Sunday, 12 July 2009

Edna Fry: The Woman Beneath the Hat - Chapter One

Reader, I married him. But it hasn't always been so bad . . .

A long time ago, in a village far, far away . . . a small wicker basket sat plump and alone on a cold, damp limestone step, snuggled against the heavy oak door of a small country residence of debatable aspect. A banshee wind howled its mournful song through the desolate night hills and pellets of rain smudged the spidery script on a single, sodden scrap of paper - 'Please take good care of this poor wee mite for in truth I fear I cannot.'

Our grocer had a strange sense of humour.

Life all those years ago was altogether more simple and innocent than now. We knew nothing of such modern advancements as the i-pod, twitter and crystal meth. Aside from occasional, organised speed-dancing events, during which 140 character flirtations were exchanged with unsuitable gentlemen from the neighbouring villages whilst engaging in endless quadrilles, there was little to occupy a young lady of marriageable demeanor, save for tapestry, flower-pressing and rigorous bouts of self-gratification.

Times were hard. My mother, the novelist Mary Naughtie - author of 'The Illustrated Calmer Suitor - for adventurous but polite gentlefolk' found herself suffering from an extreme form of female writer's blockage and despite his best endeavours, our poor dear father, inventor and entrepreneur, Joshua Kiddie was unable to find a manufacturer for his revolutionary Spinning Nanny. Our parents, therefore, found providing for their twenty-six offspring excessively burdensome. In order to alleviate this burden, they would regularly host their famous Murder Mystery Weekends at the house and by the spring of my nineteenth year only me, my three sisters and brother remained.

My surviving siblings and I rapidly reached the conclusion that it would be in our best interests to either marry or find some form of gainful employment. Being, apart from myself, generally regarded throughout the county as visually repulsive we were severely limited in our choice. We were, however, a musical family - our father played the comb and paper and our great aunt was a harpsichord - and so it was that we found ourselves forming an ensemble, with Emily on vocals, Charlotte, percussion, Branwell ,the mantelpiece, myself the violin and Sharon miming and trying to look pretty.

The Naughtie-Kiddie Fiddlers proved an instant success, winning prize after prize in music festivals throughout the land. Following our Eurovision success with 'Boom-bang-a-tiddly-diddly-i-tie on a string', we were inundated with countless sponsorship deals, all of which, for some reason, were reliant on a change of band name. These potential sponsors were almost exclusively beer manufacturers. We toyed with renaming ourselves the Double Diamonds, the Budweisers and the Old Peculiers before settling, finally, on the Coors. Within days we signed to a major record label and before very long, you couldn't walk into a regency period theme pub without hearing one of our many ludicrously catchy tunes blaring out from the jukebox.

It was at this time, however, that the cracks began to appear in our happy group and jealousy reared its unsightly visage. No longer happy to be upstaged by their younger, prettier and more talented sister, the rest of the band relegated me to the back of the stage where, at the end of a particularly gruelling tour, I fell asleep, leaving my older sister Sharon to mime her violin solo in silence to a stunned audience of Latvian steelworkers. . .

As the tabloids of the day reported, I was forced to leave in an acrimonious split. I sought representation from 24 hour legal firm 'So-U-Claim' and after a tortuous six month high court battle was left with just the band's instruments, a castle in county Tipperary and ownership of the Beatles' back catalogue.

And so, with a heavy heart and a heavier piano, I bade farewell to the Coors and set off to seek fame and fortune alone . . .

14 comments:

  1. What a tragically fantastic start to your life, love it! If only I could write my story the way you have I bet I would be taking bath much like Uncle Scrooge in Duck tales...

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Branwell, the mantlepiece"!That's my favourite bit; I saw it immediately.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh you poor lady, what a tortuous life you have and still are leading, I hope that these writings are cathartic for you and enable you to move forward with your life. X

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hats off Gentlemen - a genius!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am SO pleased that 'funny uncle Derek' did not dampen your creative talent Mrs F!!!! A booker prize in the making!x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your writing is so evocative it's as if I was there living through it with you. Can't wait for the next installment. I have to go bathe now.

