The Christmas and New Year holiday tends to make us very nostalgic and I’ve found myself thinking about family rules over the last few days. It’s said we all change into our mothers eventually and I can actually hear my mum’s voice in my head – especially when she was telling me off!
On Christmas morning, Robin had a long hot shower and managed to flood the bathroom by leaving the tap running in the sink! Every towel that we own is kept on a shelf in the bathroom and so they were all soaking wet. We threw them on the floor to help mop up the flood, just as it was heading for the top of the stairs! Nancy watched in disbelief as the tide moved towards her. This left us with several sodden towels and I put them all in the washing machine. This was when I could hear my mother’s voice – ‘you don’t put washing out on Christmas Day’. But we had no choice and so out they all went and I’m sure both my mum and Robin’s mum were looking down and tutting at me!
I’d noticed my mum’s voice several times in the long hot Lanzarote summer. When we were children and the sun was shining, my mother would shoo us out to get some fresh air! ‘You don’t want to be inside on a day like this,’ she’d say. Of course, now we live here, we know that’s exactly where you should be! The house is cool and dark and just where we and the cat should be during the heat of the day. But it’s hard to fight that little voice telling me I should be outside!
My mum’s other constant reminder would be to go to loo before you leave home. I can remember her quite clearly asking me if I needed the loo when I was in my thirties! But I do always go the loo before we go out – years of conditioning can’t be undone.
My mother was obsessed with airing your clothes and when I was a student, every conversation revolved around looking after myself, airing my sheets and wearing a vest. I was at Bristol which has one of the dampest climates in the UK so she did have a point. It also made me realise how much I hate being cold and damp and that all lead to us moving to the fabulous Lanzarote climate.
I can also hear my mum saying that you should never put new shoes on the table, never give a knife as present (unless the person gives you a coin back) and always cross a new born baby’s palm with silver. Pearls are for tears (in other words if you give pearls as a present, it will end in tears) and, perhaps my favourite, if you pull faces (which I did as a child) you’d be stuck like that if the wind changed!
I bet many of us can remember our mums telling us to take our coats off when we’re inside or ‘you won’t feel the benefit when you go out’. There is a lot of wisdom in these sayings and it’s very hard to fight against that voice in your head!