It was Father’s Day yesterday and I had a lovely fuss made of me by all the women in my life, apart from the dog, who still seems to be convinced that I am going to tear her throat out with my teeth any moment now. Breakfast consisted of Wine Gums and Jaffa Cakes, delivered by Jane, aged 9. Actual breakfast was a big fry-up plus scrambled eggs with lashings of butter made by Lynn, aged 11. Then I was handed another cup of tea and the newspaper and carefully directed to the couch. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop but it never did. A gentle, floating and happy day.

My Pop missed Father’s Day by a few weeks in the year that he died and I can’t remember the one before that. His birthday was three days before he died and I do remember that, but rather painfully. Sage words of his have come back to me in dribs and drabs over the years since he died:

  • Measure three times, cut once, you’ll probably still get it wrong but at least you will have a good reason to be annoyed.
  • When in doubt, cut less rather than more – adding timber back on to a plank is a tricky business.
  • It is perfectly acceptable for a gentleman to shout, “FUUUUUUUUCK!” when he hits his thumb with a hammer, even when ladies are present. [Pop never actually passed this maxim on directly, I picked it up through osmosis and observation].
  • When you are working at the top of a ladder, bring an extra screw/nail/bolt with you, unless it’s a tall ladder, in which case bring two.
  • Jazz must never be listened to quietly. Speaker drivers can always be replaced.
  • Do not place loose glazed ornaments on shelves near speakers.
  • In a garage, never complain to the guy with grease under his fingernails – this is not snobbery, this is simply recognising who has the power to help you.
  • Always be nice to the guy with grease under his fingernails, along with everyone else you meet. Ask them their names, tell them yours and get to know them over time.
  • Be a gentleman and a gentle man. [Again, he never said that one out loud, he just demonstrated it every day].

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