Tuesday 20 March 2012

A Tuesday Tale - An Innocent Abroad

My Mum often said she would write a book about life as an Army wife and I just bet this tale would have featured :)
Mum and Dad married just after the end of World War 2, when Dad was on a short leave before being posted off again. I think they only had a weekend, if that, before he boarded a troup ship bound for India. Mum was to leave the UK to join him just a few weeks afterwards and she spent her time gathering together a little 'trousseau' of nice undies, lingerie and even some silk stockings. Then her six week voyage to India began - on 'HMS Andes' I seem to recall.

Mum, like a lot of 'girls' in those days had never set foot outside of the UK, so it must have seemed like an amazing (and quite scary) adventure to be moving halfway around the World. As a child, I remember her telling me about seeing flying fish, dolphins and so on (no wildlife TV programmes in those days of course). But the following tale was usually related by Dad!

Within a day or so of arriving in India there was to be an evening function - Mum's very first. Bearing in mind that she had led quite a sheltered life, plus the fact that her family were strict Wesleyan Methodists and teetotal, an evening cocktail party must have seemed very daunting. She dressed very carefully in her best new clothes, right down to a 'girdle' and silk stockings. Now that in itself shows Mum's innocence, she hadn't expected those hot tropical evenings but still thought one should be properly attired. Then, feeling very nervous, she asked Dad if she would be expected to have a drink - and if so what. Dad said she should have whatever she fancied but the main rule was NOT to mix her drinks, stick to exactly the same drink all evening was his advice - then off they trotted.

The evening went well although, as one was expected to 'circulate', they were separated a lot of the time and Dad really only caught up properly with Mum just as it was time to leave. She was very pink and hot - then as they stepped out into the night air, one big gulp of fresh air and she collapsed in a heap. Ever practical, as well as being aware it was so NOT a 'good look' from his new bride, he hoisted Mum over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and scarpered into the night, with her bouncing round like a rag doll.

Cut to the next morning and one HUGE hangover. Mum looked at Dad through a pounding headache whilst fighting her heaving stomach - and asked what had gone wrong. She'd done exactly as he said and not mixed her drinks all evening - err, sadly it turned out that totally in innocence, she'd squeaked the first name of a drink that had popped into her head when the circulating waiter asked what she would like ' May I have a port please' and stuck to it all evening. I think she'd heard Dad speaking about port and lemonade being a pleasant drink, but only the word port had been squeaked to the waiter, and she'd dutifully stuck to it all evening, fearful of changing to even a soft drink! Lethal stuff!

That was bad enough, but then Mum asked Dad how she'd got home, so he told her about the sack of potatoes stunt. Then she asked how she'd got ready for bed as every stitch of her finery had been removed. 'I had to undress you and put you to bed' came the reply - and as a young bride the pink cheeks began to rise. 'No! I must have done it myself' was Mum's shocked reply - to which Dad merely swept his arm round the bedroom and said 'So did you do this as well?'.

Knowing the disbelief that would follow, when he'd undressed and put Mum to bed the night before, that naughty scallywag had only 'drawing pinned' every item of clothing to the walls. As the girdle with dangling suspenders hung jauntily beside the silk stockings on the wall - I can only wonder at the level of embarrassment and horror Mum must have felt!

I know she used to go pink if Dad ever brought this tale up - and I can't say I ever remember her being very keen on port either!



  1. Now I know where you get your sense of humour from. I reckon your Dad was lucky to get away with his life after that one. No wonder your Mum did not like port after that. Thank you for our Tuesday morning giggle. xx Maggie

  2. Oh bless her. Priceless! I'm sure we all have tales like that we could share :-)
    A x

  3. Brilliant!

    Oh your poor Mother. I can just imagine the embarrassment of it all.

    Any port in a storm! LOL! xxx

  4. Priceless!!

    Bless her as a young bride the embarrassment of it all, to see her clothes pinned around the wall! thank you for the giggle!! Hugs May x x x x

  5. Snort!! Poor Mum, I can just imagine her embarrassment, especially at her no nonsense Army husband pinning her clothes like trophies on the wall!


  6. Hello Di

    Your tale is brilliant. I can just picture your Dad carrying your Mam off.


  7. Oh Di, What a lovely story even if your mum did have one too many l'm sure that happened a lot in her days, sorry about the hangover and l hope she got over it quickly, its so amusing and funny to hear about her clothing being placed all over the room another great giggle......lol :) xx

  8. Oh! What a great tale! Whatever happened to girdles? Are they hanging in some museum of the archane now?

  9. Lol! That's brightened up my day ... sitting here smiling and giggling! (I only came over here to enter another snippet into the playground, but just had to stop and read). Your poor mum! No wonder she was never keen on port after that ... and I bet she was careful at future cocktail parties. As for the girdle and silk stockings, those were the days!! x

  10. Very tempted to say 'any port in a storm' after the long sea passage.
    Great tale.

    Kath x

  11. What a sweet story, and you told it so well. Too bad most of today's young brides have lost that sense of 'innocence'. (sigh). Your folks lived in a gentler, kinder (and for my part) - a _better_ time! Wish we could get a bit of it back. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi Di

    Late on catching this week's tale .. .. but well worth back tracking for.

    Your poor Mum. I bet her tummy used to turn every time port got mentioned after that.

    Love Jules xx

  13. This so made me laugh ... no wonder you're mother turned pink whenever this tale was retold, how mortifying to be carried home like that :) Girdles were the devil's invention and sadly I do remember them and roll-ons ... we were required to have two of these instruments of torture in our army kit! Elizabeth x


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