    ReplyDelete
  7. *applause* Thank you for sharing the first part of your brutally honest tale of village life in the "good old days" Takes me right back, that does.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am suprised that you did not divulge the unsolicited advances of your brother Jim during your younger years!!! These are deep rooted feelings and will evidence themselves in your psyche without provocation in your later years. Dear, you must let these feeligs out! They may already be surfacing...Those minor bouts with tourettes are only the begining.

    ReplyDelete
  9. xx. So the blogging bug has bitten :)
    What did Edna do next?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Easily the funniest blog EVER!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. having had an uncle with similar peculiarities as yours, but with a thing for gnomes and garden ornaments to entice us to venture into his garden shed, thankfully those memories are fading with time . but unfortunately so is nearly everything else. i digress sorry, just wanted to say im a keen follower and tune in everyday for a tweet update, looking forward to everyday i wake up and manage to switch my pc on to follow you. Oh i hope i dont sound too sad and devoid of company! look farward to the next up date... :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am so glad I found you! Last week a couple of us were waiting for our printing, inhaling printer fumes and wondering aloud whatever happend to you and your siblings. You had quite the devoted following over here in Canada--too bad the balance of the Canada-Greenland tour was cancelled...darned puffins.

    Kudos for surviving those heady days of sound checks and roadies guised as groupies named Len. (Really--did Sharon ever figure out that the rest of you paid the sound guy to show up after concerts as "Len" in that lime and violet tartan trapper's hat and false mustache to fawn all over her? I mean...she wasn't known for her deductive reasoning...nor her musical talent...nor her ability to mime.

    You've obviously picked yourself up by your brastraps and carried on to better...well, mostly better. Stephen sounds as if he can, from time to time, be challenging in that special way.

    j

    ReplyDelete

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Edna Fry: The Woman Beneath the Hat - Chapter One

Reader, I married him. But it hasn't always been so bad . . .

A long time ago, in a village far, far away . . . a small wicker basket sat plump and alone on a cold, damp limestone step, snuggled against the heavy oak door of a small country residence of debatable aspect. A banshee wind howled its mournful song through the desolate night hills and pellets of rain smudged the spidery script on a single, sodden scrap of paper - 'Please take good care of this poor wee mite for in truth I fear I cannot.'

Our grocer had a strange sense of humour.

Life all those years ago was altogether more simple and innocent than now. We knew nothing of such modern advancements as the i-pod, twitter and crystal meth. Aside from occasional, organised speed-dancing events, during which 140 character flirtations were exchanged with unsuitable gentlemen from the neighbouring villages whilst engaging in endless quadrilles, there was little to occupy a young lady of marriageable demeanor, save for tapestry, flower-pressing and rigorous bouts of self-gratification.

Times were hard. My mother, the novelist Mary Naughtie - author of 'The Illustrated Calmer Suitor - for adventurous but polite gentlefolk' found herself suffering from an extreme form of female writer's blockage and despite his best endeavours, our poor dear father, inventor and entrepreneur, Joshua Kiddie was unable to find a manufacturer for his revolutionary Spinning Nanny. Our parents, therefore, found providing for their twenty-six offspring excessively burdensome. In order to alleviate this burden, they would regularly host their famous Murder Mystery Weekends at the house and by the spring of my nineteenth year only me, my three sisters and brother remained.

My surviving siblings and I rapidly reached the conclusion that it would be in our best interests to either marry or find some form of gainful employment. Being, apart from myself, generally regarded throughout the county as visually repulsive we were severely limited in our choice. We were, however, a musical family - our father played the comb and paper and our great aunt was a harpsichord - and so it was that we found ourselves forming an ensemble, with Emily on vocals, Charlotte, percussion, Branwell ,the mantelpiece, myself the violin and Sharon miming and trying to look pretty.

