Judi Dench is so right: living with Mum can be fun

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 17, 2011 in Rat News | Subscribe

Rebecca also contributed her talents. She kept a very sharp eye on me when I
left home for the evening – “Yes, Mum, those shoes are gorgeous. Can I
borrow them some time?” When I was unsure about which dress to wear, she
would select the right one, zip me up when I left and unzip me on my return.
And she contributed practical gifts, a new washing machine when the old one
became too temperamental, a pair of Louboutins that I would never have
splashed out on. Best of all, she would give me a hug when she knew I needed
one. And suggest an outing to the movies when Jim had to work late.

Television caused some of our few battles. Partly because I needed the volume
turned far higher than they did. And our favourite viewing seldom coincided.
For me, it was Antiques Roadshow. For them it was rugby. And when they
watched rugby, it wasn’t just a spectator sport. Jim would roar, and punch
the air and sigh gustily as if he had a crowd of thousands around him,
instead of one mystified mother-in-law wondering whether someone had just
been killed on the pitch. The solution was easy. They had their own
television in their bedroom, and I had one in mine. Though I still preferred
the evenings when they hired a DVD and we could watch together.

They were brilliant cooks: I happily gave up the kitchen to them, and in
return they would include me in the Thai masterpieces they prepared. We
celebrated each others’ birthdays in style, with a table full of presents,
and a cake, and photographs taken. That was our time together, all of us.
But of course they needed time alone together, and I hope I respected that.

For some families, the moment to separate arrives with the first baby. In our
case, the parting was triggered by rats. Jim had a penchant for unusual
pets. He left the snake behind for his own mother to look after, thank
heavens. But he and Becca somehow persuaded me that pet rats could be
cuddly.

I agreed to visit a pet shop with them to see how sweet the baby rats were,
nestled to their mums. Becca vowed that I would never see them out of their
cage (and I never did, although I heard later that they used to let them
crawl all over them while they were watching the television in their room).
So I agreed.

But I never learnt to love the rats, and Jim and Becca knew that. So the time
came when they decided that they and the rodents should move on.

When Jim and Becca found a flat of their own, I missed them terribly. The
lights went out one by one. Crucial rugby matches came and went without my
noticing. I had to ask taxi drivers to zip me into my evening dresses. We
still enjoy each others’ company, but now it takes a bus journey for us to
meet. Yes, I can watch television at whatever level I prefer and, yes, my
Louboutins are mine and mine alone. But I miss the raucous laughter in my
kitchen and the roars from the rugby fan on my sofa. Although I absolutely
do not miss the rats.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/8894270/Judi-Dench-is-so-right-living-with-Mum-can-be-fun.html

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