Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Domestic Brotherhood of Bluster...

My whole family has been a relentless source of humour from as far back as I can remember. But today, I think I'll write up a conversation I had on the telephone with my Dad just a few months a way it typifies precisely what I mean. My Dad is an amiable gentle giant but of the bumbling variety, never quite seems to get anything right first time around...And so I called...unexpectedly it was my Sister 'Biff' who answered my Dad's telephone...

Biff - 'Hello'

Me - 'Hello'

Biff - 'I'm calling about my Dad's ironing...'

Me - 'No, I'm calling you'

Biff - 'No, I'm calling you - it's about my Dad's ironing-'

Me - 'Biff it's me, Rory. I just called Dad's phone number'

Biff - 'Rory? My brother in Australia! Oh! I was calling the ironing shop about Dad's ironing'

(Dad's voice in the background) 'Rory? In the ironing shop? What's he doing in the ironing shop? Gimme the phone Biff!'

Dad - 'What you doing in the ironing shop son?'

Me - 'I'm not in the ironing shop Dad, I'm in Australia - I was phoning you and-'

Dad - 'Amazing! You're in an ironing shop in Australia! How's that for coincidence? Is that what Biff is trying to tell me?'

Me - 'No Dad I'm not in an ironing shop anywhere - I'm on my porch in Australia calling to tell you something and ask how you are'

Dad - 'Oh right (pause) who is in the ironing shop?'

Me - 'Dad, can we forget the ironing shop for a minute - Have you ever heard of an organisation called the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor?'

Dad - 'The Domestic Brotherhood of Bluster?'

Me - 'No Dad - the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. I've been researching them.'

Dad - 'Nope son, the Domestic Brotherhood of Bluster is a new one on me. Who are they?'

Me - 'Hermetic Dad, Hermetic - Luxor as in Luxor in Egypt'

Dad - 'Ahhh The Hermetic Brotherhood of Bluster! (Silence) Nope never heard of them'

Me - 'LUXOR!'

Dad - 'Lucknow?'

Me - 'Frikkiin Luxor Dad!'

Dad - 'Oh I've got it! The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor! (Pause while he thinks) Is it a Horse? Are you giving me a tip for the horse racing son?' 

Me - 'No Dad, it's not a horse. It's an organisation.'

Dad - (Sounding crestfallen) 'Oh I thought it was a wee tip from Australia there. Oh well son - what about this organisation?'

Me - 'Well the point is Dad - their organiser 150 years ago came from Crawford Street in Partick Glasgow and he had the identical name to you and I - Rory D Grant! It made me think he MUST be a relative.'

Dad - 'How do you know that?'

Me - 'I read a one hundred and something year old book of theirs and it had printed on it - for more information contact Rory D Grant, Organiser, 38 Crawford Street, Partick, Glasgow'

Dad - 'And did you?'

Me - 'Did I what?'

Dad - 'Contact him?'

Me (Exasperated) 'It was a hundred and something year old book Dad! I was thinking we must be descendants of his as there were few Rory D Grants around at that time in Glasgow!'

Dad - 'So is it possible to contact him?'

Me - 'Maybe Dad (big sigh from me) but it would require a clairvoyant'

Dad - 'Well maybe he has relatives you could get in touch with?'

Me - 'That's what I'm trying to tell you - we're the relatives!!!!'

Dad - 'Oh well, I'll look that up on the internet son. You can find everything there. Did you know I can play golf as Tiger Woods on it?' 

Me - 'Really Dad? that's great. Now about the brotherhood...'

Dad - "Oh don't worry if I find any relatives of his I'll contact them and let them know you know where he lives. Will that help your research?'

Me (Almost ready to squeeze the life out of the phone) -  'Yeah...thanks Dad, that would be great. Could you maybe pass me back to Biff please and I'll tell her what I've just told you and then she can explain it better.'

