Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen

“I said mama we’re all crayzee now.”  SLADE. 


In fairness to Mum, she never turned up to visit me unannounced.  Once in a blue moon she would ask to drop by and I would spend a week cleaning up, hiding a million things, including the fact that my boyfriend was living with me.  And sometimes a number of other strange people at any given time, most of them with aliases.  (Pedro and Budgie? Yeah, I’m talking about you.)

I said never, it would be more correct to say once, she did.  It was early evening and a group of us were hanging out, smoking and listening to music.  We were expecting another couple of friends, and had not yet been busted, so were not as paranoid as we would be in the future.

There was a knock at the door.  I got up and went to open it.  Mum was standing there.  I panicked, surely turned white, said wait a minute and slammed the door.  Right in her face.

“Clean all this shit up!” I yelled at everyone “and hide”.  You have never seen a bunch of stoners move so fast.  I could hear loud banging on the front door.  Bang, bang, bang, CRASH.


Mum, and those who knew her will surely remember this, wore a ring on every finger, on some she had two.  I particularly remember a bishop’s ring on her pointer, with a stone the size of an small egg in it, and a half sovereign mounted in a setting that had the ring standing about half a cm above the finger that she wore it on.  The other eight, were bits and bobs.  Yes, eight, her thumbs had rings too.

We had an old door with a stained-glass window in it.  Mum’s thumping on the door smashed two pieces of the glass out, and she seized the moment.  Putting her fist straight through the gaps, she opened the door from the inside.

She walked into the empty living room, windows open, music playing and a still warm bong in the middle of the table.  My boyfriend sat on the sofa sketching on his drawing block, a picture of innocence.

Now that I am a mother myself, I can only imagine that she was as scared as me.  How on earth could I have know that at the time?  I told her that I was so surprised to see her, and so ashamed at how messy my flat was, that I could only think of keeping her out until I could tidy it up.  She asked me what the pipe thing was, and I explained it was from the guy next door who smoked Turkish tobacco.  Luckily I did not have to come up with a reason for the five people hiding in the bedroom, clutching rolling papers and album covers.  She did not find them.

Mum was a fireball.  The kindest person you could meet,  but also (seemingly) the scariest.  She stuck to her religious values so fiercely it felt like she was not able to accept things that fell outside of that zone.  I know now of course that it was her way of protecting and forgiving  herself from her own past;  falling pregnant with me out of wedlock, being adopted and not finding out about it until she was about to marry my father, a severe nervous breakdown when she was just 25 ….


val baby

Val with her mother

For many years after the fist through the window episode I thought I had successfully gotten away with hiding my life from my mother, and that she was in a way naive. Maybe she was, I don’t know.  She never asked, and I never told her.

It was those fierce religious values that gave me a foundation strong enough to save my life.



This was the same apartment that I had my first bust in, as told in my first Strange Tales. You would think I would quite simply have just not ever opened the door.  But you live and learn.  As we moved onto other flats, we started to have coded rings (no pun intended) and knocks.  One learns.


Filed under Stories

16 responses to “Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen

  1. O M G! How freaking lucky for you it only happened once. Mum used to turn up unannounced a LOT in my various places and would find me in every kind of disarray and dishevelment. After a few times she stopped being shocked, a bit.
    Love your stories Val. So neatly compact, real and full of layers. A couple of words adds a whole new depth and is a bit like a kaleidoscope, we see glimpses of even more fabulous things, and then the focus shifts again.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • So cool that you take time to read them Portia. After all I am your CQ. 🙂 Oh gosh … your poor mum, I can only imagine. We really don’t know what we put our folks through, but that is OK. I think as we get older we perhaps get a bit of an idea though. Not that it would change anything, My sister climbed out of the first floor bedroom window of home, and ran off to become polygamist, she was about 19. I think that may well have topped anything I was doing. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • HA HA HA HA HA! You two must have been a handful.
        I REALLY want to read how that polygamist story came about too, if you ever branch out into her story.
        You are YOUR CQ! It makes me so happy that we are friends and share this life.
        Thank you.
        Portia xxx

        Liked by 2 people

        • I would not be able to do that without speaking to her daughter about some of the stuff, it was so traumatic that I believe in contributed to my sister’s death at aged 42 from breast cancer. Honestly – life has some weird shit huh? xxxx


  2. matty1649

    I can only echo what Portia has said. I love your stories XXXXX

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This was such a perfect little tale, Val. I love it. In a snapshot of that time you capture your relationship with your mum so vividly. What a formidable lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What brilliant knuckledusters your mum’s rings made. I loved every detail of this story, and the fact that she broke in speaks volumes about her concern for you. Glad it all ended well. Still smiling at the vision of those stoners hiding out in the bedroom clutching their Rizlas and Ramones records (insert correct names!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi V 🙂 Rizlas correct of course. Good change it was a reggae album of some kind, that was a big reggae/dub phase. Laughing here, I Dunn o if she was concerned or just lost it for a second because I shut her out. I cannot believe I did that, but I had no other choice. I needed a few minutes. Ona side note, she also wore a lot of bangles. She was the chorister at church, and as she waved her arms around her bangles would knock together. Great stuff.


  5. Ingeborg

    You were lucky, Val! I can only imagine what my loving, but conformist parents would have done in a similar situation. You paint such vivid images of these episodes, love your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To this day I do not know why Mum did not torch my apartment and take me home. I wonder if she ever told my stepfather. I can only shake my head and be so happy that I had a brilliant relationship with her the few years before she passed away.


  6. I love your stories as well! Interesting and colorful pasts make us who we are now, such a blessing! Wonderful to reflect, and thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been an interesting time reflecting back on things, and trying to get them down without losing the experience. Stay tuned for more! Thank you for taking time out of your day to comment. 🙂


  7. I think this is my favorite story so far. And not only as a story on its own but also because it reminds me of my mom… in an unexpected way: as a child I witnessed similar scenes to what you described (preparations before planned visits and mayhem of unplanned ones, including hiding friends and forgotten questionable items) between my mother (she was 26-28) and my grandmothers (from both sides).

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so interesting. I wonder what she was hiding? Your mum surely lived in a world way beyond my understanding, except hiding friends and things from mothers ……. that links us all. ❤️


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