Monday, January 23, 2006

my family - and other species

My family is not like your family.

Trust me, while your family was mingling, merging and developing the DNA that finally culminated in the spectacular human that is you, my family took a different road.

Eschewing Darwin's principles for a parallel path, my antecedents were happy to lay fallow for epoch after epoch whilst the rest of humanity developed. We didn’t follow you out of the sea when crawled ashore and gulped in your first breath of sulphurous air. We hung back and goggled at you with large, uncurious eyes.

When you climbed trees, we hid under rocks and burrowed holes in the shale.

When you stood upright, we curled into foetal balls in the undergrowth and licked our bottoms.

You led and we followed, very, very slowly.

Until eventually, in the soot and smoky splume of the industrial revolution we finally found our place in the species. In the mills and work houses and the steam and cherry red glow of industry, in the monotony and the back breaking labour, we caught you up, even overtook you – because we were dim witted, and we’d do anything for a turnip and a glass of beer.

Meet my great, great, great "Aunt" Gunther. Who arrived on a schooner from St Petersburg, coincidentally at precisely the same time as news of Arch Duke Ferdinand's murder broke in Great Britain. My uncle Ginge (short for Gingivitis) was immediately taken by her monocle and moustache, although as you can see from the photo she lost these when they settled down to a life of domestic propriety in Salford.

On the left is another great, great, great Aunt, Dyptheria (right), and her friend, Mrs Mildew.

They were never seen without their coats and hats. Dyptheria was sewn into her underwear on her fifteenth birthday and never left it until the day she died. Apparently Aunt Dyptheria and Mrs Mildew were very much like a crusading army, in as much as you could smell them coming for three miles.

It's a little known fact but Aunt Mildew was instrumental in women being granted the right to vote in the UK. Contrary to popular belief Emily Davison did not selflessly throw herself before the Queen's horse in the that fateful Derby in 1913. She was in fact hurled bodily out of the crowd by Aunt Dyptheria who had bet a large sum on the second favourite. She was heard to mutter "suffrage my arse" as poor Emily was trampled to death.

My mother was kidnapped and held captive with a troupe of circus monkeys in a caravan in Wales until she agreed to marry my father. My mother is the rather obvious human in the photograph.

This is my mother, who was undeniably the most beautiful woman of her generation, in body and spirit.
With my brother, who was born a chubby, cissy, bastard (and I'm using that word as it is described in the Oxford English Dictionary).

And this is the consequence of the havoc wreaked on that that chubby child by scarlet fever, measles, rickets, whooping cough, cholera, dysentry and poor dental care.

My father (third from the left), is seen here regaling his army chums with tales of our magnificent house in the country, the stables, lands and servants....

But not about our bath time antics.

My mother would always hold my hand when we crossed the road.....but often she would leave me in the middle.

One poor man ran me over three times, (how we laughed!) but I always got nice presents when I was in hospital.

And we could afford nice new clothes with the insurance money.


Wendy said...

This is FANTASTIC!! What great snaps!! I truly truly love this post!! Thank you so much for sharing. I do believe we all have an Aunt Dyptheria who was best friends with Mrs. Mildew!! Your mother is indeed very beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing this post Colin!

Wendy said...

What a cute little scrapper you are!!

Just Some Gal said...

What a darling child you were. Now then, I have to say that your mum was quite a shining beauty! I'm glad she was able to help expand your gene pool. ;-) hehe Wendy is right, we must all have those kind of Aunts...

At least you took one for the family to get new clothes...a few times...hehe

Best Post ever!

Just Some Gal said...

Oh and Colin, your father wasn't all that bad looking either. It is quite easy to see where you get your looks. :-)

Sandra said...

Your mother was lovely! These are great, please post more!

And I had aunts sewn into their underwear're not alone there.

Jessica said...

Colin, that's it - I'm hereby proclaiming my adoration of you.

Why, WHY couldn't I have been reading your blog before I came to London 5 months ago!? We could have sat down for a pint and a few laughs (or a few pints and a laugh - either way).

Gerbera Daisy said...

AAAHHHHHH!!! Good Morning Fish~ I LOVED the photos!!! And we all have relatives who were sewn in their underwear. Thanks for the smiles! :-)

Melissa said...

I'm dying. Literally, Colin, you are killing me with laughter. I accuse Kristie of such a crime on a daily basis, but today the honor is yours. I sit here at my desk, doubled over in pain because vigorous laughter for 15 continoous minutes can cause cramps. Holy hell, that might be the funniest thing you have ever written, and you've written some doozies.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Oh That was GOOOOOOD! :)

I loved the pictures too....what a lovely addition they made to your story! :)

Magpie said...

brilliant pictures, although i'm not sure the bit about the circus was true...but i'm gullible so i'll go with


AJH said...

Somebody is having a lot of fun with his scanner, now isn't he. I like my photos much more when they are on my laptop, but I suspect it will take me many more months to do that than it took me to get all 150 cd's on to my laptop.

Aims said...

Excellent photos matey. I must use my scanner more!!

Miladysa said...

Wonderful post Colin! Looking at your family snaps and mine I think we have crossed paths somewhere along the line.

My great aunts were suffragettes too - perhaps they were all on an outing to the races :)

kassi said...

I love your obviously phlegmatic.

Kassi said...

I'm not sure if my comment offended you or not (hope not), but your post made me laugh!

Thank you for the return favor of stopping in to say "hi"

Shephard said...

I was entertained by your family history lesson, and a couple other blog entries, and came away with 3 wonderful new words beginning with s: splume, spluff and splunder.
Fun read. :)