…and Charley’s your aunt


I was often confused as a kid as both parents and grandparents would tell me things which, with the small knowledge I’ve gathered over sixty-plus years, were either horribly inaccurate or a total lie.

If ever I made a face (which tended to happen if my nan was cooking boiled fish in parsley sauce – a concoction which should be considered as an alternative to anthrax in biological warfare) she would say “if the wind changes, you’ll stay like that”.  The UK is situated in the path of a polar front jet stream – winds are frequent, facial disfigurements for me fortuitously weren’t.

My mum would use the word bleedin’ so much, growing up I realised that an urgent learning of the rudiments of First Aid was going to be a must.  Luckily, however, it seemed there was nothing inside our flat which was haemophiliac.

Bob’s your uncle was recited many times.  I never met Bob – even with much genealogical research.  My mum would “entertain” many people – several had the epithet “uncle” – in our flat, but none featured on my home-made family tree chart, even fewer called Bob!

And as for fairies being at the bottom of my garden: living in a fourth-floor flat, unless you can get apparitions amongst your begonias in your window boxes, there was never going to be a Fatima-like vision which I was perpetually promised.

And the word wireless these days doesn’t necessarily have to involve Lord Haw-Haw.

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