Scene:The Christmas tree is up in the porch, with its delicate ornaments swinging gently and glinting all colours as the fairy lights go on and off.The living Christmas card is abruptly ruined as in a flurry and a jangling of protesting baubles Rusty launches himself at one of them, triumphantly bringing it down in pieces.Woman realises too late that she should have closed the porch door…
Translation:They’re so ungrateful.All I’m trying to do is save them from those shiny birds on the tree – they must have got in the house when I wasn’t looking.I’m an expert, I can deal with it.Close the door behind you please.
It's fun to speculate what could have prompted the comment. After looking this up I have learned that it is a Geordie expression which I believe falls somewhere between tap-dancing down the lane and tottering down it none too sober.
Scene:Night time.The couple have just dropped off, but are awakened by the sound of a cat (Rusty) jumping up on the dressing table and blundering about, knocking items off.He knows this sends the woman absolutely mental.Sure enough, she jumps out of bed exclaiming “that bloody cat is on the dressing table again – I’ve told him off so many times.Why does he still do it?”
Translation:Because I can (doh…)
(PS: ... and I'm wide awake 'cos I've been sleeping all day) (PPS: ...and I'm bored) (PPPS: ...and I want attention)
Scene:She gets home from work, and before even taking off her coat, her first job is to feed the cats.To pleading looks on upturned faces and tails snaking round her legs the bowls are filled and lowered to the floor.They sniff at it uncertainly and hesitate.“Nice food” she coaxes encouragingly – “come on boys…”.They walk off, tails in the air.
Translation:This food is freezing – she’s only just taken it out of the fridge. Come on Banjo, the only way this is ever going to improve is if we boycott the food on the days she doesn’t open a new tin.All for one and one for all!
Scene:It’s time for the 6-monthly visit to the vet.The drama begins.The cats - Banjo and Rusty - have only to hear a door closing in the lounge and to see the open cages to know their exit is being closed off for a good reason.After much distress on both sides, they are finally lowered into the carrying cages, complaining vigorously. They squirm and wriggle as they’re carried out to the waiting car, these normally quiet cats yowling for all their worth.
Translation:Help! Somebody… help!This cruel couple have kidnapped us and are selling us into slavery!Can’t anybody hear us?!They starve us all the time, and I’m sure I heard her say she wants to make a pair of gloves out of us!There’ll be a man in a white coat with a needle!HELP!
Scene:The two boxer dogs next door are at the peak of their vim and vigour, and don’t suffer fools gladly.They absolutely hate cats.Sometimes the cat couple play with them while chatting to the neighbours, by throwing a rubber ball at them which the dogs bound after and catch, and return dripping with saliva.However, the closed gate is always between them…
The cats (Rusty and Banjo) suffer no such qualms.They have been known to wander casually from the neighbours’ garden and into their kitchen through the open door on the lookout for titbits, fully aware from the smell and the snuffling sounds that the boxers are asleep in the next room, their ears twitching.
The cats’ favourite place is to sit comfortably on the roof of the neighbours’ garage looking haughtily down at the apoplectic boxers below, who bark raucously, pawing the ground with fury.
Translation:Go on Banjo, your turn to play chicken…
At first glance this might seem a rather inappropriate comment, but having read so many memorial plaques since, I have concluded that it must have been a favourite saying of Mr Morrison himself. It therefore seemed quirky enough to include in this blog.
Scene:The man has gone up into the loft to bring down the Christmas decorations.While his attention is elsewhere Rusty seizes the opportunity and climbs up the ladder, disappearing inside to explore.Sometime later as the couple are wondering where he’s got to, an apparition cautiously descends the ladder, red fur all but concealed by cobwebs, and sneezing copiously.His whiskers are double their normal length, and somehow seem wrapped around his ears, ending in a point somewhere over his head.
Translation:I shouldn’t bother Banjo, the only living thing up there is spiders. Got me some extra whiskers though - should be useful for getting through the garage door.
Scene:Tearing sounds are heard by the couple as they watch TV.Banjo is sharpening his claws energetically on the delicate fabric of an armchair.Woman jumps up shouting at him “How many times must I tell you that you do NOT sharpen your claws on the armchairs?”Cat leaps away out of sight.Man says “You know it means he wants to be let out.”Woman says “Well he won’t get his way by doing that.He’s ruining the armchairs!” Sighing, man heaves himself off the sofa.
Translation:The technique provokes a bit of an alarming reaction, but it works like a charm…
Scene:Late evening. She’s on the computer.Banjo jumps on desk, papers fly in all directions.He walks back and forth in front of the screen, stepping on the keyboard, tail in the air, purring.Affectionate attention is given.Papers are collected off the floor, errors caused by random hitting of keyboard are corrected, cat hunkers down on the in-tray or on top of the printer.Peace is restored.
Translation:What a palaver to have to go through just to queue for that chair.Hope she doesn’t take too long.
Scene:Cat Rusty is in the bathtub waiting patiently for someone to walk in.When she eventually does, cat mews gently, and she asks solicitously whether he’s thirsty and wants some water, forthwith turning the cold bath tap on slightly. Rusty sits there, watching the water flowing from the tap.
