Sunday, 16 June 2013

Make Mine A Faux Pas

You get one word wrong and it can make all the difference. Doesn’t even have to be a bad word.



Yesterday we went to the Families’ Day at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire, marking 100 years of flying from the base. 









The Queen’s birthday flypast came over and there were various displays, but most special thing about the day was that it was my youngest granddaughter’s 3rd birthday.

It was for family of station personnel only, so there weren’t huge crowds and even the rain and grey skies didn’t spoil it.



I managed to embarrass myself a couple of times – I shan’t go into detail, but one time was walking all the way to the fire engine at the far end assuming it was part of the display and wondering why the firemen were all sitting inside.

I walked all round it and peered inside thinking my husband might be sitting in there with my 2 year old grandson! Yeah, I know – I’m going red just thinking about it. They were somewhere else, looking at cars. Who’d know?

The other thing I did - well I haven't even told my husband about that!

Earlier that day my 8 year old grandson looked at me and said “You look quite nice today.” It was the addition of that word “quite” that made us all laugh. Bless him.

When I was about his age, my grandad’s big sister, my formidable Great Aunt Olive came over from Australia on the Oriana. I rushed home from school, eager to meet her and all the way I practised what I was going to say.

“Good afternoon,” (cringe). “How does it feel to be back in England after all these years? Do you find it much changed?” (cringe cringe).

What I said when confronted with this old lady sitting on a dining chair by the window with her glass of beer was a very breathless, “Hello! How do you like England?”

Now my little mind has probably embroidered and exaggerated this over the years, but I remember her sitting very upright and speaking in a Miss Marple voice.

“My dear gel! I was born and raised in England! How do you think I like it? It is my home.”

Never mind that she’d left England in 1925! I felt completely told off.

She and her daughter, my mum’s lovely cousin Marie rented a flat for their stay. Needless to say by the time she had to leave to return to Australia, I had become very fond of her.

Olive is on the far left in this photo and her daughter, Marie on the far right.



Olive and Marie brought some wonderful gifts from around the world. I remember in particular a gold silk dressing gown with little Japanese ladies embroidered all over it. I wore it for years until the ends of the sleeves were up round my elbows and it was bursting at the seams – literally.


But what I remember most is that first meeting when I got my words ever so slightly wrong.


34 comments:

  1. That was quite a nice post ;-)

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    1. Quite nice of you to say so, Patsy :-) x

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  2. I say and do the wrong things all the time - there are some days I really shouldn't be allowed out. Not only would I have peered through the fire engine windows, I'd have probably got in and sat beside the firemen before realising.

    xx

    PS Lol, Patsy

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  3. A fire engine full of firemen and you thought they were part of the display, Teresa - a likely story (now I understand the blog name)- bet that's the one you made up for the family to explain why you were sitting in the cab with them!

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    1. I didn't get in, Wendy - there wasn't room - not that I tried or anything :-) x

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  4. Awwww love how you practised what to say to your Great Aunt Olive! LOL! Oh but even if she does sound formidable she looks utterly wonderful in the pic!!

    Lucky you and a fire engine full of firemen! LOL! Take care
    x

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    1. She had an amazing life, Kitty - a real adventurer :-) x

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  5. I don't think you need an excuse to check out a fire-engine, Teresa! There's no shame in checking out the firemen either!

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    1. You're right, Sally! I've nothing to be ashamed of :-) x

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  6. Take heart, Teresa. I would have thought just the same thing!

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    1. Great minds think alike, Frances :-) x

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  7. Aww a lovely post, Teresa. I love to go to air shows. It must be somethig to do with my dad being in the RAF and living on Anglesey with our RAF base here too. Love the old photos of family. Have a good Sunday. Caroline x l

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    1. I love air shows too, Caroline - and my dad sometimes used to go to dry dock in Holyhead - it always used to seem such a long way away, but I used to love the Welsh postcards :-) x

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  8. Yes _ I have many embarrassing moments too in my past. And I've frequently blurted out inappropriate things. Thank goodness nothing much recently... I think....

