I Didn’t Know It Was Swearing Mum!!

Yesterday I wrote about some memories from my young childhood. Whilst I sat pondering over today’s subject, Karen suggested I try recall further memories……….. Only funny ones this time!

To be honest, she really said “Did you eat that last Kit Kat, Gary?!” but I thought I’d use a bit of artistic licence in my introduction, as a topic of memories has more mileage than Kit Kat’s!

The paragraph above was nearly the last thing I ever wrote. I’ve just foolishly thrown a whole liquorice Catherine wheel in my mouth, causing me nearly to choke to death.

Thankfully, I dislodged it prior to it being necessary for Karen to carry out the Heimlich manoeuvre. It was a bit of a shock and I’m now wondering if perhaps Karen has an ulterior motive for recent mass Catherine wheel buying!

I was going to write about an acquaintance who is so random that when watching porn he makes comments like “They’ve got the same bed sheets as mine!” and “I wonder if they got them from Marksy’s as well!”……. Or so I’m told (cough, cough)!

However, taking Karen’s suggestion onboard, I’m going to relay memories of my introduction to swearing.

It was a grey autumnal Saturday morning in the early 1970’s. In a quite suburb of Gateshead my brother Ian and I were playing football in the front street. I was pretending to be my hero, Leeds striker, Allan Clarke whilst Ian was Peter Lorimer, his childhood idol.

I liked to make my impersonation of the Willenhall born striker accurate, so I would pull my sleeves over my hands while running with the ball, as well as mimicking his goal celebration when I scored. My number 8 sock tags were a sod to play in, but Clarkey wore them so I had to as well!

My beloved first Leeds Utd kit (with extra long arms!)

Gary and Ian 3

Everything was going swimmingly until a kid nicknamed Curly, who lived at the end of our street, came over and asked if he could have a game. He imaginatively got the name Curly as he had curly hair. We didn’t waste much time thinking up nicknames in our street!

I’m not sure why, as I wasn’t a spiteful kid, but I responded with a new word that I had overheard an older kid at junior school use earlier in the week; when I promptly told him to “F*** Off !!!”

When I used this word for the first time, little did I know of its inappropriate meaning and that I shouldn’t be using it as a young child. Well, that was until my mum raced out of the house, dragged me in and immediately grounded me for the day.

I was in a bit of a shock at the rollocking I was getting, in the front room of our modest semi! My mum, who’d heard me inadvertently swear through the open front window, told me never to use that word again (which, of course, I haven’t until today !!) and sent me to my room.

I forlornly wandered upstairs to my bedroom with the sleeves of my white Leeds top still pulled over my hands. As I sat on my bed reflecting on the incident, I ripped off my sock tags in frustration and thought to myself I bet Allan Clarke didn’t get to his level at football by being hauled into the house, by his mum, when one on one with the keeper!

Looking back I think her anger was exacerbated by the fact my grandad Charlie had come up from Leeds for the weekend and had overheard me cursing. I recall grandad fighting back the laughter at my use of the F word in all innocence. However, he couldn’t be seen to undermine his daughter’s disciplining of me, so suppressed any overt laughter.

Gary and Ian 2

As a young lad, I was never good at realising which new words were inappropriate, or at the very least not to be uttered in front of your mum and dad. In the mid 70’s I got caught out again following a game cricket with our Ian.

It was a warm summers day, the chaffinches were chirping merrily. A solitary wood pigeon sat overlooking play in the back garden of our grandma and grandad’s holiday bungalow in Reighton, near Filey.

When we played cricket we used to record each ball and run into a miniature score book and play in a Test Match format. This meant whoever bowled first would have to get the other one out 10 times before they got to bat. This could take quite some time bearing in mind there were no fielders to take catches and that we were recording every ball in our score book.

On this particular occasion I was England and bowled first at our Ian (who was Australia). He’d batted for hours and racked up a mammoth score. Not unlike the last Ashes test in 2015!

After I took his last wicket there was no ten minute break, like in Test Matches, so that Geoff Boycott and Dennis Amiss could go and pad up. There was no need we were using a tennis ball! Ordinarily, we just swapped around.

Tired and sweaty after my hours bowling I picked up the little Eland bat we had and took guard expecting to face Dennis Lillee,  …….. err I mean our Ian, for the first ball of my innings.

Instead I saw him wandering towards the bungalow door with the parting shot of “I’m off inside, I’m bored with this!”.

After giving my all bowling at the Australians for hours on a flat batting track, I was now looking forward to making hay on it myself; so I was not happy with Ian’s response. I stormed into the house and plumped myself aggressively into an armchair tutting and sighing.

My mum and dad and baby sister Helen were in the living room of the bungalow. I’m not sure where Ian had gone! My parents, aware I was less than happy, questioned “What’s up Gary !?”.

Red of face from a mixture of the sun, tiredness and anger I retorted “I’ve just bowled at our Ian for three hours and now it’s my turn to bat he doesn’t want to play anymore!”

I think if I’d have left it at that, the rest of my day mightn’t have been so bad. However, I made the mistake of utilising another word I’d recently picked up at school, by adding “What a tw*t!!!”.

Again my naivety about the inappropriateness of words had got the better of me and I was sent straight to my room, again for the rest of the day ………. while the Aussie (our Ian), who was now back outside, lapped up the sun whilst kicking a ball around.

I’m not sure what the England supporting Barmy Army would have made of it all!

I learnt the hard way but I took a big lesson from my rollickings for swearing, which was if you play cricket with our Ian f***ing bat first!

The week in Reighton when I learned that tw@t was a naughty word!

Gary and Ian 1

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