London 2011. I’m on the phone. It’s been two hours, thirty seven minutes and six seconds but the show is far from over
Da Mudda: Yes, yes! Now, which one is the Delete key again?
Me: It’s the one with the backwards arrow, Ma. Like a Turn Left sign, remember?
Da Mudda: Yes, of course, like a Turn Left sign…a Turn Left sign, yes…ooohh, the little flashing line seems to have gone. Is that meant to happen?
Me: Did you press the key?
Da Mudda: Which key?
Me: The Delete key!
Da Mudda: Now don’t get annoyed, I know you’ve told me…hold on, hold on…it’s the one…umm…it’s the one with…the…with the…is it the big one at the bottom?
Me: Not the big one, that’s the Space Bar, remember?
Da Mudda: Yes, of course…the Space Key…sorry, Bar…Oh look, I’m fed up with all this email stuff, it’s quicker to send a bloody letter for God’s sake! Can we talk about something else, please? Your brother tells me you’re getting lots of viewers on the blog. Is that good?
Me: It’s early days, Ma. We’ve only been counting for a week but it’s looking promising.
Da Mudda: Well, I’m sure you know what you’re doing. All that money we spent on your education, it’s about time something looked promising.
Me: As I said, it’s early days. But we’re getting comments already and we had over 300 hits in the first week.
Da Mudda: Over 300 hits! Well I never! (long pause) Do you remember your seventh birthday at the Imperial War museum? I gave you some hits then, with the bristly end of a hairbrush if I remember correctly, but probably not as many as 300. I suppose that makes your brother a…hit counter!!! (laughs hysterically)
Me: Yes, I suppose it does.
Da Mudda: Ah, he’s just on the other line now, can I put you on hold?
Me: Sure, Ma.
A cacophony of clanking (not unlike that bit in Alien when the monster bursts out of John Hurt’s stomach) followed by a violently distorted version of The Archers
Da Mudda: Stephen, I’ve got your brother on the other line. Can I call you back in a couple of hours?
Nibs: (over loudspeaker) Ma, we’re really busy tonight, I’ll call you later. And could you ask him to call me about the blog, there’s a few things we need to straighten out.
Da Mudda: Well he’s here now. Shall I put him on for you?
Nibs: Not now, Ma. Get him to call me tomorrow. After 6pm.
Da Mudda: Ok, will do.
More clanking, deafening digital keystrokes and mild swearing. The Archers disappear into a Smallbone of Devizes vortex and I once again make contact with the Mothership
Da Mudda: (coughs) Er, hello?
Me: Hello mother.
Da Mudda: Ah, you’re there!
Me: Yes, I am. By the skin of my teeth, but still here. Just.
Da Mudda: Excellent! So, where were we? Oh yes! Now, which one is the Delete Key again?