Perthshire Advertiser

Mum’s old habits are now coming to the fore

Mother really does know best


For many years my fridge sported a magnet whose message was not entirely in jest.

“Stop me, before I become my mother,” it wailed.

In those days, as a cosmopolit­an London singleton, I couldn’t have been more removed from my rural roots.

Every out-of-hours trip to the local deli, for that essential slice or two of essential Pecorino, would elicit conceit.

“No shopping lists for me,” I would inwardly smirk, revelling in my highly available world.

But not these days.

As a child of WWII, mum’s old habits have stuck. But where once I would casually mock and chide, now I see the merits of her ways.

Now my life is a series of mother-style lists and, incredibly, through some kind of DNAprogram­med osmosis, I’ve actually started sounding and looking like her too.

“You’ll just have to eat what’s in front of you, we can’t afford to be choosy,” I caught myself espousing to a confused teenager.

Ostensibly still following her school’s timetable, she’s caught between old world and new. Poor soul.

Living in beautiful Perthshire, there is much for which I must be grateful; particular­ly given current restrictio­ns.

From our own front door, we have miles of space to explore, with no need to start the car’s engine.

Exhausted by our one daily dalliances, we can duly admire rolling hills and circling buzzards without breaking curfew.

But this favourable environmen­t hasn’t stopped me becoming the household Captain Mannering, upholding government guidance on every front.

Kitchener would have been proud.

“Put out all unnecessar­y lights please, think of those poor folks having to run the power stations.”

Thank goodness daylight saving pushed the clocks forward last month. I only had to use that line once.

Most shockingly, I’ve actually caught myself regulating bathroom habits. “Just three sheets when you go to the loo,” I trilled.

As when I was a child, breakfast milk-administra­tion is now supervised; no more overindulg­ed Cheerios.

After meals, pans are soaked and briskly hand-washed where once they would have languished in a machine.

Just like my mum, there is a shopping list Blue Tacked to the inside of a cupboard (quite why it’s on the inside is a good question. No one will see it but that’s where mum used to keep hers).

Before lockdown I would throw open the fridge and consider nutrition on the hoof, now menus are planned with military precision. Another ‘mumism’.

A donated turnip has morphed into three incarnatio­ns: leek and turnip soup (excellent); venison and turnip casserole (thank you BBC) and turnip scones (not as good as tattie ones but no waste here).

Clothing too has changed.

The apron, or vernacular ‘pinny,’ is very much ‘of the season’.

Mum was (still is) a stickler for good presentati­on. So, like her, the apron covers relatively smart attire.

Whereas Canterbury’s were the BC – Before Covid – home trouser of choice, I now see the mental health merits of keeping up appearance­s.

It’s said that what goes around comes around.

You bet.

As ever, mother really does know best!

Most shockingly, I’ve actually caught myself regulating bathroom habits. “Just three sheets when you go to the loo,” I trilled

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