Monday, 16 March 2009

A Mother's day reminder

A timely reminder to fellow Brits that this coming weekend sees Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday.

It's a bit confusing really because apparently the two terms don't quite mean the same thing, although the former has come to replace the latter - and let's face it, they both fall on the same day (in the UK) - the fourth Sunday in Lent.

Those of you in other parts of the world may well be scratching your heads at the moment, thinking that I've got my dates mixed up.

The problem is of course that there's no one single day set aside internationally to pay tribute to what's often described as one of the most thankless and least appreciated jobs on the planet.

Just looking at when different countries "celebrate" or "remember" or "pay tribute" shows maybe how out of step we are with one another.

This year for example in Norway apparently it fell on February 8.

A whole chunk of Europe - including Germany, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria, along with many other countries throughout the world such as Australia, Canada, Pakistan and the United States to name but a few, set aside the second Sunday in May - this year May 10.

In France it falls on the last Sunday in May - this year May 31 - as is the case in Sweden and Tunisia.

In fact rather than list every single place in the world, I would be better off providing a link to wikipedia - so here you are.

When my mother was alive and I lived in Germany, I got into a right pickle trying to remember the date back "home".

She insisted that it didn't matter if I forgot, but deep down I knew she was dead chuffed when I remembered.

Mind you, she had to put up with some of the most horrendous gifts down the years, especially when I was a nipper.

Encouraged by teachers I would put a rather dubious artistic bent to full use and pitch up with a painting resembling.....well very little really apart from colour splattered on paper.

Or, if I had been allowed to watch Blue Peter (a long-running BBC television programme for children), she was presented with a useless piece of nothing made from plastic bottles, egg cartons and sticky-backed plastic.

Eventually I moved on from "art" and one year - I must have been around 10 years old - I put what I thought were burgeoning culinary skills to use and my poor mother's tastebuds to the test when I decided to tackle a 10-egg (yep you read correctly) pancake complete with several tablespoons full of.....salt (rather than sugar - far too high a quantity of anything in any case).

I realised my mistake before the monstrosity made its way to the table, and in an effort to compensate emptied the best part of a container of pepper into the mixture. My childlike logic told me that pepper would cancel out the effect of salt - I clearly wasn't the brightest spark.

My ma, when she finally made it down to the smoke-filled kitchen (which of course she would later have to clear up) showed stoicism, patience and the utmost love as well as a huge amount of courage in both praising my gastronomic stomach-turner and even attempting to eat (some of it).

Teenage years saw a return to "art" of sorts (I clearly never learnt from my earlier efforts) with a selection of wooden "thises" and metal "thats" from craft classes, ranging from a chopping board, a cheese grater (she proudly kept it until she died, although I never saw her use it) and a blunt knife. Oh yes, I was full of thoughtful presents.

With hindsight it must have come as something of a relief (to her) when I started earning and actually bought presents - although unimaginatively perhaps I stuck to chocolates and flowers - a safe bet.

Anyway this post - and just as importantly the accompanying video (the former is also an excuse to share the latter with you) is to tell my ma, wherever she might be, "Thank you" and to pass on a gentle reminder to fellow Brits whose mothers are still around, not to forget them this coming weekend.

And hey, even in those countries where it's not officially Mother's day, how about turning around and telling them just how much you love 'em.

The accompanying (probably timeless) video is a rendition of a song with lyrics written and originally performed by the US comedian Anita Renfroe set to the music of the finale of Rossini's William Tell Overture.

It's fast, furious and has something of a ring of truth to it.

YouTube Video

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