Been at my parents’ house for a few days. I neatly avoided any fanny-smacking incidents by not letting the kids have a bath, but they still managed to unsettle their grandparents – firstly, when we settled down en famille to watch a Disney film, and my seven-year-old said, ‘If I was Mulan, I’d stab him. I’d stab him in the nuts.’ And secondly, when my five-year-old said at the dinner table – and this is going to sound like I’ve exaggerated for comic effect, but unfortunately these were her exact words – ‘Mummy, the place you used to live in was a sewer, wasn’t it?’.
Do you mean the town where my parents chose to live for over 20 years, darling? Which they carefully picked out as the place to raise their children, thinking they were doing the very best for us? I never said it was a sewer. I said it was a toilet.
And let that teach me not to slag off the West Midlands in front of my children.
Anyway, that’s all by the by. The high point of the visit came when, ferreting about in the deepest recesses of the wardrobe in the spare room, I chanced upon…..
…my Pippa dolls. For those of you under 40, Pippa dolls were miniature Barbies – unfeasibly petite and ridiculously good-looking. Pippa herself was a blonde, blue-eyed Aryan poster girl – that’s her in the middle – but magnanimously she hung out with girls of every creed and colour. It’s like Miss World 1977. Check out that orange playsuit!
Sadly there was only one male doll – Pete, who wore loon pants and a dumbass expression – which led to much in-fighting amongst Pippa and her gang. I’d hold two dolls by their hair and bash them together until one of their arms fell off; the doll whose limbs remained intact ‘won’ Pete.
I also found my beloved, dark-haired Sindy doll. But time has not been kind. Look away, readers of a sensitive disposition – SHE HAS NO HANDS!!!
What she did have was a set of bedroom furniture straight out of ‘Belle de Jour’ – an armoire embellished with ornate scrollwork, a wardrobe with gilt handles, a Princessy bed with a satin bedspread… But in my twisted world, Sindy was a virtual prisoner. She was ‘visited’ by a gentleman caller, a shaggy old polar bear with furrowed brows and a gold chain around his neck, which gave him a slightly menacing, gangsterish air.
I remember having a vague idea that Polar Bear had actually paid for the fancy bedroom furniture, and Sindy was therefore forced to tolerate his company. Where the hell did I get all this crap from?
It’s made me think that maybe I’ll buy my daughter a Bratz doll after all. I used to tut-tut at at their sulky, ‘whatever!’ faces in the Argos catalogue, but they don’t look like they’d put up with any shit from an ageing, furry pimp. They’d shank him.