Dad - 'Ok son, great speaking to you again! Take care and you don't send me enough photographs you've taken yourself of Australia. Send me photographs of things which are unique to Australia will you? Like Kangaroo's, a picture of a Koala Bear would be nice and...and a harmonica Okay? Bye!'

Dialling tone as he hung up the phone..... 


I Love the Old boy to bits :)

A Harmonica?

Just for you Dad - Just for you...



  1. Lol! So reminiscent of every family phone conversation I've ever had. Maybe you should try skype? Ha ha.

  2. Dragging myself back on to my chair which I just fell off of laughing my butt off. How wonderful. My dear hubby is VERY hard of hearing and we have conversations like that right in our livingroom, never mind long distance. Your da is a sweetheart.
    Odd little side dad played the harmonica and I have three or four of them tucked away for old times sake. Does you dad play or did he just want a photo of one?

  3. LMAO! That was priceless! :) I second what Jen said... Go with Skype. I don’t use the phone anymore to call my old folks back home. Skype’s free, and best of all, you get to see them as well.

  4. Oh jesus you've brought my poor sainted mother back to mind so clearly!!
    I asked her once if she'd ever had kiwi fruit. Her response: "Oh yes, chemo makes me toot."
    Gods bless 'em.

  5. LOL I would use Skype but my Dad would think I was saying something else and probably sit in front of a 'Dyke' all day waiting for something to happen.

    mybabyjohn - As he wanted images unique to Australia - I'm presuming he actually meant 'Didgeridoo' and not Harmonica. Unless there's something Australian about the Harmonica I don't know lol...

    Yeah even face to face convo's are difficult.

    One of the funniest but most disturbing was last year when I was there and he was standing on the tube supplying my Mum's air supply and she was slowly turning blue. God, you should've seen him try to comprehend what we were all trying to tell him, 'Suffolk? Sulphur vacation? - what? Oh! Suffocating!'


  6. Austan - LMAO!

    And you know what? When you raise your voice and shout things at him he looks straight at you and says 'I'm not deaf you know.'


  7. My daughter is hard of hearing and hates wearing her hearing aides, but worse than her my husband is losing his hearing from many years of running a loud machine and worse than him is me. I blame my hearing loss on a Ted Nugent concert 30 years ago. Sometimes our conversations should be recorded for the entertainment of others. Especially what I think I hear! I often keep the other two in stitches!
    We have to keep our sense of humor about it all though. :)

  8. And I'm quite soft spoken so if my husband can't hear me and I repeat myself much louder he says, "Why are you yelling at me?"

  9. Laura - I'm going the same way myself. A lifetime in the music business I suppose.

    Convo's between people who are not fully understanding one another are hilarious. Even when my hearing is good it can be a nightmare here with my Scottish accent and my wife and kids with their Australian accents.

    It's a great source of humour though :)


  10. OMG that was funny! Bless your dad. My mom is getting there, slowly but we pretend I never said that, okay? ;)

  11. Pretending now Caledonia Lass :)


  12. I couldn't stop laughing the whole way through your phone call, Rory. I am British/Canadian, ended up in Canada... and my grandparents live back in West Yorkshire... I can't spend too much time with them as I become completely exasperated. Which is followed by guilt as they love me so much and I them, but holy cheesus. They never think I understand and repeat the same thing in 100 different versions of the same sentence (which I already got before they explained the first time) until I'm about ready to blow. I could go on, but instead, I shall simply say... your phone-call takes the cake! Priceless.

  13. Rory, I’ve been in Oz for over 12 years, and I’m still struggling with the Australian accent. Just the other day, my husband and I were bickering over some silly thing (as usual) and he looked at me and blurted out “not’tall!” (not at all) to which I replied, “Who you calling short?” The stumped look on his face was priceless! And as for him, he’s still struggling with some of the more “colourful” French expressions I come up with. I’m French-Canadian and we are well renowned for making up full sentences out of nothing but swear words.

