Tuesday, May 24

Cockneys , Zen and navel fluff

The Geordie sense of humour is a bit off the wall and often takes a practical form which is memorable for the observers, not so amusing for those with a lack of sense of humour. Particularly if you are the target of the joke.

It can be helped along by the differing customs we have up here, particularly as it relates to babies. For example, it is considered good manners to give a new born baby a silver coin (nowadays a 50p piece) bearing the year of their birth the first time you meet the baby. I’m not sure why, but it does serve a practical purpose of providing cash to buy baby clothes and equipment and if the parents don’t need this assistance, can be saved for the babies future. Plenty of people who aren’t Geordies have remarked on this so I know it’s a local (or at least a Northern) custom.

This line of thinking was inspired by a discussion I had over the weekend with Sonia.

I had been working in the house (redecorating the bathroom) and arrived at Sonia’s house smelling like a marathon runners favourite shoes. So I was ordered into the bath pronto while she bundled my clothes into the washing machine.

Now I’m not sure what strange space-time continuum causes the effect but navel fluff (at least on me) is ALWAYS a different colour to the clothes I’m wearing. White T shirt, blue fluff. Go figure. As you lie in the warm water of a bath too short to allow you to stretch out fully and bent like a banana, you are forced to contemplate your navel. A deep Zen like trance can overwhelm you contemplating why the fluff behaves like this, transmogrifying into a different colour to the rest of the world. It’s amazing really.

Sonia shouted up the stairs with words to the effect of "What are you doing? Making out your will?". I told my little pocket venus that I was contemplating the fluff in my navel and the bath water was now cold so could she come up and scrub my back please?

I was reminded of an incident that occurred with my wife (which I related to Sonia). She - my wife, that is - used to play squash and was in a sort of league with a group of her friends. One of the group was a cockney and always appeared to me to be aggressive and extremely nosey. He wanted to know all your business and rudely questioned everyone as if it was his right to know every last detail. He wasn’t popular but as his girlfriend Janice was a nice lass, everyone tolerated him (just!) for her sake.

Anyway, one Friday evening the subject of belly button fluff came up in the conversation (as it does) and my wife, having a mischievous sense of humour, asked the company if they still had their baby cushions made out of navel fluff. Fortunately everyone clicked on and several agreed that they still had theirs or their mothers still had them (for sentimental reasons) while others said they had thrown theirs away years ago. This mystified the cockney so my wife explained that it is a Northern custom that mothers collect the fluff from their babies navels and make a baby cushion for the cot. The others chipped in with their own family traditions relating to the fluff from babies navels and kicked off a vigorous discussion about what age this activity ceased and the size, washing methods used and other aspects of these baby cushions etc. etc.

The following week the cockney walked in and said “You facking baaaaaaar staaaaaaawrds!!!”

It seems he’d gone into work and struck up a discussion about navel fluff baby cushions and the expected reaction and ribbing took place.

Sometimes there IS justice of a sort … but the reason for the chameleon like colour change of fluff still is a mystery.

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