The Auntie Doris Years: 1905


After all that malarkey with the trawlermen and the Russian warships, the government said to themselves: “Right! We had better make sure that everyone realises that Britannia rules the waves like never before.” So they set to and started to build the most modern, most advanced, most invincible, fastest and deadliest warship the world had ever seen. The Dreadnought.
Of course, when the other countries got wind of what we were up to in Plymouth, they all started it. It became one of them arms races, and like arms races have a habit of doing, it eventually led to war.
But back in 1905, we were all very excited at the idea of Britain having a ship like that in the fleet. Nobody was going to mess with a nation that could come back at them with something like that. An invincible ship, bristling with ruddy guns. That was the ticket.
My mother turned 13 that year. Already she was beginning to attract some attention from the male sex. Not lads her own age, either. They were too busy pulling the wings off flies, and feeding them to frogs in jam jars to be bothered with anything like that. No, the kind of attention that she was attracting was from older men. Filthy so and sos.
My grandmother had a tried and tested method of dealing with people like that. If a withering glare or a sarcastic put-down was not enough, she always used to keep a soup spoon handy. A sharp rap from that in the area of the gentleman’s bell end would seldom fail to dampen his ruddy ardour. It was largely due to her judicious wedding of the soup spoon that she had keep the size of the family down to an almost manageable nine children.
She was worried about my mother though. She was worried that her body was developing more quickly than her mind and her strength, and that she would have a hard time fending off the advances of the filthy minded. So one Saturday, grandmother went into the town, and bought my mother a soup spoon of her own, and then, on a whim, she took it into the blacksmiths, and had the apprentice lad strike the word “DREADNOUGHT” along the handle of it. “There” she said when she handed it to my mother “If you keep that tucked into your drawers, and you are prepared to use it on a man who gets a little bit too fresh, you will be as safe as Britain will be when they get that ruddy ship finished. With that in your hand, you will be able to say that you will truly dread nowt. And, as far as I know, she never did. And, many years later, when I was old enough, my mother gave me a similar spoon. And came in handy on a few occasions, I can tell you!
Auntie Doris’s top Pop hit of 1905: “I Love a Lassie” by Harold Lauder. I can remember my grandma bouncing me on her knee and singing this when I was a little girl. As pure as the lilly in the dell” she used to sing “she’s as sweet as the heather, the Bonnie purple heather, is Doris my Scots Bluebell” only I wasn’t Scottish, and I wasn’t all that pure and sweet either, if the truth be known.

2 thoughts on “The Auntie Doris Years: 1905

  1. I agree with Marigold, there is humour even in the bleak bits of your life. In 1929 my uncle Frank, who was 3 got run over by a bus in London. I wonder about the little ones where you are, are they naked cherubs or stay as normal kiddies run over by a bus? Always was curious about wee Frank.

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