Friday, 13 July 2012

The Nagging Old Wife ...

East Ardsley is a village on the outskirts of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK. I recorded Ken, my late third husband, several times, talking about his childhood ... as he sank further into the tales, he sank further into his childhood accent. 
This story, based on fact, is about his very first oil painting, at the age of 61. His mother had been showing me newspaper cuttings of Ken, proudly displaying his special cakes, baked down the years for civic and corporate events in the Leeds area.  I was SURE he had strong artistic abilities and, after a great deal of nagging, I managed to persuade him to sit down one evening and paint a Bob Ross-style picture of a wooded valley with a waterfall. I heard him telling his friend the story below, so I had a try at writing it in verse ... just as he spoke it, LOL  (my apologies for any bad language)

Creative Commons License
The naggin owd wife

I've painted a picture; fust in me life
I wudn't 'a dun it but for't naggin' owd wife
'Er nagged an' 'er nattered (near drovve me tu drink)
'Til in't' end I did it, tu shut 'er up, I think.
Now it's 'angin' thee-er proudly, in't room, on't wall;
I sit an' I look: it's best picture ov all!

'Tis a picture o' cats (lions, tha' knows)
Bloody great big things wi' bloody great claws;
Though summat went wrong' cos cats just ain't thee-er:
They've all buggered off, God kno's whee-er!
Now all's left is't watter, 'n trees, all around
No bloody great lions paradin' on't ground.

So 'ere's picture, see, fust in me life,
All tha's botherin' me nah is't naggin' owd wife!
'Er'll nivver gi' up wi' 'er nag an' 'er natter
Jus' goes on an' on, fair makes me eyes watter.
I've done it nah, bloody fool thar I am,
I shudden'of done it (I'm in a fair owd jam)
Cos I want tu go fishin' wi' 'ook an' wi' line;
'Er wants me at paintin' all't bloody time!
So tu shut 'er trap I sed I'd go
Dahn tu't watter t'paint, tha kno's

(I'd hid me fishin' tackle in't boo-it, night afore)
An' I'm tekkin't easel out't door,
'Er shouts "Tekk dog wi' thee, 'e needs sum fresh ai-ur;
An' don't be forgettin t'owd artist's chai-ur"
I nearly towd 'er I'd fishin' box in't boo-it
An' I'd tackle't paintin' if I got tu it ... 

After three or four hours o' fishin' glee
We needed a paintin' for't wife tu see
Wi' true Yorkshire cunnin' I med up a tale
Whee-er't paintin' got lost in an 'owlin' gale
But 'er didn't belaive me, I'd tripped up, tha sees:

I'd left box o' paints in't room on't settee!


I've painted a picture; the first in my life
I wouldn't have done it but for the nagging old wife
She nagged and she chattered (nearly drove me to drink)
'Til in the end I did it, (to shut her up, I think).
Now it's hanging there proudly, in the room, on the wall;
I sit and I look: it's the best picture of all!
It's a picture of cats (lions, you know)
Bloody great big things with bloody great claws;
Though something went wrong cos the cats just aren't there:
They've all buggered off, God knows where!
Now all that's left is the water, and trees, all around
No bloody great lions parading on the ground.

So here's the picture, see, first in my life,
All that's bothering me now is the nagging old wife!
She'll never give up with her nag and her natter
Just goes on and on, (fair makes me eyes water).
I've done it now, bloody fool that I am,
I shouldn't have done it (I'm in a real predicament)
Because I want to go fishing with hook and with line;
She wants me at painting all the bloody time!
So to shut her mouth I said I'd go
Down to the water, to paint, you know;
(I'd hidden my fishing tackle in the boot*, the night before)
And as I'm taking the easel out of the door,
She shouts "Take the dog with you, he needs some fresh air;
And don't forget the folding chair" 
I nearly told her I'd got the fishing box in the boot
And I'd tackle the painting if I got round to it ... ... ...

After three or four hours of fishing glee
We needed a painting for the wife to see
With true Yorkshire cunning I made up a tale
Where the painting got lost in a howling gale
But she didn't believe me, I'd tripped up, you see:
I'd left the box of paints in the room on the settee!

*boot ... luggage compartment of the car.
Picture of lion by  Trisha M Shears and taken from Wikipedia Commons
Painting of river in woodland by Kenneth Eastwood
Photo of Ken, contentedly fishing in the Lake District, taken by me.

No comments:

Post a Comment