There’s a big old fashioned dark green steel filing cabinet at the back of the Museum of Recollections and stencilled in spray paint across all four drawers are the words “Being Sick” so I’m guessing that these are all memories of being sick, as in, vomiting, lets take a look in the first drawer…
The first record card out is quite an old one, I’m about nine or ten years old, we live in the bungalow in the posh suburb and me and Ned sleep in bunk beds, so its a couple of years after we moved in and our dad finally realised that the single bedroom that my brother and I shared couldn’t possibly house two single beds and all our shizzle too, so he went to see his furniture mate Pluesey and he bought bunk beds for us, they were pine and had a ladder with hard steps that hurt your feet and because they looked flimsy enough to collapse at any moment I claimed the top bunk on the principle that whilst it was further to fall, there would always be my brother underneath to fall onto.
So one night, in the middle of the night, we’re fast asleep and then I suddenly wake up, I have a fever, and a headache, its dark, everyone in the house is asleep, and I feel sick.
I was just pondering on this phenomenon, the ability to wake yourself up from a deep sleep just moments before you’re sick, when suddenly I was sick, fortunately I had the presence of mind to lean over the edge of my bunk bed and direct the vomit away from it and I didn’t mark up any of my bedding, which is more than can be said for Ned and his bedding because having free-fallen for four or five feet my sick, which consisted mainly of baked beans, had picked up enough momentum to splash back off the floor and soak him while he slept.
Our mother wasn’t best please at being woken at 3am to clean up the floor, Neds bed, and Neds head.
But he got his own back, hang on, it’ll be in here somewhere, maybe the next drawer down for we have to skip forward quite a few years now for Neds revenge, ah yes here we are, its 1977 and for a still inexplicable reason my father and all of his golfing chums at the Rawdon Golf Club had decided to go sea fishing, yes I know, its not the sort of thing that golfers do often, but it must have sounded like a good idea at the time.
So we arrive at Bridlington harbour at 7am and board the open boat that was to take us out to sea to fish for cod and the idea that this would be an almighty wheeze was soon put to bed when the harbour master refused to let any of the small open boats out of the harbour until the sea was in a better mood with itself, for if he’d let us out at 7am we probably wouldn’t have got beyond the harbour wall, it wasn’t that it was spectacularly rough, more that the sea had, in nautical terms, “a swell on” which in laymans terms means that when you are sat in a small open boat the next wave coming right at you is roughly the size of a two storey house, and I do not exaggerate.
We were finally let out of the harbour and the Cap’n of the boat sailed forth into the North Sea with a swell on and after an hour or so he stopped the engine, dropped the anchor, shouted at everyone to start fishing, pulled his sou’wester over his face and went to sleep.
We sat in that boat for six hours and caught fook-all apart from one person at the back of the boat who caught a Herring Gull when he was casting his line, the gull thinking it would be an ace party trick to catch this morsel of fish that the human was throwing in the air and then quickly changing its mind when a hook went right through its beak when it chomped down.
Anyway, being sick, after an hour of watching the next two storey house sized wave rolling towards you, rising to the top of it and then plummeting down the other side only for it to happen again fifteen seconds later, and again, and again, after an hour of this our ned, who was sat to my right turned to me and our dad and said the imortal words “I think I feel sick”.
Our dad told him bluntly to stick his head over the side of the boat and just as he was standing up to do this his stomach evacuated, which wouldn’t have been a problem if the wind had been blowing from left to right but as luck would have it, it was not, it was blowing from right to left, straight in my face – I had the benefit of a face full of our Neds previously almost digested breakfast.
But wait, theres another “Being Sick” record card just behind that one from about the same era, yes, I remember this one, look, its me, coming home drunk again every Saturday night and I mean drunk, I mean that I was so drunk that I’d already been sick in the pub car park earlier that night and had gone back for more beer, so this was me being sick on beer for the second time that night, and look, how fortuitous is it that we live in a bungalow, for when I want to be sick, or to pee, I don’t have to walk all the way out of the bedroom and down the corridor to the toilet, oh no, not when I can open the window and step outside to be sick or to pee on the patch of garden just outside my bedroom.
You may not know this but the herb plant commonly known as Mint actually thrives on human pee and sick, i know this because right outside my bedroom window was a huge bunch of Mint that my mother had planted there in order to save her having to buy, erm, Mint, at the supermarket and it wasn’t bothered one bit by my puking and pissing on it once a week, not in the slightest, in fact, it thrived on it.
The downside is of course that every Sunday lunch when we had lamb or new potatoes our mother would go around the back of the bungalow and cut some fresh sprigs of mint for the dinner, but fear not, for I always declined the offer of more Mint Sauce, the rest of the family loved it though.