Tag Archives: father

Sunday Morning, Fathers and a Haibun

In literary convention, Sunday morning is a lazy day involving late breakfasts and a leisurely reading of a weighty Sunday paper. I can remember Sundays like that, walking to the paper shop with my father to collect papers because there was no newspaper delivery on Sunday.

As I became a father myself, and the kids started playing rugby, Sunday mornings became more hectic times, featuring lost boots and arguments. I remember one morning in a car park 30 miles from home when a familiar face pulled up with his son.

I said: “You’re in the wrong place Dave, the Under 12s are playing at home.”

“What are you doing here then?” he asked, with the triumphal air of of a man proving an important philosophical point in an argument.

“I’m with the Under 15s today. Julia’s with the Under 12s.”

“Ah!”

Modern Sundays seem so hectic.

Ten years after our walks to buy papers my father and I had developed a prickly relationship. Adolescents, as I would find in my turn, are awful examples of humanity and are barely human. Ten years after that, we still weren’t much friendlier. Ten years after that we had developed a better understanding, as I now had kids of my own. Ten years after that I no longer read newspapers. And ten years after that, having lost many games of dominoes and done a lot of jigsaws, I am left to regret the wasted time spent arguing, and the lessons I could have learned from my father. He may have lost a lot of things through Alzheimer’s, but he retained his competitive edge and his facility with numbers until the end.

To be fair, I wasn’t the only argumentative one (the apple not falling far from the tree) and some of his advice, whilst brilliant for the 1950s, was not so good when applied to the 1990s.

Here’s a haibun I wrote on the subject some time ago – first published in Haibun Today Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019.

 

Eternal Jigsaws

My father remembers who I am (though he can’t quite remember my name) and he’s keen to show me his jigsaw.

It’s one of the puzzles my sister ordered from a specialist supplier. They have larger pieces than normal and depict idealised, almost timeless, scenes from the 1950’s. Before she found these, he used to have jigsaws for children, bought from the Early Learning Centre.

When he clears it away, he puts the edges in a separate bag, so they will be easier to find next time. That could be as early as tomorrow, when it will be brand new as it comes out of the box.

winter afternoon
playing a child’s game
in the fading light

 

Another Senior Moment

I could get away with it, because nobody could prove I was lying about the meeting, but I’ve had another senior moment of massive proportions.

After finishing the last post, I published it, shut the computer off and nipped up to the toilet. At my age you really do appreciate your mother’s advice about going before you go out. (That sounds better in my head than it looks on paper).

After saying goodbye to Julia I decided, for some reason, to double check my card. It seems that the meeting isn’t tonight. It’s next Monday.

Looking on the bright side, I should be able to re-use some of the post from a couple of days ago – the one that talks about the framework knitters.

As my brain softens a little more I will probably be able to watch TV without realising it’s all repeats.

I may even become good at dominoes. My Dad doesn’t remember who I am, but he still wiped the floor with me at dominoes last week. And he never played before he was eighty.

It’s an ill wind that blows no good.

 

 

 

 

A Quick Post

I passed my blood anti-coagulant blood test, and as a reward I don’t need to go back until 11th December. If it all goes well my next test will be either 25th December or 1st January. I may have to rethink this.

On the other hand, I had a text from the surgery telling me that my doctor wants to see me for a face to face consultation and that I must ring to arrange it. This seems an odd way to offer congratulations so I’m expecting a lecture on my health. More precisely, I’m expecting a lecture on my cavalier attitude to my health.

We filled today, when not being texted, with a visit to Springfields in Lincolnshire, followed by a visit to my father, who trounced me at Snakes and Ladders before defeating me at several games of dominoes. He may not know what day it is, and he can’t remember my name, but he’s still got his competitive edge.

My sister complains that I have it too. She says it as if it’s a bad thing.

 

Lots of Errands and a Traffic Jam

Big day today. Off to the letter office where five parcels were waiting for me. There was no queue today and I parked in a disabled space as my knee was killing me. I know it’s not a good thing to do, but there were three others left empty and I was having to use my stick.

It turned out there were six parcels, which was a bonus. While I’ve been at work the postmen have been taking them back to the letter office. The trouble is that everyone wants them to be signed for. There’s no trust in the world anymore and everyone wants proof. I posted over 2,000 parcels when I was dealing by mail order and I only ever lost one.

In general I like to believe that people are honest, and the proliferation of distrust on ebay tells you a lot about the way modern society is going. I also have my suspicions that ebay and Royal Mail are in league to take as much money as possible from us. Remember that ebay also charges commission on postage costs. I was happy with my purchases, but you’ll have to take my word for it as I haven’t photographed them yet.

After that we had breakfast and set off for Newark market where, noting the lack of customers, I did the old show business joke. It basically hinges round the phrase “there’s no business (pause for effect) like show business”. It tends to amuse us, though we don’t have high standards.

Then things took a turn for the worse. We stopped at Grantham for a toilet break and a drink. Julia’s coffee, in a paper cup, cost £2.75. We’re going to have to start taking a flask.

Forestry land in Brazil costs as little as $50 an acre – about eighteen cups of coffee. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

After that we joined a queue on the A1. The traffic spent ten minutes travelling fitfully then ground to a halt. In the next two hours we listened to a Terry Pratchett talking book, chatted, watched red kites and fell asleep. Well, one of us did. The other one recorded me snoring and sent an audio file to my sister.

It seems that a trailer had become unhitched from a car and emptied itself on the road. Nobody was hurt, which is good.

Finally we arrived in Peterborough just in time to miss a low key but photogenic sunset, visited my father for a couple of hours, wished him a happy 89th birthday for later in the week and returned home without incident.

All in all, quite a worthwhile day, with the bonus of a relaxing snooze in the afternoon. I know it’s generally frowned on to sleep on major roads, but I think it’s OK if everyone has stopped.

 

Saturday’s list

Mainly, I’m going to see my Dad today, but the morning will be taken up with yawning, displacement activity, moving books into piles mentally marked “Keep”, “Possibly” and “Not Yet” (you can see why the charity donation programme is grinding along slowly), and watching cookery programmes.

Cookery programmes fall under the categories of “Health”, “Nutrition” and “Education”. I have no conscience about watching them while Julia works. I do have a conscience about watching comedies and crime fiction, so I don’t watch them on Saturday and Sunday while she is at work. Quizzes are “Education”. Soaps, Australian soaps, most American comedy and programmes about the emergency services are, if I find myself watching at any time, are a sign that I need to go for a walk.

Since my trip to the doctor in December I have been given another blood pressure tablet, aspirin, and a pill to stop the aspirin eating my stomach away. The Taking of the Tablets is now quite an undertaking. That is now something I need to schedule in my day.

When you are taking pills to nullify the side effects of other pills it is time to start thnking about some serious weight loss. We are still, little by little, getting through the sweets and biscuits we were given for Christmas. Another week should do it. Next year I think we may allow ourselves a week of relaxed diet and then donate the remaining calories to charity. It’s a bit Scrooge-like but I need to get a grip.

I’m off to see my father now. I will spend the journey down looking for Buzzards and Red Kites. The journey back will be occupied by me musing on mortality, and (mainly) by wondering how a man with Alzhemer’s has beaten me at dominoes. Again.

The bird pictures are ones from the day we were attacked by the swan.

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Gadwall drake – Rufford Abbey lake

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Gadwall duck on Rufford Abbey lake