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16 Aug 2008

Post 64: Dads 72nd birthday in Sevenoaks

After a rather glum couple of posts this one better be more light – hearted. I consider myself told off and warned. Having a stern word with ones self is actually quite therapeutic even though it is the first sign of madness. I think it would be quite odd if I were not a little mad by now, you can probably tell by the way my mind has unravelled over the course of this blog and I haven't even been at the wacky baccy! Actually that would be counterproductive, for a start it would make me sleepier, the last thing I need and I could do without choking on my own vomit, that really would be an undignified way to go and after all this hardship and all the effort made mainly by other people, it would be a criminal waste and worthy of a Darwin!
On Tuesday evening I went to my dads 72nd birthday in Sevenoaks. It made a few things clear, firstly, that my old man is no longer as young as he used to be, secondly how much he loves it when the whole family are there and thirdly,that my grandparents (on my mothers side) house where my parents are currently staying as they wait for their burnt down house to be rebuilt could have been built to make things purposely difficult for wheelchairs. There are steps up to every access point, the driveway feels like it is about 1 in 1 uphill, all the doors are narrow,in fact an outside doorway up to the back door is too narrow for even my manual wheelchair which means I had to be taken in through the garage, lifted (in my manual chair up a huge step out of the side of the garage then taken out onto the back terrace to be wheeled up a ramp through some French doors into the sitting room. How my barely mobile grandmother lived here till her death at the grand old age of 97 last year is testament to her fortitude. I don't know how she did it? So having survived the mission impassable just to get in the house, dinner was hilarious and bloody tasty (my mum easily regains her cookery crown)! I was sat between my two comedy uncles , Ian ( who as a family we often consider to be a clean shaven Basil Fawlty) and Alistair (my mothers youngest brother who is often thought of as the sensible one but I know better, he's the amusingly shrewd bastard, you don't get to be a partner at PWC just by being sensible. Now, Ian and Alistair had grown up in this house and were busy recounting allsorts of amusing stories including one that particularly tickled me about how my Dad had first turned up to meet the parents of his new girlfriend in about 1960.Ian and Alistair being my mothers younger brothers and two mischievous young men watched Dad coming up the front garden path from behind the dining room curtains just feet from where we were sitting. Dad had obviously been a tad overdressed, eliciting Ian to whisper to Alistair 'he's wearing a f****** hat!'. Indeed Dad then told us he was rather proud of the Trilby he had selected. The recounting of this story made me erupt, damn it was a very different era!
This was by no means the only hilarious story, there were plenty involving my grandfather, a dour Scot, legendary for his temper and his tightness, his legacy is that the whole of the mother's side of my family get ultra-stressed about anything to do with money. I have touched on this subject elsewhere in this blog, the stress has rubbed off on me but none of the skill. The story that made me laugh was that after the war, they used to have a lot of fish for breakfast because meat was expensive and Grandpa bein Grandpa would only ever allow anyone one rasher of bacon per person and as finance director of Marley Tiles he would always leave the office last and he would go around the whole place and turn out the lights! Classic Scottishness. In fact it reminds me of my favourite person I met on this epic journey, Derek, the hilarious Glaswegian male nurse in the transitional living unit at the Royal Hospital. I would compare his sense of humour and style directly with 'mock the week' Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle but less angry. Derek was funnier and used to take the piss out of Scotland as much as Boyle, particularly the awful weather in Scotland, I remember one time Derek was incredulous that Al Quaida had tried to fire bomb Glasgow airport, he said 'why bother, the rain would just put it out'. The gag that Boyle made that caused me to laugh most was 'the most Scottish thing I ever saw was when I was driving through a village near Glasgow and I saw this guy taking a piss against this door, when he had finished he took his keys out and went in!'. That's my heritage that is!

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