Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Boys will be Boys

So, the week didn't get that much better.

Poor grandad turned the lights out 9 minutes after I posted that last blog so then I was feeling a bit bad about being relatively jovial when he had breathed his last in hospital. What is astonishing is that he and Nan have been married for 72 years. When I mentioned this to The Boy he made a funny groaning noise and asked if I realised how old we'd be when we got to that stage (the answer is him 107, me 103 - first calculation had it as 164 for me which is very wrong or I look extremely good for my age).
I said "don't worry, I'll have killed you by then". He said "don't worry, I'll have killed myself".

The Boy's arrival home from a hard day
in the office while I pray for the
redemption of my smaller boy
(missing from picture) who is
outside stoning someone's Hillman Husky
Oh happy married life! It made me think of those lovely nuclear families that you used to get in the 50's (I've been watching too much Mad Men), when women wore petticoats and torpedo bras and spent all day putting pineapple and cheese on sticks and men drank manhattans for breakfast.

CN8/1; picture of a workshop, 1937
Borstal - reforming naughty boys
by donning aprons and learning
how to gut rabbits
One thing that also existed here in the 50s was "borstal" which, for those of you outside this wonderful land, was a form of youth prison run in the UK by the prison service and used to "correct" seriously delinquent young boys. Obviously girls can't get seriously delinquent because we're just too nice. Girls were sent off to convents instead and I'm pretty sure they were also run by the prison service. Borstals were for offenders under the age of 21. I'm not sure they catered for boys as young as 5 but that's where my boy would be heading today if he'd been born 70 years earlier. 

Last night he broke his first car windscreen. Or rather he broke a very big and scary friend's car windscreen.  I'd taken him for tea and to play with his two best friends from his old nursery. This is the triumvirate who, even when they were three, were separated at lunchtime and were put in opposite corners of the room on a more than frequent basis. So, they were busy being boys outside and throwing stones at eachother (which is fine apparently) when said big and scary friend came in and asked for masking tape to mend his rear windscreen. I knew instantly my boy was the culprit. I didn't shout and scream, merely gave him a stern talking to, made him apologise and had a glass of wine (me not him). Then I took him home and asked him to tell his father what he had done. Later on I asked The Boy what he thought of this transgression and he said "Well, I don't know what he was thinking because he knows not to throw stones at people". Um, so he didn't mention the windscreen then.......

It must run in the family because when I traced my family tree a couple of years ago I discovered that my great uncle had indeed been sent to a "home for delinquent boys" at the age of 8. That's the Irish side of my family. Funnily enough my great grandmother was also sent to a prison, I mean convent.

I was mortified at the time. I'm just lucky it was a company car and big scary friend wasn't that fussed or I'd be facing a large bill instead of owing 15 quid for duct tape to hold it all together so he could drive to the Isle of Wight. A little part of me was a tiny bit impressed that my boy has fire in his belly.

Although I gather that fire is another thing that little boys like to learn about so I'm just going to turn off all the gas before I go and watch Mad Men.

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