Mum’s washing and I’m drying. Mum’s talking to me and I’m not answering – well I am, but in a grumpy sort of way. So okay, I’m being rude and surly (that’s one of Dad’s favourites: ‘Take that surly look off your face!’) but my brother’s outside messing around with his motorbike again while I have to dry dishes.
‘What’s he up to now?’ Mum wipes steam from the kitchen window and peers out. ‘Always tinkering with his bike. I never wanted him to have it. They’re dangerous. Well, at least it’s not one of those big powerful ones – your dad and I drew the line there.’
I grunt. I know what Steve’s doing but he’s sworn me to secrecy.
Mum rabbits on. ‘It looks as though he’s taking it to pieces. I hope he knows what he’s doing. That bike wasn’t cheap!’
I wish she’d shut up about it.
‘This saucepan’s not clean. There’s potato left on it,’ I say.
‘Oh, give it here then!’ Mum grabs the pot from me and scrubs energetically. She’s so cheerful, I hate her almost as much as I hate my brother.
There’s a thunderous rumble and the kitchen window vibrates as Steve revs up.
‘That’s very loud!’
Mum loves to state the obvious.
‘It’s the Triumph engine,’ I say.
So I spell it out for her.
‘He’s putting a big Triumph engine in the BSA frame. All his mates do it.’
‘Why on earth would they do a silly thing like that?’
‘So they can do a ton on the London road, of course.’
‘What – ?’
‘A hundred MPH.’
A flash of fear in Mum’s eyes – but I don’t care. Then she shakes her head and laughs.
‘Boys!’ she says, as Steve roars off and heads for the road.