Translation:Why does she always think I’m thirsty?That’s what the dirty old pond outside is for.I LIKE looking at water trickling down, watching it gather at the bottom in a little pool.She’s looking at me puzzled cos I’m not drinking…. Well they go away sightseeing on holiday, never take us with them – so why shouldn’t I sightsee in the bathtub.This is my Niagara Falls.Now push off.
Scene:An old lady is being interviewed by a clinical researcher to find out her drinking habits – not of the alcoholic variety, just how she keeps herself properly hydrated during the day.Being a member of that special British generation that lived through World War II, tea plays a very great part in her daily drinking routines.She’s clearly enjoying being asked to talk, and gets quite animated.
Researcher (female, 50):So you take your tea in a mug – is it a special one?
Care Home resident (96):Oh yes, I love me tea.
Researcher:Is it a china mug?
Care Home resident:Definitely, it says underneath “Made in China”.
Scene:It’s 6 a.m., the couple are blissfully asleep – the alarm won’t go off for another hour.Suddenly the peace is shattered by the sound of claws being sharpened on the side of the mattress, which vibrates with the treatment.
Translation:Wakey wakey… I need a pee. (They know I don’t like the litter tray first thing in the morning.And I don’t want her, she expects me to use the catflap.He’ll get up and open the back door if I carry on for a while.)
Scene:The couple are sitting on the sofa watching TV, cat (Banjo) comes up and sits between them on the carpet, looking up at them in Princess Diana style – chin down, eyes up.No amount of persuasion will get him to climb up and settle down between them.Sweet talk, patting the space … nothing works.He gazes fixedly at one of them.
Translation:Don’t you baby talk me, I won’t have second best.That’s MY seat and you’re in it.MOVE!
Scene:The hospital is run by nuns who wear imposing black habits and veils.Older sister aged 10 is recovering from a hernia operation, being visited by her mother and younger sister.The Mother Superior is present, exchanging pleasantries with mother, while the child stares at her up and down. The Mother Superior pauses long enough to draw breath…
Younger sister, chipping in (5):Why do you wear men’s shoes?
(With thanks to elder sister Sylvia, who doesn’t remember what the poor nun replied…)
Scene:Mother and daughter out shopping, daughter runs ahead and presently mother sees her stop and gaze up at a man who is talking to someone, so absorbed in her staring that she is still at it when embarrassed mother hastily catches up with her.
Daughter (6):(In loud, carrying voice, looking up at him and pointing)That man’s got no hair on his head.
Scene: Three young people going into a takeaway establishment late on Saturday night - a Bristolian student and his French girlfriend, the third another French girl, friend of the first.
French Girl 1, visitor (20): (Pointing to the doner meat on the spit) Qu'est-ce que c'est ça là-bas? (1)
French Girl 2, resident (20): C'est la jambe d'un éléphant. C'est bien délicieux! (2)
French Girl 1: (disbelieving) C'est QUOI ??? (3)
French Girl 2:(ernestly)Oui, vraiment... je t'assure... (4)
French Girl 1 turns enquiringly to the Bristolian student, her friend's boyfriend, and notices him clutching his sides, silently convulsed with laughter. French Girl 2 (the girlfriend) realises she's been had - for some time - and storms out of the shop.
(With thanks to Nick, and to Michèle for checking my French...) .
Scene:Hospital-based doctors who specialise in urology often own or have on permanent loan, male and female latex prosthetic lower torsos for training purposes…or they know where to find them.These unlovely but expensive dummies are essential for teaching students the rudiments of inserting urinary catheters before they are let loose on real patients.From time to time they get borrowed anonymously, a cause of singular annoyance...
Consultant Urological Surgeon (male, 38) in a high temper, striding down the corridor and shouting at near the top of his voice, to the stunned amazement of those lining the way:
Where’s my rubber arse?Where the hell’s my rubber arse?
Visiting winegrower hosting the tasting (male, 50’s):You’ll love this one, it’s a blend of cabernet sauvignon (or cab sav as we call it) and merlot.Just smell that oaky vanilla and crushed raspberries – you feel it going to your head just from smelling the bouquet...It’s difficult to explain how I feel about this one...
Wine taster (83), the alcohol clearly increasing the cynicism level in his blood:
You’re in heaven?
Visiting winegrower... etc (smiling):Well put, I feel in heaven.
Wine taster (83):No, that’s not how I would spell it.
Woman, way past her bedtime (85+):(On being offered a tray with a choice of the wines which had just been sampled to have with her baguette, selection of cheeses, chutneys, ripe figs, cherry tomatoes and other crudités, thoughtfully provided by the venue to complement the tasting)
Visiting winegrower hosting the tasting (male, 50’s):Just swirl your glass around a bit to let out the bouquet.That’s it, now smell that lovely aroma of apple with overtones of vanilla.Isn’t it refreshing?
Woman, way past her bedtime (85+):(In clear, carrying voice) Apple?Has this stuff got apple in it?
Visiting winegrower.. etc:(slightly nonplussed) Oh No, it’s just a suggestion in the bouquet, a way of distinguishing it…
Woman (85+):Yes well, I mean to say....
PS:Personally overheard by Lonicera...to which I would also add that the venue’s (charming) cuckoo clock chose this exact moment to chime, and the cuckoo shuttled noisily in and out of its cubbyhole 8 times while this exchange was taking place.There wasn’t a dry eye at the table that had witnessed both these events.