Grunt – 11 September 2014


Mr Lee – at least, that’s what I think his name was – lived just down the hill in Swain’s Avenue when I was a small child, before we began our wanderings. He was a sturdy fellow, bright and ebullient, often with his family in tow. He reminded me, small as I was then, of a human fire-engine. His wife, I recall seeing only once or twice, for reasons I’m about to explain.
Mr Lee – he must have had a Christian name, too, I suppose, but I never knew it – came from a long line of Lees, all stout fellows with strong male genes: they all had squads of male offspring. And, I suppose quite reasonably, Mr Lee presumed that he was also the bearer of such a fortunate biological blessing. He wanted a son; in fact, he made it clear he wanted several sons, all of whom would carry on the family name. There was something almost dynastic about the Lees – or so he believed.
And so it was that Mr Lee, with Mrs Lee’s co-operation one presumes, set about adding numerous branches to his family tree. Well, Mother Nature had a surprise up her sleeve – or up wherever Mother Nature keeps her surprises. Their first three sprogs were female, christened April, May, and June after the months of the year. That there were still nine more months left was rumoured to make Mrs Lee nervous. The family name was at stake – no, it was actually on the verge of extinction. So Mr Lee, still with Mrs Lee’s co-operation one presumes, continued his quest for an heir.
Not eager to name his burgeoning number of daughters after the other months of the year, Mr Lee turned to Mother Nature herself: Daisy, Iris, Rose, Ivy, Blossom, Daphne, Buttercup, Bluebell … At least he skipped Crocus and Dandelion. But still no boy child. After the birth of the thirteenth girl, it was rumoured that Mrs Lee’s willingness to co-operate came to an abrupt end.
All thirteen girls married and gave birth to …? I’ll tell you the answer next week!