Left hanging on the telephone

Rebecca Moore

Rebecca Moore

First published in Columns Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Columnist

Phoning my mother is always an interesting experience. We inhabit very different worlds: hers is a quiet, rural existence, free from the internet and any real trouble from the outside world such as all that nonsense about wars, and terrorism and Google Glass.

Mine is in a city where small talk in a coffee shop can very easily turn into a dissertation on metaphysics and the dubious future of social media.

The only thing that tweets in mother’s world are the blue tits in the Honeysuckle.

“DAVID!” she screeched when answering the phone last time I called. “Mum, I…”

“DAVID!” she screamed again, directly into my ear-drum, though it was clearly intended for her partner, Dave, who was apparently in another universe.

“Mu…”

“Oh. He’s put this pan onto boil and then he’s – DAVID! – he’s forgotten about it. I’m not on the cordless or I’d…”

We went on like this for a good minute. My hearing diminished considerably and David was still nowhere within shouting distance. Admittedly, shouting distance for David is only two metres, given his terrible hearing. Of course, he wears a hearing aid, which he never quite remembers to switch on.

Mother finally conceded that the pan was still boiling and David was not going to do anything about it and walked the five metres across the kitchen to turn it off. She then marched into the garden, where I could hear her voice growing smaller and smaller as she disappeared after him.

Meanwhile, I dangled patiently at the end of the phone, hoping she’d remember to come back and at least give me the sweet release of replacing the handset.

Even so, I like phone calls with my mother. They tend to be entertaining, and crucially, we tend to get on better when there’s a phone line between us.

But this weekend, I have promised to make my quarterly trip home. I like reappearing in Norfolk – it’s like a magic trick: the locals look shocked by my initial reappearance, wonder for a moment how I got here (very few ever leave Norfolk, let alone return), and then shake their heads incredulously before carrying on about their day. But coming home also entails maintaining peace with mother. It’s not that we argue: we terrorise one another. But this weekend, there’ll be no phone line to save me, I’m face to face with my closest ally and my dearest foe. Wish me well. I’ll let you know how it goes…

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Toys to snap up this Christmas

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

Jaine Blackman asks which toys parents should snap up now to avoid disappointed faces this Christmas

Eat your way to a fit, strong and healthy body

Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

Keeping Fit with Lisa Cuerden

Get out your hankies to fight flu bug

Oxford Mail: Renee Watson

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

"As with all viruses, unfortunately antibiotics will be completely ineffective" writes Renee Watson

Women are minding their own businesses

Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

"Most importantly if you believe you can do it, go for it" writes Gill Oliver

Enjoy the quiet side of Ibiza in winter

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

During peak season, prices can be astronomical in Ibiza. But once the crowds have gone home, hotel rates drop and the Spanish island is at its best, says Sarah Marshall

Caroleena Elphinstone had a dream - now she's living it

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

‘Nanna’ tells Jaine Blackman why she decided to drop out of her middle-aged world and see what lies far beyond its borders

Miriam Margolyes checks out a new role

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

Oxford High School old girl Miriam Margolyes talks to Jaine Blackman about her about her new role in Trollied, scrapping with Arnold Schwarzenegger and why she’ll never use Twitter

'Is dinner worth the effort?'

Oxford Mail: Rebecca Moore

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

Rebecca Moore is Oxford Savvy

Just how not to spend a day off

Oxford Mail: Katherine Rees

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

"We may have procured a couple of bags of bargain peanuts but at what cost?" writes Katherine Rees

Why war makes us want to shop

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

Rebecca Moore ponders on what the Christmas ads have to do with the stores they represent

Once upon a storytime

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

Sarah Mayhew Craddock is a mum about town

Us new mums are just doing our best

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

Sarah Mayhew Craddock is a mum about town

Oxford unites as the lights go on

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Friday 21st November 2014

Sarah Mayhew Craddock gets all set for the start of the Christmas Light Festival

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree