Tag Archives: Fathers

H Is For ‘Harry’

30 Apr

Harry was my Dad.  His name wasn’t Harry; it was George.  His middle name was Harry; everyone called him Harry.  I never knew why, if his name was George, everyone called him Harry.  His father’s name was Harry, but no one called his father George.

The Bailey Brothers in It’s A Wonderful Life were George and Harry Bailey.  My Dad wasn’t like either of them: no Buildings & Loan to dip into (too working class); no war hero (too young; and he was excused National Service because of a perforated ear drum).  He was more like Uncle Billy Bailey – sweet and well-meaning, but a bit dopey. 

Actually, he wasn’t even sweet: he was too acerbic for that.  When he felt guests had stayed too long, he told them so.  Always in a joke, so he’d laugh them out the door, with my mother saying in an hysterical aside to us kids, ‘They think he’s joking but he means it’, frantic that no one should be offended.  As far as I know, they never were.

My Dad liked to laugh and eat chocolates.  He used to steal from the sweet drawer Mum kept for the grandchildren and more than once she would say, ‘Let’s see what Grandma’s got for you here’ and find herself with an empty drawer and a skriking toddler.  In the end, she had to give him his own drawer.

My Dad loved the Wild West: movies, books, history, country and western music.  Because of my Dad’s love of C&W, I was probably the first child in the UK to know what a lady mule skinner is.

He had a double album of The Grand Ole Opry with a piece of the original curtain attached.  I expected to inherit it and I was furious when he came back to the UK and left his C&W albums in South Africa. 

It’s because of my Dad and his love for all things western that I know, if I am ever caught in a desert in a thunderstorm, to lie down flat on the ground.  Otherwise I will be the tallest point and the lightning will be gunning for me.  I read that in a Louis L’Amour novel, loaned to me by my Dad.

When we emigrated to South Africa in 1982, we had no money (one of the reasons for emigrating in the first place).  Dad was working for Sasol, a huge corporation that turned coal into petrol.  To help our miniscule grocery budget, my father the usually honest would come off shift with a toilet roll taken from the men’s loos.  One day, he heard from a colleague that the company was cracking down on staff pilfering – stationery, equipment, and so on – and he went home in a panic and he and Mum spent an entire night ripping up a hundred half-used toilet rolls and flushing them down the toilet.  What really made me laugh was that it was unmarked paper; and I doubt the company could have come in to the house asking to see it, anyway.  The price of a guilty conscience, I guess: a huge water bill.

He used to keep us kids up on school nights, playing cards.  Avoiding Mum, usually.  They were unhappily married for over thirty years.  One Christmas Eve, before letting them in the house I had to warn them to behave i.e. not have an almighty ding-dong and ruin Christmas for everyone as usual.  For the first twenty years of my life with the Hub, the minute we had a row I was leaving him, because I’m not ending up like my Mum and Dad!

I have told this story before but it’s worth repeating:  I remember one particular row that went on for months.  Every Sunday we had a traditional roast dinner and my Dad  – who loved his food and particularly his roast dinners, so he might have just been spoiling for a fight – complained that he was sick of roasts every Sunday and why couldn’t we have something else?  Mum never said a word but took his plate away and scraped it into the bin, and cooked him bacon and egg there and then.  Next Sunday we had a roast dinner, as usual…except for Dad, who was served bacon and egg without a word from Mum.  And the next; and the next; and the next Sunday after that…for six solid months, until Dad finally caved first and asked in his best little boy voice if he could please have a roast like the rest of us this Sunday?  Without a word from Mum, he got one.

Dad never complained about his meals again.

My Dad was narky and didn’t suffer fools gladly; intelligent and daft by turns; childish often; adored his three children, always.  He wasn’t perfect but it doesn’t matter: I loved him; he was my Dad.

Joke 391

18 Apr

Thanks to Granny1947 for this one.

A lad comes home from school and excitedly tells his dad that he has a part in the school play, playing a man who has been married for 25 years.

