy of an issue of TV21 which I'd already had and disposed of (I was fascinated by its pristine newness and indulged myself), and me and my bruv each bought a tube of BRITFIX 77, a polystyrene 'cement' for plastic model kits, as it always paid to be prepared. 

(Anyone remember Britfix 77?  It was 'THE' glue of the '60s it seemed, and I'm not exactly sure when it disappeared. I think I've still got a later tube tucked away somewhere, but the 77 had been dropped by this time, and the design on the tube was different.  It was made by HUMBROL.)

Anyway, we returned to the house to survey our spoils.  I snapped the tip off the end of my glue's nozzle and put in a pin, the customary method used for resealing the tube to prevent the glue drying up or leaking.  As this was also what my sibling usually did ('twas he who showed me), I did the same for his tube, thinking I was being helpful.  He took exception to my act of consideration and flew into a temper tantrum, throwing the glue on the carpet and stamping on it.  The result of this was to expel the contents of the tube directly onto my aunt's black velvety ankle boots, newly acquired not too long before.

Understandably, being a mere woman (sexist?  Moi?), she got all emotional and started crying, squealing about the ruination of her fancy footwear.  "On, my new boots, my new boots!" she wailed over and over.  "It was Gordon's fault!" my brother blurted, somewhat disingenuously.  She eventually calmed down, but my parents had to reimburse her for the cost of the boots (a fiver).  However, perhaps because she'd been so emotional at the time of the incident, she only seemed to remember my brother's attribution of the 'accident' to me (though I was quick to offer the correct account of events), and it was his version which was relayed to my parents.

I recall this page from #41 because I cut out the figure
of Steve.  Handy thing having a spare issue, eh?

Some time later, while visiting my gran (my aunt's mother obviously), she referred to 'my' crime of ruining the boots, so obviously it was believed by other members of the family that I'd been the perpetrator of that particular infraction, not my brother.  Whether they thought I'd been the one who stamped on the glue, or were simply holding me accountable because they considered my act of removing the tip (but resealing the tube, remember) as the provocation for my brother's outburst, I couldn't say with any certainty.  Not that it matters much as, either way, I was blamed for something I hadn't actually done.

Consequently, I always detected a certain amount of antipathy towards me from that set of relatives, who never seemed to quite take to me.  They appeared to think the world of my bruv though, but then again, he always was an ingratiating little 'sook' when it came to currying their favour, whereas I didn't actually give a fig whether they liked me or not.

Still feel the same way actually - as do they.  25-odd years later, two other aunts (not the one with the boots) 'phoned my mother, but didn't immediately hang up at their end when the conversation finished.  The answerphone was on in case anybody from IPC called me about work, as my parents found it hard to make out English accents on the other end of the 'phone, and often forgot to pass on messages anyway.  The answering machine continued to record, and what followed was a vicious, vitriolic, slanderous diatribe about me between the two aunts, which I still have on tape to this day.

Remind me to tell you the details on a future occasion.  It really is a shocker.

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