Lawlessly Yours column

Bill Lawless.
Bill Lawless.
Share this article

Those two Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t to know that we had just heard that my dad had been hurt quite badly in Normandy just a few days after D-Day. So his mother-in-law, known by us as Lally, who thought the world of him, was in no mood for salvation.

he hissed at the unfortunate pair: “Can’t you flamin’ conchies read? There was a big brass plaque on the front gate that said “No hawkers, no circulars, no witnesses.’

Lal never could suffer disobedience. She chased them off, using the yard brush like a bayonet.

On her triumphant return she went to the kitchen and had a large slug of Buckfast tonic wine. She had signed the pledge as a girl and abided by the rules for the rest of her life. But Buckfast didn’t count because it was a tonic, and therefore a medicine, brewed by god-fearing Benedictine monks and thus far removed from booze.

So she drank it in shipping quantities. She genuinely knew not that Buckfast was, and is, about 15 per cent alcohol and contains about eight times more caffeine than a can of Coke. Course she felt better after a large slug. Anybody would.

Buckfast dominates the wine list in many parts of bonnie Scotland, whose residents slide it down after deep fried Mars bars and battered haggis. It is known north of the border as ‘Wreck the Hoose Juice” and “Commotion Lotion.”

Buckfast was mentioned in almost 6,500 Strathclyde police crime reports between 2010 and 2012. That’s the sort of client publicity a public relations mob would give its eye-teeth for.

Lally’s doctor actually recommended it to her as a pick-me-up. It may surprise you to know that there wasn’t a lot of boozing in the family, especially with my dad away marmalising the Huns, but Lal flew the flag to the tune of two or three bottles a week without once breaking the pledge.

The consumption of alcohol and caffeine at this rate would have made her a dipso and a druggie by today’s ungenerous standards, but obviously she never thought herself in those terms. She was born long before Queen Victoria popped her clogs and there were moral principles to maintain.

She would not have believed dear old Vic was a bit of a druggie herself, using cannabis to help her through her many pregnancies. Quite possibly while genteely slipping down a few shots of Buckfast too...