The dad says, “Never mind son, maybe next year you’ll get a speaking part.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

5 Dec

I’m way behind on the photo prompts and the end of the year is almost upon us, so expect lots of random pics with tenuous links to the prompts (same old, same old).

The combination of Family and Christmas gives me the opportunity to post some photos of my beloved dear old dead Dad.  He died on Christmas Eve 2000, which was not great, but now our visit to the cemetery at lunch time every Christmas Eve is a signal for the festivities to begin.  Dad would have loved that joke. 

All About Me

11 Aug
S-food-twinings-egpack

Image via Wikipedia

List the 5 most important books you’ve ever read.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John & When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.

The first four taught me about love and the last one about the effects of hate.

What does love mean to you?

Never having to share my Maltesers.  If they love me, they’ll leave me to feast alone.

What’s one “luxury” you refuse to live without?

Earl Grey teabags.  No joke.  I never joke about tea.

If you could spend a day doing anything you wanted, what would you do?

Blogging, of course.  Whilst eating Maltesers and drinking Earl Grey tea.

Who was the first person who believed in you?

My Dad.  When I was put in his arms he said to my Mum, ‘Doesn’t she look intelligent?’

You can fool some of the people all of the time…

Explain the name of your blog and why you chose it.

I’m a housewife.  I laugh (you know what they say will happen if you don’t laugh).

I hope you laugh, too.  It doesn’t have to be at me.

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I just read this and I have to share it; it is originally from Twitter, but I read it on Manchester Meanders:

Twitter: @Harrietgregory: Quote from Waterstone’s employee on the news: “We’ll stay open, if they steal some books they might learn something” #londonriots

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Of Lettuces And Kings

4 Aug
Four Kings: King Edward VII (right) with his s...

Image via Wikipedia

Last night I watched The King’s Speech and loved it.

All the way through, a quote that I once read played at the back of my mind; and I was pleased when I heard it used in the film.  Attributed to George V, it is something like this:

My father was afraid of his father; I was afraid of my father; and I’ll make damn sure my children are afraid of me.

These days, of course, it is the parents who are afraid of the children.

I always remember that quote in conjunction with an amusing story I once read about George VI as a child.  The Royal Family were eating lunch.  GV was talking and little Bertie interrupted, ‘Father, Father.’  Daddy G was furious and told Bertie to pipe down, not interrupt, and speak when he was spoken to. Little Bertie subsided, abashed.

Once lunch was over, King George said sternly to the little prince, ‘Now you may speak.  What is it?’

Bertie replied, ‘I wanted to warn you that you were about to eat a caterpillar with your lettuce.’

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That reminds me of something I once read in Reader’s Digest:

A religious and stern father insisted that his children arrived promptly at the breakfast table each day.  One morning, his daughter was late.  As she sat down he said to her, ‘Child of the devil!’

‘Good morning, Father,’ she replied.

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I sat down to write this post and then noticed the date: today, the fourth of August, is the Queen Mother’s birthday.  The same Queen Mother who married the Bertie who became George VI.

It is well-known that she liked a tipple (and a flutter – she had the race commentary piped into her house on racing days) and she liked her first tipple at the same time everyday.  It is also well-known that many of her staff were gay.

One day, tipple time arrived, but no beverage.  The QM waited a bit and finally phoned down to the staff: ‘When you old queens have finished chatting, this old Queen would like her G&T!’

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He’s Got A Nose For It

26 Jun

Sidey’s weekend theme is unusual angles.

When I was pregnant with Spud, we went for our first scan.  All I could see on the screen was a blob, but the Hub exclaimed, ‘It’s got my nose!’

And he has:

Happy Father’s Day To A Great Dad

19 Jun

The Hub is a little confused: he seems to think Father’s Day is all about him.  He doesn’t understand why he’s not allowed to moan at Spud today.  When he complained that he should be allowed to have his own way on one day a year, once I’d stopped laughing I explained that, even after twenty-one years, he hadn’t quite grasped the concept that a father’s place is always in the wrong.

It’s just like being a husband.

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