b3ta.com user singingringingtree
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» Family Holidays

What I realise now is that my parents weren't very well off back in the 70s and 80s but thanks to much effort on their part combined with the generosity of family and friends we had some brilliant holidays.

My brother and sister were prone to squabble when confined for any space of time, so as the eldest sibling I had to sit in between them to prevent any damage being inflicted. Only on one journey, in the days before seatbelts were compulsory in the back of cars, we were all loose in the back of our lovely Maxi, where the seats had been put down. Brother and sister were at their most irritating, goading each other into further heights of mania and finally, when they had become an entangled mass of limbs and shreiking Sister bit down, HARD, on Brother's leg.

Only it was her own leg.

Tears were shed, 'told you so's' were said and the remainder of the journey was wondrously subdued.

The incident has now become a family legend to be wheeled out to amuse the same brother and sister's own children. The look of admiration on their little faces is wondrous to behold.
(Sat 4th Aug 2007, 20:49, More)

» Conned

Don't mess with the sister.
My sister, spotter of the Harrod's beggar mentioned earlier, answered the doorbell of her Clapton flat one afternoon. There on the doorstep stood a raggedy (in a shell suit kind of way) gypsy lady with an urchin sniveling in a pushchair. Sister raised her eyebrows in an expectant manner, irritated at being disturbed, and the woman said, pleadingly, 'My child is hungry.' Sister bade her 'wait a moment' and went back into the flat, returning with a little something in her hand.

The woman took the apple as though it was a turd, and as Sister closed the door the child, sniveling no more, was staring at the apple in horror.

Sister was always a lot more savvy than me about these things - she'd lived in London a long time.
(Mon 22nd Oct 2007, 15:42, More)

» Council Cunts

Water water everywhere...
Actually there was just the normal amount of water, but I liked the phrase. This isn't about the council, but what the hell.

Anyway: in the early 90s a friend and I moved into a flat in a recently converted Victorian house. We registered properly with all the service companies (and the council tax) and got proper responses from all of them, except the water company. Their reply was that as the building had only just been converted they had no rateable value for it yet, so there was nothing to pay - yet. We contacted them regularly but they still hadn't made up their minds.

On the very day that we were moving out they sent us a massive bill, to be paid in one go. How we laughed as we dropped it down the drain immediately outside the flats.

6 months after we were in our new house I recieved a letter asking, in so many words, 'Are you the Mr. Singingringtree that lived at X Flats during the period, etc etc.?' I just wrote back saying 'no.'

Never heard from them again. Never felt bad about it. If they'd have got their fingers out in a reasonable time we'd have paid the installments, but they didn't so sod 'em.
(Fri 27th Jul 2007, 7:36, More)

» Thrown away: The stuff you loved and lost.

It was the Rolls Royce of pedal cars.
Actually it WAS a Rolls Royce pedal car, all shiny and dark brown and when I was given it for Christmas age 3 I wouldn't go near it. However, I got over that and loved it. My Grandad installed flashing indicators in it, I practised parallel parking and everything. When my sister was given a much more modern one we'd go up and down the street together, pedal furiously to the park and so on. There are photos of us washing our vehicles in the back garden.

I loved that car, but grew out of it both mentally and physically. For many years it languished in the shed (imagine the opening scenes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) but I knew it was there, just waiting until I had a shed of my own to keep it in.

And then, when I was 14, I suddenly saw it... on the way to the dump with all the other 'rubbish' as Mum and Dad cleared the shed out and though I pleaded for it to be spared it still went to its doom. Not even to charidy (well, we didn't do that in the 70s did we, unless it was Blue Peter?)

I was heartbroken for days, so much so that my parents felt very guilty, which while it was a satisfying state of affairs did not bring old Rolly (which I never called it) back to me.

My parents STILL feel bad about it, in fact. I have told them that the first volume of my autobiographies will be called 'Pedal Car and Tinned Peaches*' - it never fails to make my Mum cry 'Oh, DON'T' in an anguished way.

How I relished it when I sent them a postcard of a very, very similar pedal car from the v&A, just to rub it in.

*The tinned peaches reference is to another childhood trauma involving sitting in front of a bowl of them 'until you eat them.' I didn't eat the evil, slug-like repellent items in the end, though. I was very stubborn. Even now they make me shudder.
(Tue 19th Aug 2008, 22:12, More)

» Guilty Pleasures, part 2

It must be written in capitals (it's their initials, you know.)

In 1976 I spent my pocket money on 'ABBA's Greatest Hits.' My Mum commented that I'd probably go off them in about 6 months. In 2006 I pointed out that she was a bit wrong (anyway, in 1979 she came with me to see them live at Wembley Arena.)

I love 'em. Know everything about them, listen to them every day. I've got loads of books, old magazines, badges, sew-on-patches, stuff on vinyl, the original crappy CDs, the remasters, the re-remasters. I made my friends call our pub quiz team 'The redhead was sexier than the blonde' one quiz night years ago.

My friends used to laugh about the fact that during my doc-martins, leather jacket, shaved-head stage (with my nose ring and eyebrow piercing) I looked quite intimidating, but as I stomped, glowering, down the street I was probably listening to 'Mamma Mia' or 'SOS.'

My favourite member is Anni-Frid.
(Thu 13th Mar 2008, 20:32, More)
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