Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Little Johnny and the friendly stranger

We were taking a bus back to Brixton when a man thanked Eva, me and little Johnny for moving the pram so he could wheel himself into the wheelchair space which we had been occupying. Nice, but he then complimented Johnny on "her" looks.

"Call little Johnny a girl again and he'll probably head butt you", I warned him, with some reason. Not only does the boy tend to go into woody-woodpecker mode when hungry, banging his head furiously against anything that looks vaguely like a human chest - male or female - but he has also started trying to throw himself head-first out of whichever arms are holding him.

We're beginning to wonder if the first words following his current kitten-wails will be not "dada" or "mama" but a lusty Scots cry of "Stitch that, Jimmy" as he administers the dreaded Glasgow Kiss to whichever doting adult has unsuspectingly come in range of his forehead.


Beatrice said...

Has Johnny already imbibed your Ampleforth annecdote about asking boys to say "More milk please"?

Francis said...

Gosh... not quite old enough yet, though I do see the connection. But all this is going to make no sense to people without the story, which takes place in refectory (canteen) full of sixty-odd adolescent boys having a rather noisy tea. Up gets our housemaster, Fr. Adrian, who somehow used to keep order in St. Oswald's through diffidence and decency rather than any more forceful discipline. The room falls quiet.

"Please, keep it down a bit. I mean, when you're having tea at home, do you just nudge your mother in the ribs and shout 'Milk please!'?"

Half a beat of astonished silence, followed by collapse of entire audience in laughter, only intensified by the sight of of one of the sixth-formers standing up to explain to him what he'd just said that was so amusing.