Great Aunt Gladys is something of a legend in HWIOO’s family – or possibly a nightmare. HWIOO has vivid memories of going to tea with Great Aunt Gladys along with his mother and sister. They were escorted into the living room for their afternoon tea whilst HWIOO who thinks he was about five was left standing in the kitchen on account of the fact that boys were nasty dirty little creatures who made crumbs. He wasn’t offered a chair let alone a biscuit.
As time when on Great Aunt Gladys decided that HWIOO needed taking in hand so was invited around for tea on his own from about the age of eight onwards he thinks. His weekly job was to wash the windows of her bungalow. Then he was issued with tea. This was his cue for weekly torment. Great Aunt Gladys watched him eat. She observed and corrected. Elbows off table; plate half an inch in from the edge of the table, sitting up straight with nose over plate; one bite from the sandwich then return sandwich to plate. Looking back HWIOO thinks Great Aunt G may have been more than slightly mad.
However, the Little Madams are enthralled with the trials and tribulations of HWIOO not to mention Great Aunt G’s savage school of table manners.
“I bet Great Aunt Gladys wouldn’t have liked this?” said the Right Little Madam sticking her tongue out at her sister.
“Or this,” the Little Madam said putting an entire fairy cake into her mouth.
“Probably not.” I agreed. “I can’t say I’m wildly enthusiastic about the performance either.”
The last couple of weeks have seen demands for tales of Great Aunt Gladys at every meal from breakfast, through morning snacks to dinner. That is until this week when the Little Madam was seen in a cafe having cleared her plate of chips, wiping it with her fingers to get the very last residue of chippiness off the plate.
“I don’t think Great Aunt Gladys would approve,” said HWIOO.
The Little Madam paused, licked her fingers, “I don’t think,” she said very seriously, “that you should worry about Great Aunt Gladys.” She paused, raised an eyebrow. “She’s dead.”
“Does that make you sad?” enquired the Right Little Madam looking anxiously HWIOO.
“I don’t see why Granddad would be sad,” the Little Madam sniffed. “She was horrid.”
I’m not entirely sure that was the lesson HWIOO was striving for when the shade of Great Aunt Gladys appeared at our meal times but, hey ho, at least we know that the Little Madam has a way, albeit a fairly brutal one, with words.