Viewing the world from a larger perspective

World@Large


I Remember – Dad

 

1963 to 1965 158

I remember potmess picnics at Inyanga with Dad crouched over the gas stove opening tins of Fray Bentos beef and tinned peas into the saucepan

I remember being tickled mercilessly until I screamed at him to stop

I remember the terrific telling-off I got when I broke one of the dining chairs “that chair survived 250 years until you came along…”

I remember Dad turning up in full naval uniform to collect me from a teenage dance and laughing because he’d made me ‘creep sadly’ in front of the boys

I remember Dad in a dinner jacket doing his official duty and winking as I curtsied to him at our school leavers’ ball

I remember Dad painstakingly painting my name in crisp white Roman capitals onto a shiny black tin trunk as I got ready to leave home – and Africa

I remember being safe

I remember Dad wading uncomplainingly into several large boxes of receipts to sort out my life and accounts when I got myself into a muddle

I remember Dad mending my toys again and again to the childhood cry of ‘Daddy mend’

I remember Dad meticulously drawing lines across the block of Neapolitan icecream during Sunday lunch to ensure that we all got fair shares of all three colours

I remember Dad growling across the sitting room as Mum and I waded into yet another Telegraph-inspired political spat “Oh God, why do you two always have to argue?”

I remember Dad conducting Beethoven round the sitting room

I remember sitting with Dad in his hospital room, quietly listening to Elgar

I remember Christmas dinner with noise and flaming puddings and Dad at the head of the table, paper hat askew, head in his hands, proclaiming over the din “I hate my family!” as we all joined in

I remember Dad, towards the end, smiling sadly and saying “Sorry, Mel, I just can’t concentrate” and closing his eyes again

I remember Dad in a deckchair snoring gently in the sun

 

DAVID VAUGHAN SHALES

Dad barbecueing at Margnac4/3/1931–5/11/2013

 

 
 

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