Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Fishwife


I think we all know the meaning of fishwife.  The archaic definition is a woman who sells fish.  The modern meaning is a coarse-mannered woman who is prone to shouting.
          Naturally I’m not a fishwife.  And nor are you!  Of course we’ve never shouted at our kids…our partners…our cats…dogs…or the goldfish.  We all have nice shiny halos over our heads that never slip.  Well hardly ever.  Apart from the time my dog scampered over a newly washed floor. Or my cat peed over the edge of her litter tray causing urine to leak into the circuit board of the nearby tumble dryer and blow the electrics.  Or the kids turned their noses up at a meal I’d laboured over.  Or the husband didn’t even turn up for the meal I’d laboured over on account of work being more important.  Or the goldfish deciding it was time to go to the great pond in the sky after a small fortune had been spent on a bigger, posher tank with lots of mermaid decorations.  Indeed, I’m mostly innocent of these things, and what’s more can prove it.  I’ve never owned a goldfish in my life, see?  As for the other stuff, okay, I put my hands up.
          It would be fair to say that when my children became teenagers, I frequently lost my voice from shouting.  But where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Thanks to years of being a Blue Peter fan, I simply made myself a tannoy.  Firstly, take a defunct cardboard tube that once held tin foil, or wrapping paper.  Secondly, place one end of the cardboard tube against your mouth.  Finally, speak directly into the tube.  Whether you want to decorate it with sticky-backed colourful shapes is entirely up to you - the end result will be the same.  Your cardboard tannoy is guaranteed to make offenders jump.
          There may be some days where all you seem to do is bark orders through your tannoy in an attempt to penetrate the very different brains of teenagers.  This is perfectly permissible so long as you remember to put the tannoy down before trotting off to answer the summons of your doorbell.  Flinging open the front door and demanding, ‘Yes?’ through a cardboard tannoy is likely to upset the postman.  And the local Avon lady.  And also the odd bod from the local new-fangled ‘church’ canvassing for recruits. On second thoughts, it is perfectly acceptable to use your tannoy on the odd bod – just so long as you don’t whack him over the head with it.
          Anyway, I digress.  There is actually a third meaning to the word fishwife.  It’s a married woman who has a particular fish allergy and turns into a spotty nightmare hours later.  This is what happened to me earlier this week.  So I literally became a ‘fish wife’.  Get it?  Okay, maybe a poor play on words.
          Which reminds me.  My desire to be a dermatologist was only ever skin deep…

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