To allow us to get to Liverpool Derek Hatton Airport in time for our very early flight to Rome the other Sunday, Jen and I spent Saturday night at my parents', where we were required to watch the final of a minor celebrity talent contest called Dancing On Ice. It was on ITV, the channel that does Foyle's War and Inspector Morse. I hadn't realised it also does family entertainment. I use the word entertainment guardedly.
The following conversation took place:
Me: It's very sporting of that Phillip Schofield to dye his hair silver to fit in with the ice theme.
Jen: Is he famous or something?
Me: He used to be a children's television presenter. He's never been the same since he split with Gordon.
Jen: Gordon who?
Me: Gordon the Gopher. He was a glove puppet that squeaked a lot. Phillip Schofield was his straight man.
Mum: I thought you said Jordan.
How's this for a pleasing co-incidence? It's a bit convoluted, but bear with me, it's worth the wait:
- when I was a kid, I always thought that James Garner from out of The Rockford Files was the spitting image of my dad. I wasn't alone in this belief: kids I hardly knew would come up to me and say, "Your dad looks like Jim Rockford". Sometimes they would go so far as to say, "Your dad is Jim Rockford";
- for the record, my dad's name is not Jim Rockford, it's Norman;
- entirely unrealted to the above—or so it would seem—my mum's favourite film of all time is Oklahoma!
- while I was in totally shattered mode after my big walk last Friday, I turned on the telly, and they were showing The Rockford Files. While I was watching it for old times' sake, I found myself wondering whatever happened to James Garner. He must be getting on a bit by now, I thought—assuming he is still with us, that is. So I looked him up on the Internet Movie Database;
- the good news is that James Garner is still very much alive, and is still making films, but GET THIS…
- James Garner was born in the city of Norman, Oklahoma!
I lied when I said it would be worth the wait.
Last week, mum was telling me how, when she was a girl, all the local dogs were referred to by their name plus the surname of their owners. In her neighbourhood, there were:
- Towser Green
- Bob Dorricot
- Raff Jones
- Spotty Johnson
(Yes, that's right: people really did used to name their dogs Towser.)
It seems to me that giving dogs surnames acknowledges that, unlike cats, they are an integral part of the family. I'm all for it.
So what's your dog called?
Postscript: Actually, Spotty Johnson would be a damn fine name for a band (Fitz please note).
A big thank you to my mum for my birthday present yesterday: a cardigan. That made me feel a lot younger.
The sad thing is, it's actually rather nice.
Best quote of recent weeks came from my dad (re. William Hague and the fuel crisis):
He's a great band-waggon-jumper-onner.
Mind you, my mum came pretty close to bettering him when watching a programme about bison:
Aren't those the things that Bungalow Bill used to hunt?
Me: You smell nice, mum.
Mum: Thank you, son.
Me: It's sort of peachy.
Mum: Oh God, I've put that air freshener on my hair again!
(It was the word again that did it.)
Conversation with my mum on Tuesday:
Mum's note, en Français.
"Mum, why have you written L'OISEAU
on this piece of paper?"
"It's the French word for bird
"I know it is, but why have you written it on this piece of paper?"
"I was trying to remember how to spell it."
"I thought it would be something like that."
See also: Meadowlark