We were taught that it was rude to whistle in public. Women were not allowed to whistle along to their favourite tune. My merriment would be met by a stern look or a clip around the earhole. Stand in a field and whistle for the dog, or the yard and whistle for your dad’s attention, that was fine, but to whistle in public was another of the sins that I grew up with.
My brother on the other hand can whistle but can’t carry a tune, for heaven’s sake he thinks that Lonnie Donegan is the greatest singer on Earth. Yesterday I fell in love with my brother all over again. Not in a creepy way, but in that way that makes you proud to be a sister.
There are those moments in life when you are reminded that you do love people. When your daughter sends you a gift unprompted, not because it’s your birthday, or Christmas but just because she can. Those times when you sit in the car and look at your husband and feel as though you are the luckiest woman alive, not because he’s done anything, just because he is there with you when you need him. When your brother whistles across a car park and the whole World looks at him with admiration, and you think, yer, he’s with me.
We were out for the day, I’m visiting at the moment. I’m going to go home with a suntan and a scatty dog. She’s been let off the leash all weekend. I’ve had to do a lot of whistling. Last night she rolled in from the fields and I have no idea what she had been doing but she was really excited and full of life. Yesterday we visited the Seaside for fish and chips and donuts. It was a beautiful day. I came home and suffered from sunstroke, sickened and burnt with a headache. The dog was shattered and mithering with the runs, and my brother came home and slept. Despite that, it was a good day out. We were just heading towards the car, three weary chisits, when a young man feebly whistled to a friend, who had no chance of hearing the pathetic rendition of a wolf call. His other friend’s effort was even wimpier. From nowhere came the ringing out of the loudest most harmonious whistle you have ever heard. There next to me a man in his sixties stood proud with his fingers to his lips. Everyone turned, and I stood even straighter with pride. I felt like shouting out, “That’s my brother, he did that, isn’t he great?”
The young men turned, “Do it again.”
He did, and this time everyone stopped to watch. Bowing out gracefully, I gave Alan the audience.
It was only a whistle, I hear you cry. No, it wasn’t. It was a reminder of all the things that an uneducated farm boy can do that a city boy can’t, strip a tractor engine and rebuild it in a day, whittle a walking stick, smooth and beautiful, skin a rabbit for the pot. I spend hours talking to Mark about strange and weird and wonderous things. Yesterday on the phone we had a conversation on the brains of Lobsters. I mean did you know that they are able to dissolve their own brain and grow another one to change the chemical compounds that they produce, incredible isn’t it. If you are a neuroscientist it’s also a useful piece of research into the serotonine levels needed to keep you happy. But Mark doesn’t know which way to cut a hedge so that it grows thicker, and Alan believes that Aliens live among us causing havoc.
Oh no I’ve just thought, Mark is doing the garden whilst I’m away!
Interlude: Last week I complimented Mark and he was big headed about it for days, so I’m back to mocking his faults.
I love my family, for all their foibles, take Alan for instance, he’s a real bugger at times. We like to play the, he’s not my husband game, which is quite funny. Looking at some pretty dresses on the market stall I picked one up and stated that I really liked it. “What for?” Alan asked.
“To wear.” I replied with sarcasm.
“What with jeans?”
“No Alan, on its own, knickerless!”
A group of women turned and smiled. One with tattoos down her arm laughed.
“He doesn’t like me showing off my legs,” I told her.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because I have a tattoo all the way down my right leg.”
Alan whinged, “Bloody horrible thing.”
We got into a conversation about tattoo’s and as soon as Alan deemed it necessary to take notice he realised that we were in fact talking to a heavily tattooed group of women. Outnumbered he backed down, stating that it was only his opinion and that each had the right to do as they wished.
“It’s Okay,” I stated, “my husband likes them, and I’m going home tomorrow.”
The looks were precious and we left it there as I linked arms with my brother and wondered off. Now I don’t care if strangers think I’m having an affair, and it can be quite funny. People that don’t know Alan that well get a shock, and more than once the rumour has got back to him that he has a lady friend. What I can’t understand is why people will automatically assume that if there are two people of the opposite sex together they are a couple.
I sat and watched the couples that day. The young with their children. The younger ones out on dates to the Seaside, some traditions never die. The older ones, arm in arm and reminiscing and the grumpy ones. Trust me there were a few of them. I just can’t understand it. If you don’t want to be together then do us all a favour stay at home There is nothing worse than having to sit next to a couple that obviously want to be anywhere else but together. Not for them the moment of pure delight as their partner does something stupid that makes them love them even more. Like your husband smiling at you for no reason.
Do us all a favour keep your misery at home. Come out and have fun. We do.
I have had my weekend and today I travel home. I have had my lay in’s, being allowed to sleep until 6:30, before being rousted. I’ve eaten more donuts than I’ll admit to, and I remember now why I no longer eat fried food. I’ve argued about aliens, and sorted out the things for my mum, even though she has no idea who I am any more. I’ve watched the Royal Wedding, the FA Cup final, been to the Seaside and now I have a dog with the runs. Maybe I’ll stay another day.
Maybe not, that was Alan, he’s home, there are fish in the pond to feed and eggs to gather. The sheep need water and the grass needs cutting. I might be better off coming home before Alan whistles down the yard for me to get out of my pit and do something useful. That bloody whistle was always worse than an alarm clock.