Friday, 5 June 2009

You Couldn't Make It Up


As the computer has been having yet another on/off hissy fit and I've been forced to work off-line (again), I've been writing more (yay!) and procrastinating less (well, sort of) and realised just how much "stuff I've overheard" goes into my books and stories. If asked, I usually say it's all made-up - but it isn't, well, not all of it...

This year, because last year was horrible for all sorts of reasons, The Toyboy Trucker and I have been making the effort to go out on a Friday night. Nothing swish you understand. Just for a cheapo meal in one of the many restaurants in our small town that are practically empty these days (along with the pubs - a sad sign of the times), so that we can actually talk to one another about our week instead of slumping in front of the telly and grunting. And every Friday night, because the places are so empty and the sound carries so well, I can also listen. And not just to The Toyboy Trucker...

Recently overheard (and squirrelled away to be altered ever-so-slightly and used at a later date) snippets include:

"... and I'm on statins and Warfarin and aspirin and me blood's like water and you can't say better'n that..."

"... and then when HE comes home she 'as to perform 'er wife's duties straight away - an' sometimes HE'S that impatient she doesn't even 'ave time to take off 'er Marigolds..."

"To my mind, it was the last thing you'd expect to see in Weston-Super-Mare. Alf didn't know where to look. I said to him, 'It's not like it's Lloret nor nothing, is it? You'd expect to see that sort of thing going on in Lloret even though it's practically like Weston-Super-Mare only hotter and with more people wearing less clothes.'"

"... just listen to yourself. You're setting her up to be some sort of saint. Yes, I know she's only just died but she was a complete cow and I don't mind who knows it. Oh, and she hated your guts - always did - even if she was your mother..."

"So then, once we'd got the pearl barley out with the tweezers..."

"Why in God's name would anyone with her problems want to wear that colour? She looked like a bloody turnip."

"Don't you talk to me about political correctness, I said. I'll speak my mind - I don't care who I insults, me. People should 'ave thicker skins. I always tells the truth. I think it's why people like me. Silly sod wouldn't 'ave it and just kept crying though..."

"Boils run in our family. Me dad was a martyr to boils. Always had pus on 'im somewhere."

"... we went to Madeira. Nice place but we wouldn't go back again. It was full of foreigners..."

"Joan - her with the big nose and the poodle - she won the lottery last week. A tenner she got. She's only been playing for six months at a pound a week so she's quids in..."

"So I said to Nev, you don't want to mix with the likes of her. Everyone knows what she gets up to. She votes Liberal Democrat."

"... and it never even said swingers on the invite. And even if it had we wouldn't have known what it meant because we don't read the posh papers, and then even when that fat girl from Londis - you know the one who had the accident on the bouncy castle who thinks she's a cut-above? - said what it was we thought it was something to do with Frank Sinatra or big bands because it was for their silver wedding and it was in the village hall after all, and you could have knocked us down with the proverbial feather when we realised it meant - well - swapping. There wasn't anyone there I'd have wanted to swap with thank you very much. And, I ask you, who'd want our Frank with his feet? He's never had his socks off since 1983. Our Natalie said afterwards that what's you get for trying to mix with the upper classes..."

25 comments:

Olivia Ryan said...

Hilarious! I really must get out more! I SO miss the snippets of conversation I used to hear when I was at 'proper' work. People got used to me shouting 'hang on a minute!' and grabbing my notebook and pen when they were in the middle of telling a funny story! In fact, I think it made them feel really chuffed to believe they were going to be 'put' in a book at some point . . .

Christina Jones said...

Olivia - oh, I'm glad I'm not the only one! And I don't even feel guilty about doing it. Working in the pub is brilliant for picking up lovely bits of gossip to use at my leisure...

Debs said...

Brilliant, loved them. Reading these has certainly put a smile on my face, thanks.

Brand-ie said...

I love the stuff other people come out with when you are walking around.
We overheard a woman telling her hubby they didn't do peas so she wasn't going into that restaurant. They were listed as petit pois..

Margaret McDonagh said...

Superb!!

We once overheard a couple of buxom, middle-aged women deep in conversation in the waiting room at the surgery discussing the new doctor in loud whispers. One of them confided ... "and he drives one of them Vauxhall Viagras"!!!

Much love,
Mags xxxx

jill said...

Love them! Have you looked at the websites Overheard in New York and
Overheard in London? Endless hours of procrastination!
Love
Jill - I appear to have got my Google id finally sorted...

katiebird said...

(laughing)

Thank you, Chris this is a wonderful post to start my day!

Christina Jones said...

Debs - thanks for smiling! You'll probably be reading them again sometime soon...

Brand-ie - oh, that's a corker! People are just so funny - it's lovely...

Mags - hah! Can just imagine the Vauxhall Viagra - very suitable for a medical man???

Jill - hi - great to know Google will let you post at last! Am just off to waste yet more time on those Overheard sites now... Thanks!!!

katiebird - so pleased to have started your day with a chuckle. We sure need chuckles here in the UK at the mo!!!

Gonna be a writer said...

