Tag Archives: Penelope Keith

characterising real people

Sometimes people ask me about my past and what my family was like growing up and there are very simple ways to describe some of the people from that past.  The best way to describe people I have always found was to think of movies and TV series which might be familiar to the person and tell them exactly how I would portray that person based on characters from them, how in ways they are alike to that character and how in ways that they are not.  I have noticed that people relate better to the concept of using known characters rather than telling them about a fresh real person as their traits, it is a strange thing to me.

I am going to discuss today how I would portray my parents and myself and Paul as parents based on known television characters.  I will also tell you how Henry portrays me himself, because it is very interesting to look at other viewpoints rather than always concentrating on the bias opinion – mine.

First up is me, I like to think of myself as this kind of mother…

  1. Daniel Hilliard from Mrs Doubtfire and yes, I know this first one is not a female character, it is male, but I don’t think the media portrays mums as fun and flimsy like they do some dad characters and there are mums like him in the world, I know, I believe I am one of them!  I believe it because I am the kind of mother who would throw a party for Henry just for the sake of it; For example, we are planning that the next time we get any spare money to throw an unbirthday Alice in Wonderland themed party for Henry around late autumn some time, not sure if it will be this year, but it is on the cards and we have been making lists for it! I throw caution to the wind if it means fun and making that child happy!  I would indeed hire a city zoo to come onto my property on his birthday if I had the money.  I am very well-known as well to forget the bedtime regime entirely by two hours because we are having too much fun together.  Some people will call this irresponsible; I call it creating happy memories!
  2. Kirsty Allsop, I know she isn’t a character, she is a real life person herself, but to me that counts. I am a very creative person who loves nothing better than to just simply make things, just because.  Anything from homemade felt making to sugar craft animals, sewing, knitting and more.  I am also addicted to carboot sales, markets and country fairs.  Every special occasion deserves new handmade decorations and baked from scratch goods and this is something Henry and I try to do on my good days.  Any reason whatsoever to make crafts, bake cakes or trying new recipes and yes, my Henry will sit down and embroider and knit with me, he loves it and often insists we do it!  We often invent our own board games too.  We once created a Harry Potter board game based on the spells from the movies and made a good game out of it – Henry wants us to sell it, but I said we can’t because of copyright issues.  We also have a different version of beetle we play, it is teddy bears.
  3. Third person I would consider myself to be perhaps, Aunt Adelaide from Nanny McPhee. I can be very (in some people’s opinions) too strict about certain rules of etiquette and traditions.  There is a certain manner people must uphold and if my child is slack there are usually ramifications and readjustments!  I am a stickler for pronunciation which is similar to Aunt Adelaide and I am also country hardy and so you can imagine how it drives me around the twist being in bed so much and ill.  I would never call myself posh and I am not too bothered by loose vowels as she would call it, but I do get rather irked if water and other mispronounced words are misused.  Henry deliberately mispronounced words because he likes riling me up a lot!  He will purposely over emphasise war-ah when he asks for water and if he is not doing that, then he is licking his knife and using the knife as a spoon.

Henry views me differently but not much.  He believes I am like these characters…

 

  1. Mrs Mason from Grandpa in my pocket, a mother who is always starting a new hobby, a new language lesson, a new craft project and so forth and a mother who always smiles even when she is in pain and poorly.
  2. He believes I am also like Mary Berry, a mother who bakes nice things occasionally, speaks well, dresses nicely and is glamorous and friendly.
  3. He also thinks I am a lot like Rosemary Shrager, a country woman who cooks, talks nicely, a little on the large side and tolerates no funny business! He also believes she is a traditional lady who tries to uphold traditions as much as possible; he enjoys watching both her and Mary.  Upon reflection I suppose I am like Rosemary Shrager because I like countryside living, I am often abrupt and assertive and quite aggressive in the kitchen and just like Rosemary I will sometimes gesticulate with the knife I am using which often worries people!  Paul would even add I am a lot like Fanny Cradock in the kitchen too!  I am quite proud of that actually because I would love nothing better than to be an amalgam of Fanny Cradock, Penelope Keith and Rosemary Shrager. 

I can almost hear my grandmother saying “Hoity Toity” in the background at this confession.

How I view Paul as a father. 

  1. A Ray Mears sort of person, he often takes Henry on long walks and discusses certain survival techniques and so forth, what wild things are to eat, such as identifying dock and complaining about the rubbish he finds in hedge groves, teaching (and rightfully so) about being environmentally aware, how rubbish harms nature and us and how it is all a big cycle.
  2. He is also a lot like Gordon Ramsey; as much as he would hate me say it. No, Paul doesn’t swear at all, never heard him do it – but what is similar in my opinion is how he spends time teaching Henry how to cook and will often teach Henry how to complain about things when he is out and about to get things done or corrected.  He doesn’t like being taken advantage of when money is concerned and Paul is a very health and safety conscious person who will complain if he feels a company has something about them which is unsafe to the public, Paul has earned a lot of local respect for this.
  3. Despite the walks and the cooking and moral lessons, there is also a lot of Abraham Simpson in him too. Grandpa Simpson from the Simpsons, I say this only because Paul can be overly critical with Henry, often ignores the best things about Henry and because he is too busy with chores and caring for me, Henry can sometimes get side-lined and doesn’t get to have too much personal time with Paul outside of the kitchen and walks.  He complains a lot about most things too. In general.

How I view my own mother as characters.

