My 90-year-old Nan. Occasionally she comes out with some corkers. I went out for lunch with her last week and on the way to the restaurant we went past one of those mini-market bric-a-brac stalls. You know, the ones selling drug paraphernalia like crap T-shirts of Bob Marley and lighters with cannabis leaves on them. You usually see them on the corner of the street where all the freaks and mutants accumulate.
‘Ooooh’ she cooed happily, vaguely fingering some of the merchandise, ‘there’s all sorts of useful odds and ends in here.’
‘That’s a bong, Nan’, I said, strong-arming her away from the corpulent West-Indian lady behind the stall who was now visibly shaking with laughter.
We sat down in the restaurant and ordered a couple of plates of pasta and a nice bottle of Sauvignon. She likes a little tipple every now and again, does my Nan.
After a few minutes, she said: ‘You know that nice lady Doris that lives opposite me and drops me over all her Woman’s Own magazines?’
‘Well last week, one of them had an advert for a vibrator on the back.’
She chose to say that just as the waiter was pouring her a glass of wine.
‘I mean – what do readers of Woman’s Own want with that sort of thing? £12.99 though – I thought that was quite cheap,’ she said reasonably, ‘they must have come down in price since my day.’
The waiter remained completely deadpan.
‘Actually…’ she said leaning forward with an impish glint, ‘I found one in your mother’s room once. It was blue and pink plastic. She said someone had given it to her as a joke. Well! I took it outside and smashed it to smithereens. I couldn’t throw it in the bin could I? What if it fell out and the bin collector saw it? I mean…I’m a woman of the world. I’ve heard of Nuns using carrots and door handles – but honestly!’
There is a certain poetic justice to this little story, seeing as my own mother once stumbled haplessly across my own (large, purple) dildo and accompanying bag of weed after she decided to meddle and unpack my university suitcase for me. She never unpacked anything for me ever again after that. And I found the (large, purple) dildo arranged neatly next to my hair brush on my dressing table later that day. At least I now know why she never mentioned the incident to me in person. Touché maman.
The news that I had a sex-crazed mother and a drug-taking lunatic for a grandmother is hardly a revelation. After all I must get it from somewhere. However the incident did get me thinking about the intrinsic lack of privacy one has to put up with when sharing accommodation with one’s parents. And that this is hardly improved upon on entering the seasonaire studio flat–crammed in cheek by jowl in a festering grotto with fellow ski-layabouts. The importance of having a good place to ‘stash’ private items such as one’s emergency dildo cannot be stressed enough.
I am in the happy and somewhat smug position of having my very own gaff in which to dwell this winter, without the accoutrements of any persons other than my own good self. Which means my dildo will be on proud display on the mantelpiece, next to the vodka and hardcore porn. However, I would like to offer some advice to those less fortunate than me.
Hide your toothbrush.
In my experience, this is your most vulnerable spot. Protect it. Do not leave it, trustingly, oh so naively, in that scummy, toothpaste encrusted empty yoghurt pot your room-mate Camilla has placed to the left of the sink. You have got to live and work with this cow arse-to-armpit for the next six months. And you are going to get pissed off with each other. I guarantee it.
Perhaps you have an irritating habit that’s wearing thin on Camilla - like using her hair dryer without asking. Or walking snow into the flat so her socks get wet on the way to the bathroom. Perhaps you’ve drunkenly shagged a hot kitchen porter with his arse hanging out of his jeans whom she’s been mooning over all season…
All I’m saying is this: If Camilla can take quiet, cold revenge on her savage, rude, smelly, unpleasant guests by removing their toothbrushes from that little sink-side-cup and scrubbing brown encrusted skid marks off the bog pan - then what’s to stop her doing the same to you? (And trust me, Camilla wouldn’t be the first, as those of you who are familiar with last year’s antics will confirm.)
As for me – I don’t care if I am the only person in a 30 mile radius: my toothbrush is going to be kept suspended in a laser-protected force-field in a sealed reinforced steel, air-tight unit, accessed only by a 7-digit pin number and retinal scan. I’m not taking any chances. I’m in a position of authority and therefore doubly open to sabotage.
So don’t try anything.