Am watching on C4 the ‘Most Watched television’ and I was enjoying the memories of the old Seventies shows.
We never had a video recording machine back then, so if you missed an episode of your favourite show…that was it, you never got to see it again until they showed it two years later as a repeat.
I remember my mum being obssesed by the old 1970’s show ‘Poldark’. It was about this swarthy, tall sexy hunk who lived in eighteenth century Cornwall. He was a kind of Robin Hood Pirate that helped the smugglers and stuff. He wore the tight breeches and had long hair and was always dirty looking…the women loved him, he was the Brad Pitt of UK tv!
Anway she loved the whole show and had watched the entire series. The highlight of her week was Friday night, she got her pack of ciggies ready, the light out, the TV on full blast, grand-children were banned, dog was let out for a piss, her mug full of tea at the ready and her broken spectacles taped up and stuck on her face.
This all went well until the very last episode.
My dad and her had been separated for a few years and although they lived in different houses, they always ended up getting back together every other weekend. When dad was drunk his homing devices dragged him back to our house.
On this particular week, he had asked her to go to his ‘Christmas Work’s Dance’. Mum was stricken, because despite her absolute glee at being back with dad again and at one of his social functions, she would have to miss the last episode of Poldark. She had to go with my dad but was distraught at missing her sex God on TV.
I came up with a solution.
I had a hand held tape machine that had a new blank tape, I would sit beside the televsion and tape the whole show and in the silent bits that showed drama but no dialogue, I would talk into the tape and tell her what was going on.
It was all going to plan, I was sat at the TV with the tape in my hand perched on my knee right at the speaker on the side of my television box. I was getting all the dialogue and was explaining the plot and saying things like-‘Poldark has just walked into the room and has opened a trunk’
I was right into the last five minutes when our dog Major 2 ( Major 1 had died two years before, and this was our latest scabby/mental Alsatian stray) ran in barking loud…he had our semi-feral flea carrying cat wrapped around the front of his snout, like the Alien thing out of the movies.
The cat’s two back legs were fast cycling with its ripping nails into the dog’s throat as it’s front claws were secured into the back of dogs head. The big dog’s barks were muffled as the cat was almost suffocating it!
The table got knocked over, cups were smashed on the lino, tea spread all over the floor, I dropped the tape machine, the dog managed to bite the cat’s back, the cat squealed and hissed and managed to spring back and launch itself onto my leg with all claws flying as the dog jumped on and flatten me.
I missed the end of Poldark and my mum would go mental. I was so scared to tell her.
When she got home she got me up next morning at 9am to hear the show.
Mum-“Janey, wake up, a need to hear ma’ Poldark hen, go an’ get me the tape, I huv made the tea’
I sat there and had to think quickly. What I did was, I went through the whole tape explaining the show and the plot ( remember this is the last episode with a big cliff hanger) as I just heard the first noise of the dog barking, I turned the tape off quickly and explained that there was no more ‘talking bits’ and I made up a story about how that whole series ended. I said that Poldark’s wife had died and he went away to America on a boat and gave up his house to the villagers.
My mum was heartbroken that Anaghard Reese (She played Demelza, the very low classed urchin who married Poldark- he was way above her station, but to every woman’s delight he treated her well).
I overdone the story, I elaborated on her slow painful death, the tears and the horror and grief as his ship set sail for the Americas.
My mum cried her eyes out and spent the whole day upset at Poldark’s sad life….until my Aunt Rita came round and chatted about the show, telling my mum the real story about how Poldark had managed to secure the workers full pay and how he and Demelza were so in love and were trying for a baby.
She almost killed me with a shoe, I ran down all our stairs with a smelly tufty haired Alsatian, and evil slinky white/grey cat at my back hissing at the big dog as we ran into the street to get away from my crazed mother and her shoe.
She wore those hard Scholl sandals that she could slip from her feet and skelp you with in under three seconds, they really were tools of the devil. I think Dr Scholl knew they were anti-child weapons and made them in their millions. My mum could throw a Scholl sandal and it would duck round corners like something out of the Matrix and manage to catch the back of you head. If Scholl throwing had been an Olympic sport, she would have won a Gold.
I miss her, the scabby dog and the angry evil cat, I am hoping that she would have liked how I wrote my book._