One of the best things about chatting to my mother was when she couldn’t quite remember someone’s name and had to have a crack at describing them.
I am blessed with a great memory, and can recall whole conversations verbatim. My mother was exactly the same. However, I have been told in recent years, that a person’s memory can be a bit like a computer’s hard drive. After a while, some information just doesn’t stick quite like it used to.
Here’s an example from about fifteen years ago.
Mother: I know what I was going to tell you. She’s going to be on TV.
Mother: Her. You know her. That one you like.
Me: Which one I like?
Mother: Her. She’s on that other thing. You know her. On the telly.
Me: What — what sort of thing on the telly?
Mother: They have tables.
Me: (as if it was code) They have tables.
Mother: Tables, and they talk.
Me: Do they talk about tables? Is it like Antiques Roadshow?
Mother: No, they sit at the tables and talk.
Me: A panel show?
Me: On TV?
Mother: (exasperated) Yes.
Me: What channel?
Me: Are there adverts?
Mother: I don’t think so.
Me: So, a woman on a panel show on the BBC.
Mother: Yes. Her.
Me: What time of day is this panel show on?
Mother: You’re not always up.
Me: Okay, so – during the day. Woman, panel show, BBC, daytime. What does she look like?
Mother: (shaking her head) There are more important things.
Me: Is she blonde, dark, bottle-job?
Mother: Funny. She’s funny. She has a wonderful laugh.
Me: (counting on my fingers) Funny woman, BBC, panel show, daytime, wonderful laugh… oh God, do you mean Sandi Toksvig?
Mother: That’s her! And she sits opposite him on—
Me: Call My Bluff.
Mother: What’s his name?
Mother: Chap she sits across from. Bald. Clever. Oxford. Something like a grain. Oats? Rice? Wheat. Maybe Wheaton? Or corn? (starts making faces as she drags out the R) Cor-n? Cor—n?
Me: Coren. You should see what your face is doing. Coren. It’s Alan Coren.
Mother: That’s it. And she’s married to him.
Me: (had to grab the radiator to stop myself from falling down) What?
Mother: Yes. Why else would they be opposing teams?
Me: There’s a frightening insight.
Mother: No because – he’s a man, she’s a woman. He was Oxford. She’s Cambridge. I think they’re married.
Me: Not to each other.
Mother: Yes, of course they are.
Me: (shrug) I imagine they both have wives.
Mother: Anyway, she’s going to be on Question Time.
Now, every time there’s an advert for QI or Bake Off, all I can think is: a great long list and ‘she has a wonderful laugh.’
As proof, I just found this on YouTube and I suspect it’s impossible to watch right through without giggling like a child. See what you think…