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humour, Just stuff (things on my mind that aren't to do with writing)

What was I saying?



I was thinking the other day about…well, I can’t remember what about, and that’s half the problem. My brain has gone mushy.

I’m doing all those things they talk about in Readers Digest. (At least, I think it was that. For all I know it could have been Miniature Donkey Talk, or OMFG: Official Meeting Facilities Guide). I go into rooms and can’t remember why I’m there.


I start sentences and get stuck at the most tantalising moment. ‘Yes, but that’s nothing,’ I will confide to a friend. ‘I remember a time when I took all my clothes off in a train and….’ Friend looks at me eagerly.

‘When I took all my…’ I repeat.

Friend nods. ‘Yes,’ she says. ‘Yes??? What happened next?

And then I look at her rather doubtfully because at the same time as I am talking something really mundane enters my head, like the fact that the woman at the entrance to TK Maxx is pleading with her seven year old son, ‘Look, Ryan, I’ve gotta have a roll up, right? One roll up, and then we’ll do the escalator. We will Do The Escalator. Right?’

And whatever I was talking about has vanished into the Christmas mist.

Still, my mind is as a steel trap compared with the rest of my family when it comes to remembering stuff. In the 1950s my mum and dad lived in Malaya, as it was called then, and when they wanted to come home they had to fly in a succession of Dakotas. Which was fine, until my mother left my brother, then a baby, at Milan airport. Apparently, they were all ready to taxi off when this Italian judge came running out, shouting, ‘Signora, signora…I think you have left something!’

Even then my mother just smiled at him. ‘No, really, ‘ she said comfortingly. ‘I’ve got my handbag. And my passport. What else could I possibly need?’

A handbag

A handbag

A baby

A baby


But it was only when I met my husband that I began to realise that forgetfulness can be specific. Steve, when he wants to put something down, generally puts it up; his favourite places are, the top of the fridge, the top of the wardrobe, or above a door. He lost a drill for three years and then discovered it on the top of the window shutters. (Don’t ask). On holiday one time in Chamonix, in the French Alps, we had a lovely picnic in a summer meadow and then drove off. Only for him to realise he’d left his Swiss Army knife on the roof. Which, when he stopped was, strangely, no longer there. Optimist that he is, we went back and searched for it. And, get this, we found it. In the middle of a bloody Alpine meadow.


We weren’t so lucky a few days later when he left his sandals on the roof of the car in the middle of Cannes and drove away. They sailed off into the blue, God knows where. We never found them. He had to go to a supermarket in bare feet to get a new pair. Which, even for the French, was a Bit Bohemian.


A few years later I drove off with the kids in the back of the car only to hear a vague crash as I neared the post office. Eldest son said conversationally to eldest daughter, ‘I knew she wouldn’t see that dinner plate on the roof.’

And then…I’m not actually sure I should be telling you this, but, we went to Ikea and husband bought a wardrobe door in the bargain basement. He thought it would Come In Useful. It was an enormous thing; far too big to get in the car. So he tied it to the roof. And, determined that it wasn’t going to fly off, he tied it on very tightly. Too tightly. Because at 60mph it reached maximum waggle (I’m sure that’s the correct physical term) and yes, you guessed correctly, it flew off on a major A road Somewhere in England. All we heard was a giant Craaaaack! And then a bang as it hit the road. Neither of us wanted to look round in case there was a mortally wounded motor cyclist lying behind us, struggling feebly under some bloodstained particle board. You can imagine our relief, therefore, when we did look and there was nothing in the road but a trail of splintered wood. Gosh, how good we felt. We picked up the pieces and found that they now fitted quite nicely in the car, and drove away, quickly.

So there you have it. What was I talking about?


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About elainecanham

I started blogging because I'm a writer, and I thought I ought to. Now I realise that I blog because I lwant to; even when I can't think of much to say. I do a lot of work for local businesses - get in touch if you like my style.


17 thoughts on “What was I saying?

  1. I find myself so forgetful these days that I’m even forgetting the things I decided not to do. It’s making me exhausted.

    Posted by Tara Sparling | December 15, 2014, 5:17 pm
  2. Oh gawd, this is all too familiar. It’s like our brains become sieves. Rusty ones with holes growing bigger by the year. I blame information overload. I need to empty my brain and start again.

    Posted by scottishmomus | December 14, 2014, 12:17 am
  3. That was a… or did I already say that? It was your usual high… no, I think I might’ve told you that already? Or was that…? Anyway, as I was saying… Now I too have forgotten what it was I was going to say…

    Posted by Bruce Goodman | December 13, 2014, 10:15 pm
  4. Fabulous! My aunt and uncle left their son (who was a teenager at the time) in a service station in the motorway once. To be fair he was asleep in the back (or so they thought) when they went to refuel, buy something, and he went to the toilet and neither one thought to check if he was still there until several hundred kilometres later up the motorway. We were driving behind them in another car. So they had to go and pick him up…But yes…I tend to put things “safely” somewhere and it might take me weeks or months to find them again…The usually reappear, but by then I no longer need them…

    Posted by olganm | December 13, 2014, 2:03 pm
    • Poor boy! Although there was that story about the couple who left France on the ferry, only to realise half way across the Channel that they’d left the mother -in -law behind.
      And those ‘safe’ places to put things – don’t get me started!

      Posted by elainecanham | December 13, 2014, 6:07 pm
  5. I thought of a song title this morning I wanted to put on the blog. My hands were wet but I promised myself I’d write it down. II dried my hands and promptly forgot what I was supposed to write. Ah well, at least I remembered ti dry my hands.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Posted by davidprosser | December 12, 2014, 5:05 pm
  6. I am 31 years old and already I sometimes think I have the memory of a goldfish. *shudder*

    Posted by Nida S. | December 12, 2014, 4:08 pm
    • Apparently their memories are pretty good; they can remember things for up to three months. But it’s not very comforting to think your memory might be worse than a goldfish…

      Posted by elainecanham | December 12, 2014, 4:13 pm
  7. “Which was fine, until my mother left my brother, then a baby, at Milan airport.” – Oh my goodness! This reminds me of that scene in Home Alone when they leave little Kevin behind and the mum faints as he realises she left her beloved son home ALONE! Easily done though, right? Hmm, perhaps not. I’m glad your husband found his Swiss Army Knife, those things are EXPENSIVE! With all these forgetful relatives around, it a good job you aren’t so forgetful… but I must ask, what happened once you took all your clothes off on that plane?! HAHA!

    Posted by amandalyle1986 | December 12, 2014, 2:13 pm
  8. I know the feeling. You’ve captured it perfectly. Now where was I?

    Posted by Irish writer Mel Healy | December 12, 2014, 12:41 pm
    • I don’t know….Did you ever see that Matt cartoon in the Daily Telegraph? It’s pensioners demonstrating, and they’re chanting ‘What do we want?… We can’t remember!’

      Posted by elainecanham | December 12, 2014, 12:53 pm

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