These days my father watches life through a television screen, anything else is far too serious and alive so he says.
From time to time he prods and scratches a hole in his head or at least something that resembles a healed up bullet wound. ‘Bugger them!’ he insists. ‘It’s time to die anyway and your ugly chops aren’t helping!’
I don’t bother to reply with any soothing words, there’s no point; he’s made up his mind and I know my father. At least I think I do. At eighty three he hasn’t got long and yet, I’m the only one in the nursing home room who seems to care or at least wonder, if I will finally grow up when he begins his journey to nowhere.
His brittle hand grips a copy of Ludovic Kennedy’s personal discourse on atheism, as he stares at me trying to decide whether he has done a good job or not. For a brief moment he smiles, there is a hint, something. ‘Go on then. Bugger off. Coronation Street is on in a minute’.
Coronation Street? I’d never known him to watch a soap opera before, perhaps it has something to do with the hole in his head.
Or maybe, it’s just mine reaching out to touch him.
Earlier on I met up with an old friend. He introduced his female companion as his ‘partner Julie.’ I looked confused for a moment before asking, ‘Would she be business or pleasure?’
21st Century love, damn we don’t seem to know who we are with or with whom we are spooning anymore, do we? – that’s a quaint old word isn’t it, ‘spooning’?
Back now, fish and chips were great and so was the converstion. The usual manly stuff, women, divorce and general dismay with the modern world. Einstein popped up, his ‘world government’ given some serious consideration and then it was back to the usual ribald humour and irreverence.
I have to tell you about one minor interruption.
We were all sitting outside this cafe come restaurant, when I noticed a lady digging around in a bin not far from us. She was an attractive soul, middle aged, pretty with a curve in her jeans and a protruding blouse. Hello I thought, what on earth is going on here? She looked a bit too well turned out to be scratching around in a bin, then I thought, well who knows, these days maybe her husband had just gone bankrupt or something. Anyway, my compassionate nature took over and I walked up to her.
‘Excuse me.’ I said gently. ‘No need for that. Here we are, I’ll roll you a ciggy. I’ll get you a packet for later too, if you like.’
The lady looked at me for a moment, beamed a smile and then burst out laughing.
“Oh dear!’ She exclaimed. ‘How embarrassing! How very very embarrassing. Thank you for the offer, that’s very kind of you but the thing is, I think I’ve just thrown away my mother’s credit card in the bin. Whatever must you think of me!’
And appearances are deceptive are they?!
It’s ‘Lunch Club’ day! A day of wandering around West and Midwales looking for an eatery that will sate the discerning tastes of both myself and friends – well actually, it’s more a case of a bag of fish and chips at some out of the way chip shop!
Anyway, at the moment I am wondering what form of transport will arrive outside the house. Will it be a Rolls Royce? Will it be a Daimler Dart or even an Aston Martin? Who knows, any of them will probably have a few RAC vans following them. You see one friend in particular, loves his Classic cars and he’s the one who usually picks me up. Now,these ‘Classic’ numbers are beautiful to look at and listen to but the problem is they keep conking out.Thus the flotilla of RAC vans in hot pursuit.
When driving a Classic car always take an RAC van with you, trust me.
Once collected and when we have tried to out-insult each other (true friends are always able to condemn, berate and castigate each other with impunity, that’s what friendship is all about after all), we will seek out the other member of this day’s particular trio, a half Welsh, half Indian fellow who at nearly sixty is still trying to work out who he likes best – the whities or the brownies. At the moment it’s the brownies who are in favour, something to do with India being a brick and education so he says.
I love my ‘Lunch Club’ days.
They are days when a few, sometimes rather lost middle agers get the chance to eat, drink and abuse political incorrectness at will – and for the more bacchanalian among us, smoke. A day when men can be men without having to apologise for it, a day when beautiful wives tolerate and sigh with resignation and lastly a day when the world finally rights itself if only for a few hours.
It’s not often I blow my own trumpet – not after all those complaints from the neighbours – but I just had to share this glowing review of my latest book, An Equal Judge, from the Welsh Books Council.
You read the review here.