Castle Pillock: A Good Night's Sleep

Castle Pillock is quiet again.

I am more blessed than I deserve to be by the fact that both my kids choose to come home for Christmas, and one of them now brings his other half.  I am glad of heart to have had the Princess home from Uni for the entire vacation.  I am delighted beyond measure that the four of us will be together in New York next Christmas.(Did I mention we’re going to New York next Christmas?  I may
have done.  Only fair to warn you, if you stick around I may well mention it again. 
Several times.)

But Castle Pillock is quiet again.  The bliss.

It’s the little things.  Knowing there will still be bread in the bread bin and milk in the fridge in the morning.  There will still be hot water whenever I want a bath. There will not be a mug with congealing tea in it on the landing windowsill. 

‘Why is there a mug with congealing tea in it on the
landing windowsill?’

‘Uh?’

As when the Scion used to come home for the vac, my mind has spent the last month slipping back into day to day Princess worry mode.  When she’s at uni, I don’t know where she is nights or who she’s with or how she’s getting home.  So there’s nothing I can do and I get a good night’s sleep.  She’s back on home turf,
going out with mates she’s known for years, and I’m listening to the World
Service on Radio 4 at 3am wondering where the muffins she’s got to. 

Of course, 3am is nothing when you don’t go out until after nine.  When I were a
sprout, we were working it by half-past seven, because it was last orders at half
past ten on a Saturday.  Unless you were at the one and only Club, where they charged you next week’s food money for a rum and coke and chucked you out at midnight.

At least I know she’ll get a taxi home.  (‘Not one of those Ubers.  Don’t get one of those Ubers.  And make sure anything at the rank has the proper licence doodah on the front and the photo licence thing on the dashboard.  Wait for a woman driver.’  ‘Shut up, Mum.’)  We only live about quarter of an hour from
the city centre, so when the Scion was back for the holidays, he used to walk,
or more often crawl, home.

He only got beaten up once, not particularly severely, and that was because he was stupid enough to visit a place no-one without specific family connections should go after dark.  The thing I used to worry about was the river.

We have two rivers in our lovely city.  One is pretty wide and fast flowing and if
you fall in the chances are you won’t come out.  The other is smaller and sluggish but still deep and if you’re drunk and you fall in, you still won’t come out.  Every year people die in the rivers, some by accident, some by design.  Mostly they’re young men, arsing about after having a few, either slipping off something or deciding they’re man enough to swim across the Ouse.  One way or another, drink is usually involved.

The Scion has always been a happy drunk.  On his first vacation back, he was weaving his way home in the early hours when sheer exuberance at it being Christmas, at there being snow, at being home when he’d spent three months in a damp room in the arse end of south London, all got the better of him as he passed the city walls with their gently sloping banks of grass.

Apparently the policeman said, ‘Are you all right, lad?’

‘Yes thank you, officer.’

‘What the fuck are you doing, lad?’

‘I’m making snow angels, officer.’

‘Have you got a home to go to, lad?’

‘Yes, officer.’

‘Then piss off back to it.’

On another occasion I looked out of my bedroom window at ridiculous o’clock and saw him sitting on the kerb, under the streetlamp.  We live in the kind of neighbourhood where bellowing out of the window is frowned on, so I went downstairs. 

‘What are you doing?’

‘I’m talking to a hedgehog.’

‘Get inside.’

The route from town to our house includes a bridge over the smaller river, the Foss.  By the bridge there is a small section of river bank where we used to go when they were small, to feed the ducks and geese.  I have a photo of them both fleeing in terror from an indignant mama goose who didn’t want them gawping at her goslings. 

A drunken boy who will sit on a kerb and talk to a hedgehog might well decide to sit next to a river to talk to a duck, and lose his balance.

‘Don’t go talking to any ducks.’

‘I’m not going to talk to any sodding ducks.  I’m not stupid.’

‘Or geese.’

The Princess has never shown any tendency to converse with wildlife,so it’s the two-legged animals, Angela Carter’s wolves who are hairy on the inside, that worry me.  I’ve done enough hanging around taxi ranks to know what can fetch up there in the early hours. 

So part of the last month has been lovely, having her company, seeing young people I don’t see when she’s not here, falling back into Mummy mode for a bit.  And part of it reminds me why there are bonuses to her being at away at uni.  A decent night’s sleep for me for me being one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

anyone that talks to hedgehogs has the right idea about life. 

 

oh I feel your pain (or rather your inner calm after the storm). Isn't it nice to leave a room tidy, come down the following morning and find it in EXACTLY THE SAME STATE?