The Naughtie-Kiddie Fiddlers proved an instant success, winning prize after prize in music festivals throughout the land. Following our Eurovision success with 'Boom-bang-a-tiddly-diddly-i-tie on a string', we were inundated with countless sponsorship deals, all of which, for some reason, were reliant on a change of band name. These potential sponsors were almost exclusively beer manufacturers. We toyed with renaming ourselves the Double Diamonds, the Budweisers and the Old Peculiers before settling, finally, on the Coors. Within days we signed to a major record label and before very long, you couldn't walk into a regency period theme pub without hearing one of our many ludicrously catchy tunes blaring out from the jukebox.

It was at this time, however, that the cracks began to appear in our happy group and jealousy reared its unsightly visage. No longer happy to be upstaged by their younger, prettier and more talented sister, the rest of the band relegated me to the back of the stage where, at the end of a particularly gruelling tour, I fell asleep, leaving my older sister Sharon to mime her violin solo in silence to a stunned audience of Latvian steelworkers. . .

As the tabloids of the day reported, I was forced to leave in an acrimonious split. I sought representation from 24 hour legal firm 'So-U-Claim' and after a tortuous six month high court battle was left with just the band's instruments, a castle in county Tipperary and ownership of the Beatles' back catalogue.

And so, with a heavy heart and a heavier piano, I bade farewell to the Coors and set off to seek fame and fortune alone . . .

14 comments:

  1. What a tragically fantastic start to your life, love it! If only I could write my story the way you have I bet I would be taking bath much like Uncle Scrooge in Duck tales...

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Branwell, the mantlepiece"!That's my favourite bit; I saw it immediately.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh you poor lady, what a tortuous life you have and still are leading, I hope that these writings are cathartic for you and enable you to move forward with your life. X

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hats off Gentlemen - a genius!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am SO pleased that 'funny uncle Derek' did not dampen your creative talent Mrs F!!!! A booker prize in the making!x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your writing is so evocative it's as if I was there living through it with you. Can't wait for the next installment. I have to go bathe now.

    ReplyDelete
  7. *applause* Thank you for sharing the first part of your brutally honest tale of village life in the "good old days" Takes me right back, that does.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am suprised that you did not divulge the unsolicited advances of your brother Jim during your younger years!!! These are deep rooted feelings and will evidence themselves in your psyche without provocation in your later years. Dear, you must let these feeligs out! They may already be surfacing...Those minor bouts with tourettes are only the begining.

    ReplyDelete
  9. xx. So the blogging bug has bitten :)
    What did Edna do next?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Easily the funniest blog EVER!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. having had an uncle with similar peculiarities as yours, but with a thing for gnomes and garden ornaments to entice us to venture into his garden shed, thankfully those memories are fading with time . but unfortunately so is nearly everything else. i digress sorry, just wanted to say im a keen follower and tune in everyday for a tweet update, looking forward to everyday i wake up and manage to switch my pc on to follow you. Oh i hope i dont sound too sad and devoid of company! look farward to the next up date... :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am so glad I found you! Last week a couple of us were waiting for our printing, inhaling printer fumes and wondering aloud whatever happend to you and your siblings. You had quite the devoted following over here in Canada--too bad the balance of the Canada-Greenland tour was cancelled...darned puffins.

    Kudos for surviving those heady days of sound checks and roadies guised as groupies named Len. (Really--did Sharon ever figure out that the rest of you paid the sound guy to show up after concerts as "Len" in that lime and violet tartan trapper's hat and false mustache to fawn all over her? I mean...she wasn't known for her deductive reasoning...nor her musical talent...nor her ability to mime.

    You've obviously picked yourself up by your brastraps and carried on to better...well, mostly better. Stephen sounds as if he can, from time to time, be challenging in that special way.

    j

    ReplyDelete