Love 'em and looking forward to seeing them crop up in your stories or books.

Tam said...

Ha! Great stuff :-)

Christina Jones said...

Gonna be a writer - thank you! Rest assured they'll all be recycled PDQ!

Tam - thank you for smiling

Jan Jones said...

Love 'em, Chris. But please don't mention Swingers. It brings back embarrassing radio-type memories.

Oh, and did you hear anything the TTT was saying during all this?

Christina Jones said...

jan- sorry, but I did think about you while the s-word conversation was going on! It WAS funny - I know yours wasn't... And nope, didn't hear anything he was saying - just did that wifely thing of nodding and murmuring in what you hope is all the right places....

Debs said...

Giggle! So glad I'm not the only one who nods whilst listening to other conversations, and pretending to listen to the husband's.

womagwriter said...

Oh thank you, Christina for making me roll around laughing! Gonna have side-ache, cheek-ache and everything now. You bet you have to use those quickly, or the rest of us will be borrowing them!

Lindsey Smith said...

OMG I am certain I don't live in a place with so much humour!!! It's no wonder you're a writer living where people have perfect lines for a book - it would be a complete waste not to use them. I look forward, with even more avid interest to your forth coming novels...

alzamina said...

LOL - fantastic!!! SOunds like some of the stuff I hear when out on inspections!

the best one recently was in a resteraunt where I was inspecting the kitchen, as I passed a table I heard: "of course, I keep mine soley for use in the bedroom"

Well, you can imagine how much I tried not to laugh with all the possibilities!!

Offer of assistance for Environmental health still on offer as per last post!

Christina Jones said...

Debs - mmm - and we know we SHOULDN'T do it don't we??? But it's not being nosey - it's being interested...

Womag - delighted to have made you laugh! Feel free to borrow - I'm sure there'll be plenty more...

Lindsey - thank you so much. I agree this is a great place to live for - um - research...

Alzamina - oh, wonderful! I'll probably use that one now too! Thanks! And yes, will be in touch for any EH info while writing Midnight Feast - thanks again!

ptasia said...

Nothing like a bit of eavesdropping to make your day ;) I like doing it myself, but think grocery queues (fruit and veg stalls) are the best :) Loved the one about Madeira and the Marigold & hot stuff thing: imagined a woman pinned to the wall, Marigolds waving left and right...

alzamina said...

had to share this one with you!

dear darling son was reading a popular cartoon train magazine in the supermarket cafe. in the one of the characters, percy, had an accident with some paint and ended up pink. in a volume of voice that only a 6 year old can manage, son asked me" have you ever seen a pink percy mummy?"

mummy (ie me not paying attention) said - not recently darling. woman at next table slid under table laughing has her friend spat her coffee out. i, realising what had happened, went bright red with giggles and decided to drink my coffee veyr quickly! exit stage left one embarrassed mum still giggling!


So how did the reeding go?

Christina Jones said...

alzamina - oh, thanks for this! Perfect picture in my mind now! Still sniggering...

alzamina said...

ok - am now absolutley convinced dear darling sonis on a mission to get me banned from every supermarket in the area.

Top up shoppping in Asda - absolutley heaving at the tills as everyone shopping on the way home. Son comes bouncing up to me in the queue from where he had been sitting at the end of the till. He looked up at me and in his wonderful 6 year old voice proudly announced " Mummy, I know what nipples are for". The entire area went silent as a dozen eyes all swivelled to me to see my response.

Ok, I thought, careful here. "What are they for?" I asked. All eyes to son and lots of people holding thier breath, waiting for the eternal wisdom os a young child.


"They are so you can tell which is the front and which is the back in boys and men" he anounced before going back to the seats.


Massive sigh of relief from me to absolute gales of laughter from around me. Old woman next to me said she had not heard anything so funny or laughed so much for ages and went on her way chuckling to her self. The bloke on the till was laughing as he said " that was close love, I bet you were glad with that answer!"


I am now just dreading the next shopping trip!

Sue Houghton said...

Thanks for the giggle over these. Brilliant!

Liz Fielding said...

Priceless, Christina. I do believe the ability to eavesdrop, whilst carrying on a perfectly normal conversation -- or remaining invisible -- is a absolute necessity for a writer. I started as a very quiet only child listening to adults gossip back in the days when "divorce" was said in a whisper.

God bless my mother (who after producing me said "never again"); if I'd had siblings, imagine the good stuff I'd have missed!

Christina Jones said...

ptasia - thank you - and I agree eavesdropping is the best fun you can have. These are all true - and yep, I wondered about the Marigolds too... Just been on hols and walked past a group of women and caught "... of course it all came a cropper when she found out he was really a dominatrix..." Sadly the Toyboy Trucker wouldn't let me hover around to get the end of it!!!!

alzamina - still laughing. Can't you fir your son with an on/off switch???

Sue - thanks so much. Glad they made you chuckle.

Liz - me too! Wonder how many writers are only children who did this? I happily admit to pinching loads of my grandmother's overheard iffy conversations with her friends for my characters...