My father has a rather refreshing view on Father’s Day, “Just a load of crap made up by the card manufacturers to make more money. It didn’t exist in my day.” This is great for my brother and I who therefore are let off with sending just a card so that he doesn’t feel left out, but other than that we don’t have to make any fuss.

My dad is 75 and therefore of a generation where doing most of the mundane things with the kids was left very much to the women, but I don’t remember it being like that as a kid. Mum did all the stuff like buying clothes, making dinner, ironing and getting us up and ready for school. Dad didn’t get too involved with our discipline although Mum would impart his views on our behaviour with a stern, “Your father says…” which generally meant we were in the poo. In the days when smacking was allowed we were on a ‘three warnings  and then wallop’ sort of approach but it was generally mum who gave us a whack round the legs and as we got older all I remember was that if he got really cross with us he would generally just leave the room after a bit of a shout.

As a teenager, and way beyond we fought. We are both stubborn, right and like to have the last word. Mum still occasionally despairs but although our views might clash, if we have a task to do he and I get on like the proverbial house on fire and really enjoy a practical challenge. I love his inventiveness and his ability to know how to fix anything and as I have got older I have decided not to bother him with my views and let him be right (even when he is SO wrong!!!) for an easy life all round.

As a child what I do remember is that my dad was great for entertainment and cuddles. He had hobbies, and still does, that were all consuming, and they would last a couple of  years maybe and then he would move onto something else. I found all these very interesting and to his credit, he loved having us involved and imparting his new found expertise in a wide variety of topics. There was the train set, for which I had to change bedrooms so that half it could be given over to a huge amount of track and evenings in front of the TV with the whole family making model houses, stations and the like while my brother played with the trains. The home brew which meant mum had to lose three quarters of the space in the airing cupboard to bubbling smelly ales that no-one liked (including him, although he would never admit it) but he diversified into scrumpy because I quite liked cider with lemonade in it at the tender age of 15. His photography phase involved turning the kitchen into a dark room of an evening, but I was given a small camera of my own, shown how to use it and allowed to develop and print my own pictures, with his help, at the age of nine or ten. I didn’t get involved in the fishing phase on account of my fear of maggots, but my brother was totally involved in that one (I had discovered boys by then so the idea of sitting by a lake for hours had no appeal anyway). He is currently having a dolls house phase, and my mum is fully employed making tiny curtains and fitting itsy bitsy carpets in his latest creations. At the tender age of 40 I was given one of the earlier houses…

On reflection I think Dad was rather ahead of his time. He cooked exciting things like curry and pasta (Mum is a meat and two veg sort of a lady!) and he entertained us, not by joining in with what we were doing, but by allowing us freely into his grown up world and sharing his interests with us… and to this day I still know more than most about aquariums, air rifles, film photography, n gauge railways, home brew, wine making, darts, computer chess programmes…………..


Happy Father’s Day!

Penny x