The Auntie Doris Years: 1985

image My Raymond used to suffer something rotten with the sunburn. Specially after he went bald. Actually he never went properly bald really, (he wouldn’t have, would he, it’s supposed to be a sign of virility) but all his hair went white, and thinned out so much that you could clearly see the dome of his head beneath it. Like a baby’s head, only frecklier and wrinklier. Any road when he got caught in the sun, he used to go bright red, and then after a day or so, the skin would peel off of him all over his face and arms and neck. Big flaps of white skin, like someone had thrown little bits of wet toilet paper onto him, and they had dried in the sun. He was still pink underneath. He looked like a raspberry ripple ice cream. Disgusting though. I think that it was about that Time when I started to prefer mint choc chip. He never had sunburn so bad when he was younger, and in 1985, the scientists discovered the reason why. There was a hole in the Ozone layer up in the sky and when the sunshine came through that, it burned you more. Apparently, the hole was caused by people using aerosol cans, which is probably why my Raymond got burned so bad. Fly spray. Whenever he saw a fly he used to sneak up on it with an aerosol can of fly spray instead of hitting them with a newspaper like anybody normal would. And when he was sitting in the garden reading the newspaper, he would always take the can with him, so that if any insects bothered him, he would give them a quick squirt. He used to say it was more humane. They just felt a bit dizzy and then they fell asleep, he said. He squirted a full tin into an ants nest once. I just thank god we never had a wasps nest, because they would have retaliated. As it was, he just used to pick wasps off individually, whenever they got near enough. But all that aerosol malarkey, must have made the Ozone layer very thin indeed above our house. No wonder he ended up getting badly sunburned and dying of a malignant tuna. Come to think of it, I had a malignant tuna in my breasts as well, but I don’t see how I can blame my Raymond for that, because I never went topless. Then again, maybe without the Ozone layer to keep them in check, maybe the suns rays are able to penetrate your brassiere as well, and your blouse and a good thick cardigan. I wouldn’t know. I was never that good at science. Probably because they didn’t used to teach it to us girls. “All the science you’ll ever need, girls, is contained in a good recipe book” that’s what Mrs Loganberry used to tell us. But then again, she would say that. She was the cookery teacher. Auntie Doris’s Top Smash Pop Record of 1985: “That Old Devil Called Love” by Alison Moyet. I liked her. She was a big lass with a great voice and she knew how to belt out the occasional classic. A bit like Bessie Smith.

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