  14. CarrieBoo - whenever I say something which 'isn't quite right' according to my Australian family, I am corrected as though Australia has the monopoly on correct pronunciation (Yeah they wish lol) - and then the word becomes a 'buzzword' for the rest of the day. I'm being mocked at the moment because I just said 'Bouquet of flowers' to my wife, which with my accent sounds like 'Boke eh? of flowers' - I won't hear the end of it till she goes to sleep

    Cre8tivesoul - I struggle with the Aussie accent - and on my first week here I knew they had a reputation for being 'straight talkers' - but I was so taken aback when the newscaster on TV did a piece on Prime Minister John Howard and concluded it with -
    'So there you have it folks - John Howard, a Dickhead as Prime Minister'

    I couldn't believe they'd say such a thing on the News of all places. I looked at across at my wife and told her I was shocked at it.
    "At what?" She said
    "At the newscaster calling The Prime Minister a Dickhead" I said.

    "Oh God Rory, you're gonna struggle here' she replied 'The newscaster said 'John Howard - A DECADE as Prime Minister'"

    I could see it was not going to be easy here.


  15. OMG! I just snorted my tea up my nose! LMAO! You are hilarious!! :D

  16. That's hilarious Rory! No wonder you moved so far away! And I can totally relate. My Mother wears hearing aids and I have to say everything two or three times...
    and don't get me started on Australian accents - it's a bit like having a fork run over my teeth.

  17. A Dickhead as Prime Minister! That's beautiful! LMAO!

  18. Oh, what a hilarious post! Years ago, I came home from work and lamented to my parents about the 13-year-old daughter of a co-worker being diagnosed with V.D. My father (who was also born in Scotland) thought I said T.B. So, he replied, "I'll bet she smokes, too!"

  19. Oh Rory, this post cracked me up! I'm sorry I've been out of touch for a while, I SO missed your posts! Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on all of them very soon- AND buy your your book!!

    I have conversations like this with my Mom nearly daily- due to her two hearing aids...oh, it drives me NUTS sometimes! I wish I had your flair for writing. You are AWESOME!


  20. Rory, I downloaded your book and loved it. I read it in a oner....couldn't put it down. Very poignant, honest and ultimately optimistic. Can't wait for more stories. Marian

  21. So, so sorry everyone - I have only just got back from hospital after being electrocuted again. FINALLY they have worked out what's wrong with my arm and hand and I'll be heading for surgery soon.

    Thank you ever so much for your wonderful comments which are truly inspiring. Just like my arm, I appear to have landed on a nerve with this blog post - makes me think another in a similar vein wouldn't go amiss :)

    Thank you to everyone who has been so kind about my book - currently it's disappearing without a trace on Amazon but hey I wrote, it and if only one person really enjoys it - then it's mission accomplished :)

    Thank you all!

    Now I have 48 hours or so of catching up to do!

    Will speak real soon :)


  22. Fingers crossed (oooh) for your surgery, Rory.

    I finished your book in one sitting, too. You really are a wonderful, vivid writer. Lingering bitter-sweetness. There are chapters I will be reading again, certain aspects really resonate with me. I knew they would. On a side note: I didn't see the 'last chapter' you had posted on your blog included in there, which isn't a big deal, as I have read it (obviously). ;) But I am interested in the characters you met and the events leading up to that. Maybe you decided that was another story/book, all together.

    Take care. No trying to type with your feet!

  23. your affection for him is palpable

  24. Love it! Your Dad sounds a lovely man. The funniest thing I've read in days. Thanks, Rory.

  25. Carrie Boo - Aaaargh - The last chapter was written and contained 'format errors' for the Kindle - so I pulled it and tried reformatting it - I thought it had gone through :( Obviously not - I'm looking into it now - OMG This is a disaster - Thank you for bringing it to my attention!


  26. Maybe you can make a bonus special feature when you're all better-er. (Formatting sounds tricky... eeeh). No worries!