I've just had one of the worst weekends of my life.
No, scratch that.
I've just had the worst weekend of my life. Period. (I wonder why Americans only ever pronounce the full stop? I remember back at school me and Peter Bloor decided that we'd spend the physics lesson pronouncing all the grammar in our sentences, but instead of the grammar we substituted in different words. I think we used the word 'powersupply' for a comma, not sure why and I can't remember the rest, but I think we'd seen Monty Python for the first time and we thought it was hilariously surreal - our teacher, Mr Salt, put up with the tomfoolery for about half an hour and then sent us into the corridor).
Anyway, this weekend, I decided to go up and see Mum in Lincoln. I got a Funfare on the National Express. Funfare! What a misnomer, I've had more fun scraping the dog shit out of my trainers. Still, I'd do anything for Mum. Even scrape dog shit out of trainers. Regular readers will know that I love my Mum. She is more precious to me than life itself and all I really want is for her to die happy.
I went up to see her because this weekend it was Father's Day. Which is not called Fathering Sunday, unlike Mother's Day. That's to say Mother's Day is called Mothering Sunday, unlike Father's Day. Which is just called Father's Day.
Mum usually gets a little bit down on Father's Day. She tried to top herself once, not long after he left us. I don't tell many people that, because she told me in confidence herself. There's no love lost between me and my long lost father. I've not really told you about my dad have I readers? There's just so much to tell, but it'll have to wait until another time.
I let myself into Mum's place with the key that she keeps under the flowerpot by the door. There was no sign of life, so I went into the kitchen and got myself a cuppa. I flicked on the TV. She's got satellite these days. Satellite, it costs a bloody fortune, but apparently Roger is a big golf fan.
I flicked it onto Dave and sat down to watch a repeat of Top Gear. I can't make up my mind over whether Jeremy Clarkson is a genius or a complete cock. I think that's part of his universal charm.
Anyway, after about a quarter of an hour or so, I heard some noises, bumping around upstairs, I bet Mum's having an afternoon snooze, I thought. I turned the sound up, I didn't want to startle her and I quite fancied some dinner. After a short while I heard footsteps coming down the stairs and in walks bloody Roger, bold as brass, wearing a satin sleeping gown.
"Hello Barry," he said, "we weren't expecting you until later."
We!!!!!!!!!! We!!!!!!!!!!! WFT!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was dumbstruck. Things got worse, Mum turned up a few minutes later, her hair was slightly disheveled and I swear blind, on (your) God's earth she'd been smoking. AT HER AGE!
Things went from bad to worse, I had to sit there while the two of them mucked about like teenagers. Giggling, she was, AT HER AGE!
I actually felt sick. In the end, I went around to see my old school chum Steve. His wife suggested that we go down the pub instead of sitting around the house. I get the impression that she doesn't really like me, readers. I know, it's difficult to believe. I think she's just jealous that me and Steve have a shared history that she can't compete with.
In fairness, it was a pretty dull night, I don't think we've really got that much in common after all. We ended up playing darts and I was back home by 10. No sign of Mum or Roger. The next thing I know I'm being woken up at about 2am by the The Thing That Should Not Be. There are certain things a son should never hear. I won't go into details, it was too ghastly for words.
I got to sleep in the end, but my dreams were f*cked up readers. I dreamt that I'd invented a new sandwich spread made from Marmite and marmalade, it was called Marmalite and I was trying to sell it to Alan Sugar, but then he turned into my dad and told me I was fired. When I finally got up in the morning, it felt as though I'd done five rounds with Barry McGuigan.
I didn't think things could get worse, but there I was expecting a Mum special fry-up on Sunday morning and then she announced that we were all going out for lunch at the Harvester to meet Roger's children and so she didn't think we should have a fried breakfast because Roger's got high f*cking cholesterol. I can't believe I'd gone all that way to see Mum and now she was taking me to a Harvester.
Roger Leache, it transpires, is a widower. He has three children. Michael is the eldest (about 45), he's a property surveyor and is married to Kate (slightly younger than Michael I'd say, she was clearly something of a yummy mummy once, but I reckon she's let herself go a bit), they have three daughters (I can't remember their names, I think one was called Emily). The middle child is Alan (early 40s) an architect and single (quite possibly gay - but then if I hadn't heard what I'd heard, I would have assumed Roger was gay. I won't rule it out, Mum could just be a cover - maybe he's bi-curious?). Then there's Gary (late 30s). He didn't say what he does for a living, he muttered something about helping out with local bands - I think he might be in the music business or a drug dealer.
What a torturous three hours that was. Three bloody hours, Gary slopped off before the end of lunch saying something about a soundcheck and Roger announced that Mum and Kate shouldn't' have to pay, then bloody Michael parps up that it's Father's Day and 'Dad' (Roger) shouldn't have to put his hand in his pocket. He flippin' well split the bill three ways and I was expected to cough up. He's not even my dad. Jesus, I'm not tight or anything, but sometimes you've got to stand your ground. I was standing it too, then Mum slipped me a couple of twenties, so I caved in. I'm pretty sure Roger saw too, but he didn't say anything. He just looked at me, face like he was chewing a lemon.
I made my excuses and left. I said I had to run to catch my bus, but in truth it wasn't for another hour and half, so I nipped into the pub near the station. Who should I see propping up the bar? Gary bloody Leache. He was chatting to this right n'ere do well. I kept my distance, but he spotted me after a while and made his way over.
"Your Mum's got a few bob," he said, as he sat down next to me. You can imagine my reaction.
"What my Mum's got is hers," I said.
"Aye, 'ers 'til she cops it. Eh?" He said and he winked. He winked, readers, like some character out of a Charles Dickens novel.
Oh readers, how I've struggled to drop that disgusting East Midlands twang. The dropped aitches and gees, a fake friendliness with the underlying thuggery of the market town inhabitant. 'TAKE ME BACK TO THE METROPOLIS,' I was screaming inside.
"Don't worry mate, it's not me yo after worry about," he said, "I'm not the crook in our family."
He slurped down his pint, patted me on the shoulder and made for the door.
It was the longest coach journey back down south I've ever spent.