A Postcard From Withernsea


I had a lovely year manifesting myself through the corporeal form of my nephew Michael. And there is a lot of written material that he needs to get off his arse and start editing into something coherent, like he ruddy well said he would. But just as we were getting into it all he only went and decided that he “needs a little time to think things over.” I turned around to him and said “its funny how quick the milk turns sour, isn’t it? Isn’t it?” And when he couldn’t think of a decent reply, I added “I don’t know about a little time…  You need a little room… For your big head”  Then I poked him in the ribs a couple of times and repeated “Don’t you?” while I did it.

Any road, you are dead a ruddy long time. And I’m not wasting too much of it hanging around waiting for him to get his act together. So I thought that I might as well spend some of it somewhere nice. So I am currently lodging in Withernsea, in the olden days, well before that useless lump of a nephew of mine was born.

But I know that there are a few people missing my pearls of wisdom, and it has been nice to hear from them. So I persuaded him to don the tights once again, just so that I could send you this postcard. Luckily, he still keeps a bottle of sherry on top of the cupboard next to the fridge, so it was worth the effort.

He reckons he will get around to that editing with me some time in the not too distant future, but at the moment, its all about that ruddy silly pop group of his. He is spending all his time  time cataloguing and writing about the 50 songs he has written over the past few years. And he says that he doesn’t need my help with that thank you very much.

Charming! Seeing as I am the one who trained his ruddy fingers to type out five hundred words in less than an hour, and trained his ruddy brain to make sure that at least three hundred of them weren’t complete shite.

And, to add insult to injury, he has decided not to serialise any of that stuff on the internet, because he wants it to have a ruddy impact when he releases it to a world that doesn’t care. He was born too late that one. Hardly anyone bothers reading more than a couple of hundred words at a time these days, not since they invented that ruddy U-bend Tube thing anyway.

Mind you. They come in handy for some things. Like the time my Raymond got drunk and was sick down the toilet. The plumber only managed to fish his dentures out because they got stuck in the U-boat, They were as good as new too, after we had rinsed them out in TCP.

Anyway. My Raymond isn’t staying in Withernsea with me. He’s still pining for that Muriel Dewlap, although I don’t think that she is as interested as she was after she first passed over. Especially now that that Val Doonican has arrived on the scene. Apparently she once had a fling with him whilst he was appearing at the Futurist in Scarborough, and she fancies that he might want to posthumously rekindle the flame. Aye, her and a couple of hundred others. I reckon he has got enough on his plate at the ruddy moment, and he will have rekindled a fair few flames before he gets around to her. If ever.

Any road, I have been enjoying the company of one of them minstrels here at the seaside. And before you ask, no I don’t know what ruddy colour he is because I have never seen him without his makeup on. Not that it makes any difference to me anyway. But he’s a bit shy about things like that. I said to him, I said “I don’t know what your thinking about my baby, it don’t matter if your black or white.” I fancied that ruddy Rudolph Valentino, and he was black AND white.

I got a parcel from a Punch and Judy man from America the other day. Trying to get me to do fortunes again.  It was a ruddy rum looking Tarot pack, and that was in black and white too. I might use it yet. But I’ll probably not serialise it on the ruddy internet because our Michael says that we might run into copyright problems. Mind you If he ever lets me back into the light entertainment industry, then it might come in handy. You never know.

Well, I shall love you and leave you all for now, with these time honoured words…

Having a lovely time… wish you were here.

But don’t go doing “anything stupid” in your haste to join me.

God bless,

Auntie Doris.

April May June

IMG_0204-0Hello. This is Mike. Auntie Doris’s ruddy stupid nephew. I have not let her manifest herself this week, because I wanted to talk to you without her feeling the need to put her two penn’orth in.
I wanted to talk to you about April May, Doris’s younger sister. Doris has told a few stories about April May in her time, and dropped a few hints too. Half of them are just her blend of fantasy, romance and nonsense. I learned to take everything she says with a pinch of salt shortly after she contacted me from the other side. I expect that anyone who has read much of her ramblings has come to the same understanding.
Doris and I have an agreement by which we change the names and circumstances of many of the people we talk about, to protect the innocent. We have altered the details of some people a lot, and others just a little. April May is our name for a woman called June. (Do you see what we did there?) June is Doris’s younger sister (never mind anything else she might suggest.) She is also my mother.
June shares a lot of characteristics with Auntie Doris; a no nonsense approach to everything, an unwillingness to suffer fools gladly, a determination to do things in her own way, on her own terms, and a brilliant, colourful East Riding of Yorkshire way of speaking, full of quirky phrases and funny put downs. Only the other day, she was telling me that someone was “no more use than a weightless rag.” Brilliant!
She is also similar to Doris in her good humour and real care for people beneath the tough “front.” I told her about my new relationship with her deceased sister, and she enjoyed the humour of it, and loved looking at photographs of Doris’s little ‘clairvoyant performances’ through me, and hearing about, sometimes even helping with the little stories that Doris tells.
Cyril is another character in those stories. He is April May’s husband, and my dad. Cyril is his real name, I couldn’t change that detail. He repaired watches rather than radios and televisions though. And he was no relation to anyone from Doris’s side of the family before he married my mother. But changing his position in the family allowed us to bring his brothers, Bernard and John into the story earlier in the century than would have been possible otherwise.
Cyril met June in 1960, he was a handsome 29 year old with a fashionable brylcreemed quiff, and she was a petite, dark haired beauty who was a star of the ladies darts team at the pub they both drank in. He married her that December, a month or so after her mother died. He then moved into the house that she had lived in since 1945 when she had been ten years old. A house that she has lived in ever since. I am travelling towards that house now, as I write this.
Cyril has lived in a residential home for the past few years. His mind is wandering a bit. More than a bit of the truth be known. Sometimes he is with us in 2014 and June is his wife. Sometimes he is back in the 1940s and June is his mother. Or he could be at any time in between and she could be either, but he still loves her. And she still loves him. Like she has done for the past 54 years. Theirs is an amazing love story, and I am proud to be a witness to it.
June was 79 this year, and even though old, frail and often ill, she has visited him in that home almost every day, often walking the half mile or so, in all kinds of weather. She would have kept him at home and cared for him there if she could have managed to, but she always has been that petite woman, and it takes some strength and effort to look after him these days.
Determined, devoted, good humoured, witty, beautiful, and loving. What a privilege to have a mother like that.
And why am I telling you this? Because I feel that, through my Auntie Doris, you already know something about my family. And because you are the sort of person who reads this far. I feel that I know you. So I want to share things with you.
My mother, June, referred to by her sister as April May, died on Monday morning. She had been ill for some time but was determined to tough it out, carry on as normal, and make as little fuss as possible. She died in that house that she had lived in for 69 years. She died with her daughter Sue (Pamela) looking after her as she has done for a long time now. Of course, I am devastated. But I have special insider knowledge. She lives on, just as my Auntie Doris does, in a better place, where Cyril, Sue and I will see her again someday, before we all move on into The Meld.
I know that this is true. Because Auntie Doris told me. And she wouldn’t go filling her nephew up with a load of old tripe. She’s not that kind of a person at all, deep down.
None of our family are. We just like stories.