What a grey day! It’s the second of June and it might as well be November in the south-east of England. I do love this country, and that includes our eccentric weather in all its moods – but saucepan-grey-everything is probably my least favourite especially when it’s been going on for what feels like a week. Where is summer?
A grey day can be poetic, of course, if you are in the right surroundings: mist-shrouded Yorkshire dales, perhaps; an icy fretwork of shapes around the docks on an Autumn morning; the lawn of a country house under a murky drizzle; roses, scarlet against a stormy sky, battered by rain. But a couple of hundred brownish brick box houses, all very much the same, segmented by unmade roads like a series of uncombed partings – it’s not a view to be savouring on a cold, grey summer (yes, summer) day.
All of which leads me, non-sequitur fashion, into recalling a certain joyously effeminate Northern comedian called Larry Grayson, who never missed an opportunity to trill “Oooh, what a gay day”. Alternatively: “Seems like a nice boy!” or “Everard! Shut that door!”
Catchphrases do nothing for me. Stand-up comedians do nothing for me either. Presumably I have some sort of a sense of humour (if I was entirely and smugly convinced I’d got one I probably wouldn’t have) but one person standing up on a stage delivering a quick-fire stream of gags has the same numbing effect on me as golf tournaments, snooker, darts, football, people hoping to sell me double-glazing or reclaim, for a fee, the millions they are sure I must be owed in PPI insurance, and the results of the National Lottery. However, Larry Grayson was very popular in his day and so must catchphrases be, since people repeat them ad nauseam.
Which made me think – do I have catchphrases? Surely not. The trouble is there’s no one here but the cats to record or savour any quaint little phrases of mine, but if they spoke any other language than ‘food’ I’m guessing they would be subjected to:
How much more of this?
Dear God, not again!
Which one of you did that? George?
Do I never get to sit down?
And as for my relatives, Grandad – possibly the gloomiest man on the planet, with a sense of humour so very dry that most people failed to notice it – would be saying:
Can I say something now?
If I’m spared.
Oh Lord, how am I going to get rid of that? (Particularly, and ungraciously, when somebody made him a gift of something, like a home-made sponge cake.)
Mum would be sighing:
I’ve given you the best years of my life and look how you repay me! or
What would your catchphrase be?