  1. She is very much like two similar characters in one, Carrie’s mother from the novel Carrie by Stephen King and The mother from The People under the Stairs. My mother uses religion to justify how she treats me.  She gets very aggressive about her religion a lot of the time and talking about her roots.  (I suppose it is because she really does believe she lives in sin because she is the result of a mixed religion marriage).  My mother’s ancestry on her side alone means she is born of three religions.  My grandfather was considered a sinner by the catholic school he went to, because his mother was Jewish and converted to Catholicism when she married my great grandfather.  My grandfather from this marriage married an Anglican Christian to make matters worse and my mother often spoke of how the church viewed the family.  Because of the mix of religions in my family, I often asked questions which apparently I shouldn’t have.  For example, why do you hate and blame the Jews for killing Jesus when Jesus himself was a Jew?  I never got a proper answer only that it is absolutely correct that they killed Jesus and my questions could send forth the wrath of God and I was told to shut up lest I curse the house we are in with Gods temper.  Social isolation was also another factor, though not as severe as Alice from People under the stairs, but it was still very difficult to live shut away a lot of the time.  Ironically in the past few months, I have shut myself away because of illness; I just can’t even get downstairs these days let alone go out and to think, I ran away from my mother aged 27yrs to get a life and socialise only for fate to be as cruel as her and make me bedbound.  She is also a closet/hypocritical racist, I say hypocritical because she will socialise with other races but behind closed doors she is vicious in her criticisms of them and their races.  Which again is hypocrisy as I found out last year that my great grandmothers, grandmother from 1840 was an American mixed race black/white lady from Boston from nans side of the family.  Nan had always said we aren’t all as white as we seem, I haven’t found the evidence of the Hindu great grandfather yet though, like Nan claimed we have. 
  2. Second character she is like is Jane Fonda from Monster in Law.  She really does struggle giving any of her children, to another person that they may love.  She does everything in her power to stop them from creating and maintaining a relationship.  She isn’t like this with Robbie because when a relationship broke down when he was very young he was extremely distressed and Robbie being her favourite child, she couldn’t cope with that, but to hell with the rest of us.  Robbie has to be happy, us others however, well, not unless she agrees first and my mother has always let it be known to me, she will never agree to any relationship that I want and any grandchildren I may give her are unwanted because she feels that I am a foolish person to have children as they will ruin my life!  So that’s what she thinks about us deep down huh?  Yes, people have seen my mother supposedly dolt on Henry and spoil him when he was born, but it wasn’t without its venom behind closed doors with me.  The things she said were evil, such as when I said I am too sick to have more children she practically threw a party and said great, I don’t want you having more, I hope you do have that problem!  When I announced my pregnancy with Henry, my dad congratulated us happily and he was admonished by her and she turned to me and called me a stupid girl and gave me a long rant about how much I have damaged any future I may want.  She often opened cupboards to accidentally on purpose hurt Paul in the early days of our relationship and tried to scare him and several other boyfriends before him off by mentioning the time I was in a children’s asylum failing by the way, to tell them she was the reason I was in it.
  3. The next character is another male character which really does represent my mother a lot and that is Robert De Niro in Meet the parents. She would stalk and investigate anyone in my life, she must approve of anyone in my life for any relationship to work and she will send spies (friends) to watch where I go occasionally.  She would also text me around 30 times a day if I am out all day.  She has even lied to people who regard her highly in order to bring me back into submission to her, by claiming all sorts of outlandish things about me in order to get them to go and do her dirty work and go and fetch me or watch me or have long discussions about how I am making her ill with worry.  She also will take anyone aside, a platonic friend or a boyfriend and talk in private with them without me hearing a thing.  Often I find out they are threats, warnings and so forth or little snippets of information she is passing to them about my mental problems as she would refer to them as.  She would also remind them of how many brothers and close male cousins I have and how they don’t like anyone upsetting the family.

How I view my father.

  1. He is a very shy and quiet country sort of person. Very much like a more obedient and housebound Howard from Last of the Summer Wine.  He is despite how he comes across very nervous of my mother and displeasing her.  I remember times when he was sent on an errand to buy groceries or a take away without her accompanying him and I would go with him to help him as sometimes he would get nervous and forget things, that if the shop didn’t have what she wanted or the take away was closed at that specific time; my poor dad would literally be on the verge of tears and would often say to me he doesn’t know what to do as she will be upset if he doesn’t go home with it.  Paul has also witnessed this behaviour.  My dad cooks, gardens and cleans much more than is traditional for a man to do so and I remember often that if he didn’t do it on time, mum would remind him that she doesn’t have to keep him and he would get scared and get up and do it immediately.
  2. Despite this my father is also a bit of a Victor Meldrew. He complains a lot about things but I often believe it is because it is something he thinks my mother would like to hear, she is an avid complainer.  Because when she isn’t around he is quite a cheerful tolerant person.  He is also extremely nosy about the neighbourhood and any gossip going around and often worries about anything negative he has heard that has gone on locally.
  3. He also reminds me of Travers Goff from Saving Mr Banks. He was a daydreamer and often liked to play with me imaginatively, we would re-enact our favourite stories, rhymes and television shows and it would be very realistic.  My father loved comedy and often had a comical stance to most games we played.  He often recited funny limericks and songs which are mostly for an adult audience but it made me laugh none-the-less.  He could sometimes be over the top playful and often had to be calmed down by the energy sapping atmosphere of my mother and her harsh words.  He was also a betting man and a man who loved the countryside a lot that he often dreamt of going rural again someday, but my mother would never hear of it.

 

This is how I view myself, Paul and my parents by using character descriptions.  I know there will be a handful of people reading this which will not approve, but it is my opinion of what I believe these people are like and I don’t have to ask your permission to verbalise anything anymore.  It is my truth and that is all that matters.

 

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