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    1. I think maybe that's where my shyness springs from, Pat - Foot in Mouth syndrome all my life :-) x

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  9. I really enjoyed your post, Teresa, and it made me smile so much. I love the wonderful'quite'your grandson slipped in there. Amazing how such a small word can make so much difference.

    I have a wonderful picture in my head of you rehearsing exactly what you would say to Great Aunt Olive. It struck a chord with me because I have always tended to practise precisely what I should say to people and it never goes according to plan.
    When I was about nine or ten, I wanted to seem very grown-up and have a proper conversation with my mother on her birthday. So I said something like, "I imagine birthdays can't be as much fun when you've already had so many." She was really upset and was frosty with me for the whole day!

    I sympathise with how you felt about peering closely at the firemen, but I'm sure they enjoyed the close attention of a lovely lady. x

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    1. Thank you, Joanna, you are too kind :-)

      That must have been so sad for you, unintentionally upsetting your mum on her birthday. What a sad memory.

      I imagine the firemen laughed about the daft old bat with purple hair (my granddaughter told me this morning that it gets more and more purple every day) :-) x

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  10. You really are getting quite good at this blog lark aren't you Teresa :o)

    Another fabulous post to start my Monday with a smile.

    I remember when I was a little girl I asked my great auntie if she had worn crinolines. As she was very sensitive about her age you can imagine how that went down:o) xx

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    1. Thank you, Sue - oh bless you asking your auntie if she wore crinolines :-) x

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  11. The red arrows have been busy lately. They were at the Cosford Air Show, which we could see by hanging out of the bedroom window! Glad we didn't try to go as there were 9 mile tail backs. Then they did a fly past at Buckingham Palace. I suppose they are busy all the time.

    Love the image of you looking round the fire engines.

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    1. Much better if you can see the planes from your own home, Maggie :-) That's the downside of air shows isn't it - the queuing traffic! :-) x

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  12. Hubby is looking at me wondering why I'm laughing at the screen, mistaking a fire engine as part of a display is definitely something I would do!
    Auntie Olive looks lovely I can just imagine your gold dressing gown, it's brought back memories as my gran had one that sounds similar. :-) She loved hers too.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one :-) x

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  13. I'm giggling and picture you looking into the fire engine, hilarious and exactly the sort of thing I'd probably do.

    I'm always saying the wrong thing and constantly amusing my children with my faux pas.

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    1. At least we keep our children amused, Debs :-) x

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  14. Have just read your lovely posting and have had a real good laugh at the things you said. Wonderful.

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  15. I bet the firemen were very flattered by your interest!

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  16. Cowering in fear more like, Joanne ;-) x

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  17. Funny how things like that stay in our minds Teresa. When we went off to live in Africa when we were children, we went with our Mum to say goodbye to an old lady over the road. As we were walking away, my sister who was about six at the time shouted. 'See you when we get back, that's if your not dead' Mum quick changed it to 'Oh she said, watch the sun on your head.' Cringing moments.

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    1. Oh that did make me laugh, and didn't your mum do well to think up something so quick - children say it like it is don't they? I asked my mum's friend why she was growing a moustache once - oops :-) x

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  18. That made me laugh - but also it's quite understandable that you would have said that. I am sure she would be horrified to think that her remark had stayed with you all those years. Maybe afterwards she thought "Oh, dear, she looked a bit taken aback, wish I hadn't put it exactly like that!"

    I have a secret conviction that firemen love to be looked at. They always strike me as so utterly amazing in every way and I am sure I am not alone. They are among the "celebrities" of everyday life, aren't they. And when you talk to them they often have thrilling stories to tell.

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    1. I'd never thought of it like that, Jenny, but I reckon you're right.

      I do love firemen - they're always so lovely at fetes and things (when they are part of the display!) and at their opening days letting the kids get into the trucks and have a go with the hoses! One time we took the playgroup kids round to the fire station and I had the chance to slide down the pole (oh er) but was too chicken! :-) x

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