I have always wondered what the point is in having children if you can’t have some fun at their expense. Last week, it was time to extend the theory; what is the point in having parents if you can’t have some fun at their expense?
My dear old Mum had a new boiler fitted on the wall of her kitchen, beside the sink. There is scope here for an “old boiler” joke, but I’ll let it pass because I love her too much. The boiler had some unconcealed pipework beneath it; Mum thought it was a bit of an eyesore. She asked me if I could look on “that Internet thing” to see if I could find anywhere that sold some kind of prebuilt casing that could be used to hide such a visual monstrosity. It had to be something removable so that she could clean behind it and, more importantly, access the tap should the water pressure need to be increased.
She gave me the measurements, and I did some web searching. I found a couple of companies, but any prebuilt casings were the wrong sizes so our only option would have been to have an expensive bespoke job carried out, perhaps by a joiner.
It was time for a bit of fun. I found an old empty TV box at home and cut it to the exact measurements. I deliberately picked out the most garish colours to be positioned on the visible side; they look great on a TV delivery box but would not look so great when situated underneath a white boiler.
The corners were fixed with a tacky piece of Sellotape, and I took the hideous contraption to her house. Acting in a way that could only be likened to the great Sir John Gielgud, I told Mum I had solved her problem and positioned my invention underneath her boiler. It fitted perfectly but looked like a carbuncle on the backside of humanity. For 5 minutes, I pretended to be very proud of my handiwork, knowing that she wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings by offering her opinions on this piece of garbage.
The intention was to come clean and throw it straight in the bin. When it came to that point, Mum said that it was OK and to leave it there for now. At this point, I thought I was the one being wound up which brings me back to my very first point, what is the point in having children if you can’t wind them up? I guess I’m still their child, after all.
When I revisited my parents a few days later, I was stunned to see what my artistic 79-year-old mother had done. She had taken my TV box, turned it inside out and covered the exterior in white sticky-back plastic which she had hoarded away back in the 1970s next to the Fairy Liquid bottles to keep up with the latest Blue Peter trends. [Seriously, who keeps sticky-back plastic?]. She then found some white plastic edging – probably left over from a 1980s MFI flat-pack cabinet – and connected that to the top and bottom of the box. Finally, she found some Velcro stickers which she used to connect it to the posts on the wall underneath the boiler so that it would stay in place and yet be removable. Here is a photo; amazing eh?
For once, I’m happy that my joke backfired. Maybe there is a business opportunity here? It’s possible that she took her inspiration from the days when she attended the same art school at the same time as David Hockney. As a postscript, and partially unrelated to this blog, here is a picture of her latest painting which I call “Wet Westminster”. I’m very proud of her.