That scarf though? Wow! No idea these days why I was fascinated with that scarf but I wanted my own – well I was only eight! Nevertheless I wanted a scarf like that one. I had no money to speak of at that age, and my folks sure as hell weren’t going to fork out and buy one for me (it probably wasn’t something you could buy anyway) – why should they? It was hard enough feeding and clothing my lot as it was… Still, I wanted a scarf like Doctor Who! No two ways about it! By the way, although I liked jelly babies, I wasn’t as keen as the Doctor. I had an idea…
My mother used to knit quite a bit. And there were always loads of scraps of wool around – different colours, thicknesses, etc. I would knit my own scarf! After some persuading I talked my mum into teaching me how to cast on and knit a little. The correct terminology for knitting styles escape me but once I’d got the hang of putting it together I was on my way! Casting off wasn’t an issue, I wasn’t interested. All I wanted was this scarf, my scarf, to be as long (if not longer) and as colourful as the Doctor’s. And so began my wooly quest! A mission, I was on! Every minute of every weekend, every night after school and there I was, tongue chronically out, attached to my top lip with unbreakable concentration, twisting and turning my grubby knitting needles, clicking hypnotically, rhythmically and with furious intent!
Weeks past and this scarf was growing quickly! Every now and then I’d lay it out across the living room floor and admire my knotty, dog-legged, hole-ridden, multi-coloured creation – quite possibly abomination! I like the latter. Old Cœur de Lion and his Crusades were no match for my own efforts! Doctor Frankenstein couldn’t have put my monster together as well as I had!
Sadly, my quest came to an abrupt end one Saturday afternoon. Bereft I was. Robbed of my obsession I was. My tools confiscated. Disposed of. My life’s work in tatters!
All for the sake of a priest!
Father M will remain anonymous because despite being old when I was little, he’s still alive! And no doubt still old… So I won’t compromise his dignity. Father M was of an incredibly happy disposition and I loved him dearly. He’d call in unannounced and make himself right at home! Out came the whiskey bottle (he walked everywhere and never had a car) and he smoked like a burning tyre! Though never his own cigarettes! I don’t recall what I was doing that day but I know I wasn’t knitting… My needles were lodged through a ball of scrappy wool, nestling somewhere at the back of the sofa. I knew the needles’ whereabouts immediately when Father M quite literally dumped himself down on the sofa! What I didn’t expect was for them to end up being “lodged in his arse!”. My mother’s words, not mine! The back of the sofa was part cloth, part pvc and had a very solid base and back and when Father M sat himself down, there was nowehere for the needles to go but straight into the skin of his holy hint-end!
After the quick but sharp agonising shrieks of an aging priest, dancing around our living room, back arched, hands clenching his buttocks, my mother followed, in an excitable, concerned and frantically embarressed state! The pair of them, zig-zagging around the room – Father M, dancing for cover he would never find, from the pain, and not unlike an inebriated tramp practising a Riverdance jig, and my mother, dancing after him, horrified, and with absolutely no idea what she should do next!? The needles weren’t sticking in him as such but they had! Minutes passed and things seemed to be calming.
The outcome, so as not to bore you too much, was that Father M was stood, half bent, trousers down. Behind him stood my mother armed with a tube of germaline and a ball of cotton wool. “Ooh, that looks nasty, Father…turn into the light so I can see the hole…”
God forgive me…