Saturday, 19 February 2011

The quality of playfulness

I was musing this morning (as one does) about the various men I'd had in my life ('had' not being the operative word here, if you know what I mean. That's a topic for another day!), and wondering what it was that had drawn me to them. And quite apart from the way they looked, there was one quality that stuck out from all the rest: playfulness.

My ex-husband (who bore the same first name as Mr Grumpy), although a lying, thieving, unfaithful SOB, nevertheless had a great and lively sense of humour and between the two of us we built up a fantasy world of creatures and vocabulary that we had created. There was Fifi La Flouzelle, a stylish French cat flea that lived on Petal, our tiny calico cat. Ex-Hub was a very good cartoonist and would draw pictures of Petal in aviator jacket and flying goggles, being towed behind the car on the M1 on a go-kart, whiskers and tail streaming in the wind, and behind her would be a tinier go-kart with Fifi on it. We had our own language of love, with words too embarrassing to repeat, though I will admit that one of them was 'wuvvle'.

There is such delight in finding a partner, or even a good friend, who has a creative sense of humour. One reason I miss my friend Louise, who died 18 months ago, so much is that she, being a fantasy writer, could create whole universes in which I could join her on an adventure.

Mr G is also playful and funny. We also have our own little world populated by characters such as Arnie Schwartzerpigeon and The Fearsome Jock McWibble (if you're on Facebook, Lemmy the Lemur will soon be having an encounter with him!), and we also have words which we have invented, which are only ever used between us as anyone else would think we were mad!

All families have their inventions and rituals. My mum used to make up little songs about everything, some of which, like her song about TCP, would have made great advertising jingles. Every morning, my dad used to do a little song and dance routine on the doormat before leaving for work. The song was a Scouse version of the Disney Dwarves' 'Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go' and ended with the words, 'grapes with hairs on, goosegogs', a 'goosegog' being Northern slang for a gooseberry.

When parents and siblings die or a relationship ends, all these poignant, lively, touching creations stop evolving. But in my mind Petal and Fifi are still flying down the M1 and Dad's little song is still playing, so they are never truly gone, even if Arnie is no more and I never, thank God, have to say 'wuvvle' any more.

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