Creative Comedy Project

Counting the Cobwebs By Rebecca Davison

Counting the Cobwebs

My Nan had a sexual renaissance in her 60’s. Maybe she’d always had a bawdy streak but decided it wasn’t appropriate until we were teenagers. Maybe she just enjoyed watching teenagers squirm. My brother’s face ran the whole Pantone range of red in embarrassment. Sex was not for relatives. And it went into a whole other vortex of wrong when it was your Nan.

My Nan was straight out of central casting - older working class northern woman. She was the bastard child of the Wife of Bath and northern comics portrayals of mother –in- laws. Widowed young she had a deep and abiding interest in the love life of EVERYONE. Celebrities, neighbors, friends, family were all treated to her scrutiny, and her opinion was usually a sharp intake of breath and “Well I never…” as she exhaled.

Whenever my sister and I left the house to go out for the night she would holler after us to have a good time and “ To keep both legs in one stocking.” In the morning she would wait for us and greet us with an expectant “Well????…”

As well as mining everyone else’s life for incident and comment she was keen to let us know her news.

“Had we seen the lovely penis with the dickey bow tie playing Christmas Carols at the shopping centre? Mind he had a lovely touch.”

We would fall about laughing

“What you laughing at? That’s what your call them fellas who play the piano.”

Grandma got the paper every morning. The Mirror during the week, and News of the World on Sunday. It was Sunday quiet when I walked into the kitchen. It was a small kitchen and crowded with me, my Mum, Nan and the yet-to-be introduced elephant.

They were staring at the kettle waiting for it to boil. I mumbled something about wanting a cup of tea and went to slowly back out, cartoon style where the only sign of your exit is the cat flap swinging in the breeze. But Grandma shot out with

“So have you heard OF THIS oral sex then?

Stunned I nodded my head.

“I’ve just been reading about it here!“ and she pointed an accusing finger at the News of the World lying on the worktop.

“I didn’t know what it was all about, I had to ask your Mam.”

My Mums self control crumbled like a badly made sandcastle. Like cold sores relief is contagious and I too started laughing.

“ I don’t know what you two at laughing at, you could have told me.”

Reproachful silence

“Do you mean people do that to each other?”

I nodded.

“Is it a foreign thing?’

“Not as far as I know.”

She chewed over this information.

“Well I never. Thirty years I lay on me back counting the cobwebs thinking there was only one way of doing it. “

With that she took her tea and newspaper and went back to the living room.

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