Saturday, July 28, 2007

Nobbut a lad

When I wor nobbut a lad - think late 1940's - we had us a gay old time playing various children's games, games with arcane rules and rituals and a vocabulary to match. We lived in such an obscure part of England that even the Opies failed to document us: no reference in their tomes to Tin Can Murky, Tippet or Salt, Mustard and Pepper, this last a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of girls' knickers, you know, those thick black cotton passion-killers with elasticated legs and a mysterious side-pocket.

Now, think early twenty-first century. I have been teaching some of these games and rituals to my three Californian grandchildren. And they seem to enjoy them in the interstices of time between more exciting distractions, eg, when mum hides the TV remote.
I think quite a lot about my mortality, about the time when something will strike me down and I will be no more. It is a great consolation to think that at least part of what is me will be passed on to a new generation. No big deal, but it's better than shuffling off the mortal coil and leaving no more trace than your name written in the sand.
Listen, guys and guyesses, I am not being morbid: I have already resolved to live long enough to get back all the money I have paid to the Chancellor of the Exchequer AND to cause the Prudential, my pension providers, to take out a contract on me because I have defied their actuaries' predictions. And the knowledge that three Californian kids may one day play Tippet with THEIR children makes my heart soar like a hawk, as you might say.

No comments: