273 days ago
Today an email arrives from sister T about my father’s funeral on Thursday. It generates a strong but measured response to all attendees from me. Were we 30 who were attending the funeral to head off afterwards to a grouse shoot that would be legal. Were we to head to the White Bear and book five tables in a crowded back room and sit there mask free that would be fine and dandy. But if we go on from the church to bury my father in the same plot as my late step-mother, in an open field, right on the edge of Shipston, there is a problem.
280 days ago
There are six of us who called my father Dad and we have all been fairly reproductive. Thus with my father’s sister and his carer we are already at 24. And that number would have been higher had my wife not been almost due to produce a final grandchild and had my son not been too young to understand why so many are in tears. The Mrs and Joshua will not attend. Pro tem my father and the vicar do not count in the 30 who can attend, although I gather that the Welsh Government is considering changing the status of priests and corpses for services in this rain sodden Police state*.
1210 days ago
My father knows why I am in New York rather than Shipston and approves so he has had to make do with a card (which has arrived) and a present (which has not). But he is aware of what it is, something that combines two of his great loves in life: Kent and cider. Fingers crossed it will arrive tomorrow.
1802 days ago
Tessa Jowell was the woman who publicly ditched her husband David Mills as he became embroiled in a Silvio Berlusconi corruption scandal. Mills was exiled to my father's village of Shipston where the socialist millionaires kept a country farm as a compliment to their North London mansion. Jowell got to stay with the urban sophisticates. Out here in the boonies folks did not buy the seperation story as la Jowell kept on making appearances up here and, lo and behold, after Tessa's political career came to an end there was a miraculous reconciliation with Mills. The political elite actuallythink that we are so stupid that we buy this sort of horseshit don't they? Now Tessa makes the most bonkers of claims regarding TeamGB and its Olympics success.
1806 days ago
The physios are due later today and my father must report to them on his progress since his return from Warwick hospital. E, the delightfully right wing lady who comes twice a day to care for him and I told him firmly that he needed to truthfully demonstrate that he was on the mend. That was the stick. The carrot is the idea that he could walk to the White Bear again...that would be about 400 yards down Sheet Street and across the main square in Shipston.
And so he is in training.
1845 days ago
It was Friday at noon and for some reason logistics had become muddled and my father and I were at a loose end. There was only one solution: the White Bear and two pints of cider. As we headed down Sheep Street with my father leaning on his strollator being overtaken by tortoises and little old ladies on their strollators, the old boy piped up with "Its Big Issue day, I can buy a copy off the Bulgarian lady."
1849 days ago
The first big shock was when our car pulled up outside my father's house in Shipston. Up ambled by step brother T who greeted us warmly and then up strode a rather sexy looking woman who I did not recognise at all. Had T found a new wife and not told us? The old rogue. These teachers: we know what they get up to in all their vast amounts of spare time and holidays. Reading weeks my arse. So who was this stranger?
It was only when she started speaking that I realised it was my step sister L. Shockingly she has not only cut her long hair but also stopped dying it brown and is now - like her mother and brother completely grey. It is odd how that change of hair colour and style acts as a total disguise. I must remember that, the next time the FCA tries to stitch me up and forces me to go on the run.
The was not the real shock though.