Happy Father’s Day

Ever get those days where you feel really calm and content?

I am experiencing them more and more, I tell you, even though my workload has increased (as it does every May through September) and this year I’ve added the extra layer of potential stress by trying to write a novel – like you do.

Siting in the pub garden earlier, with family members on Man of the Woods side – as we had come together to celebrate Father’s Day for my father in law – I enjoyed an incredible feeling of peace.

Five under 10s buzzed about, between the table and the play area, asking me to show them again and again how to pull the scoobie threads through while all of us middle aged adults caught up on each other’s middle aged worlds and the older generation sipped wine and were happy to see everyone together…

(Thought it best to cut their heads off)

I then spent two hours on the bed, reading forty pages of JoJo’s ‘STILL ME’ … and I don’t even feel guilty. Last year I would have done.

We did pop in to see my folks this morning; always a completely contrasting affair. Whether it’s being ex-military, or whether it’s just their genes I’m unsure, but visits to my parents take on a certain Victorian vibe. ‘Sit there dear’.

We asked the same questions as last week, and heard the same answers;

‘How’s the shoulder?’

‘Well, it’s getting there. Going to be a long time you know. It wouldn’t have made a jot of difference, them taking an x-ray.’ said more to convince herself than those around her… who remain silent and faintly nod from years of practice at not rocking the boat.

(Hmm I’m not so sure; the A&E dept did tell you it might need to be pinned as you’re 72 but I won’t repeat this out loud as three weeks ago, one week after your fall, you warned me off for interfering with the delightful statement .. “That’s right, you’re learning!”)

‘Hmmm. And how are you feeling with the dizziness?’ (y’know, like the one you experienced the day you went down in the carpark for no apparent reason and broke your shoulder and probably your elbow too, looking at the size and colour of it).

‘Well, I’m sure my sugars in the bloods will have dropped now from the day of the fall when they were 28…. I don’t want to go in to be tested until I feel stronger again … so I’m eating more food as the weight keeps dropping off me, would you believe.’ she holds up a glass of orange juice.. probably the worst man-made drink around for sugar content.

(For anyone unfamiliar…. healthy sugar levels in blood needs to read between 3 and 7. When she was diagnosed five years ago, they wouldn’t let her out the hospital as it read 21).

‘And how was Cornwall?’ Asks dad from the corner, ever happy to focus on something else.

‘Lovely thank you! You swam daily didn’t you?’ MoW nods ‘but I literally just wanted to read and relax.’ being true to myself is surprisingly uplifting.

‘Yes, you’re like me dear. We need to do our own thing and be independent. I keep telling your father – he’s been very good these last few weeks, I mustn’t grumble – but I do need to regain my independence.’

We three stare at various points in the room. This unbelievable woman is killing herself. In front of our very eyes (and yours too if you keep following and reading). She has absolutely no intention of going in for her bloods to be checked, nor did she follow A&E’s advice to return the next morning to the fracture clinic so they could assess her fracture at the top ball end where it goes into the shoulder socket.

‘I like nature’s way dear. That’s what I wish people would understand. Can you just put my shoes on for me, thank you.’

After a while she shuffled out to smoke and the atmosphere in the conservatory did a small dance. MoW brought up an article he’d seen in The Telegraph about a 1/32 scale Lancaster airfix model and had dad seen it?

He gets Modelling Monthly so naturally he had and proceeded to amuse us with arm illustrations of just how big that would be when made. His moustache twitched with glee at the prospect and his elephant memory for aviation facts kicked in.

He talked about big bombers and went on to tell us about a true story of a B36, an American bomber with not 4, but 6 engines with propellers at the back of each engine, stationed at Brize Norton.. or was it Boscombe Down, in the 1950s… doing some reconnaissance job here post Second World War. The crew were bringing it into land one foggy evening and speaking to the control tower, explained they could only see a spire. Turned out it was Salisbury cathedral and control gave them some coordinates to follow .. and they began their descent (he tells a story so well; MoW and I were glued to his animated face as he set the scene and tried not to pre-empt the ending by giggling too soon) ….. mother continued to mooch about on the wet grass, visible in the background moving about trying to avoid the excitable golden retriever, her right arm down by her side, no lateral movement or lift available to her.

‘So they come through the fog and down into clearer air and see land. It’s dusk and they pop her down … tee hee … and they’re bumping all over the place’ dad starts bumping in the wicker conservatory seat… ‘and they can’t believe the state of the runway, so they pull her to a halt and contact control again’ now there are tears of laughter trickling down his unshaven tired face and it’s so lovely to see him smiling.

‘Where are you? We can’t locate you on the runway’ say control… they’ve gone and landed in a ploughed field, luckily frozen ground! We all laugh out loud.

I came home and googled a B36. He was dead right about the 6 engines and props on the back rather than the front like a Lancaster.

I got more out of that four minutes than the whole of the rest of the hour we were there, listening to mother dictate how her life would be, going forward.

Mind you, it was Father’s Day 🤗